Thiago Silva “sets the standards” at Chelsea, according to Joe Cole, who has lauded the Blues defender for his “unbelievable” contribution this season.
Silva has quickly established himself as a mainstay in Frank Lampard’s starting XI since joining Chelsea on a free transfer in August.
The 36-year-old, who was released by Paris Saint-Germain following their Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich last season, was initially seen as a risky signing for the Blues due to his age.
However, the Brazilian has proven he can still deliver the goods at the very highest level, and has played a key role in transforming Chelsea into a rock-solid defensive outfit after slotting in at centre-back alongside Kurt Zouma.
Silva’s latest outing came during a 2-1 win away at Rennes in a Champions League group stage clash on Tuesday night, which saw Lampard’s side book their place in the last 16 with two games to spare.
Speaking ahead of that clash, Cole praised the impact the former PSG star’s had at Stamford Bridge, while insisting he is already arguably the best central defender in the Premier League.
Asked to assess Silva’s first few months in west London, the former Blues winger told BT Sport : “Unbelievable. Out of all the signings, when he came in, I knew he’s been one of the great defenders of our generation, but at 36 – you worry.
“Traditionally, players of that age coming into the Premier League, it’s very difficult. The Premier League is a different beast now.
“I don’t think they make centre-halves like him now, apart from Van Dijk, he’s the best in the league, maybe there’s an argument for it.
“For [Antonio] Rudiger, [Kurt] Zouma, or [Andreas] Christensen next to him, he sets the standard.
“That’s the level you want to get at if you want to class yourself as a world-class centre-half.”