Mateo Kovacic has drawn comparisons between Chelsea defender Thiago Silva and Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti.
Silva, 36, joined the Blues last summer on a free transfer after his contract at Paris Saint-Germain expired, and has gone on to play a vital role at Stamford Bridge under both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel.
The Brazilian has improved Chelsea’s defence and helped fire the west London club into the top four and to Champions League and FA Cup finals.
Blues midfielder Kovacic played alongside another veteran in the latter stages of his career at Inter, Zanetti, and sees similarities between the versatile former Argentina international and Silva, labelling them ‘two big, big players’.
‘Zanetti was a bit older, he was 40 when I played with him, but they are both big, big professionals, so experienced.
‘When you see them play, they are so calm on the ball, especially Thiago at the back. Two big, big players.’
Despite a glittering career which has involved winning the Scudetto with AC Milan, followed by seven Ligue 1 titles with PSG, the centre-back is yet to win the Champions League.
He has a chance to change that when Chelsea take on Manchester City in May’s final, and Kovacic is hoping he and his teammates can give the defender a ‘big gift’ by claiming the esteemed trophy.
‘Thiago hasn’t won the Champions League that he so much deserves a player because he’s done amazing in his career.
‘So I hope this could be a big gift for him and for his career.’
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