Chelsea defender Silva: 'Long balls' previously put me off Premier League

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Chelsea defender Thiago Silva said the Premier League's "long-ball football" put him off moving to England until the latter stages of his career.

The centre-back, who turned 36 on Tuesday, joined Chelsea on a free transfer this summer after eight years at Paris Saint-Germain and will make his debut against Barnsley in Wednesday night's EFL Cup third round clash.

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Silva has enjoyed a glittering career which has included seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles following a three-year spell with AC Milan, where he also won Serie A, while amassing 88 international caps for Brazil.

And when asked whether he had ever come close to playing in the Premier League before this season, Silva replied: "If I were to say 'yes' to you on that, I would be lying. I've never really seen myself in the Premier League previously. That was because I saw it as a difficult style of football, personally. I didn't have any desire to play in the Premier League.

"My impression of the football playing was that one with long ball, high balls and long shots. At the time, I couldn't really see myself playing in that championship. But over time, the championship has developed tremendously. There is a lot more technical quality.

"A lot of teams play with the ball on the ground, full-backs attacking in the area. Obviously each team has their own idea, their own strengths, but previously I have seen it being characterised by long balls and that didn't really appeal to me.

"Obviously I know how to play that way but my preference was to play football with the ball on the ground. I knew my quality. But little by little, the Premier League football really won me over.

"Anyone who knows me can confirm that. Now, at 36, I am arriving to play in the best championship in the world. Usually, the Premier League is the championship which brings young players into play so I'm coming here as an older player and I see that is because Chelsea and [head coach] Frank Lampard want a player with my experience.

"If you want someone who is a runner, I'll use the words Carlo Ancelotti used to describe the signing of James [Rodriguez], they would have signed Usain Bolt. With my experience and the excellent young players here, I hope to help them in this new adventure."

Lampard is keen to add experience to his back-line -- which conceded the most goals (54) in the Premier League's top 10 last season -- but Silva's age has raised concerns he will be vulnerable to the fast pace of the English game.

"I don't worry at all because I know where I want to get to and I have high hopes about this young team," he said. "I feel really good, age is just a number on a document.

"Physically I feel young. I am very well prepared for this, I have been preparing for my whole life. People who know me know how much I love my work, how I put in 200%. This is a great opportunity that Chelsea and Lampard have given me, I don't want to let them down."