Thiago Silva admitted he felt like he always shouldered the blame for PSG’s Champions League failures as he aimed a dig at his old club after finally bagging his first European title.
Chelsea became two-time winners of club football’s greatest prize on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Manchester City, as the Blues outclassed Pep Guardiola’s men.
Silva limped-off after 39 minutes with a groin injury but that didn’t stop Chelsea fans in Porto and outside Stamford Bridge chanting his name long into the night.
The 36-year-old spent eight years in Paris and got closest to the big-eared cup last season, falling 1-0 to Bayern Munich. Before that, though, their European ambitions always ended in last-16 or quarter-final disaster.
“Every time Paris was eliminated, people tried to find a culprit and it was always me. It’s a shame, I really gave everything,” Silva told RMC Sport.
However, the centre-back wants to put that behind him, wishing the Parisians future success: “It’s the most important moment of my career, it’s unforgettable.
“But it’s also a moment to have recognition for everything Paris has done for me, but we failed to win it. with the PSG. We are very happy, and I hope that Paris will be able to arrive there.”
Silva arrived on a free transfer last summer under Frank Lampard, and was written-off as being too old to thrive in the Premier League.
The Brazilian has now proved the signing was a masterstroke. He’s had momentary slip-ups in his first campaign, but his experience, leadership and rock-solid defending have been crucial for the new champions of Europe.
The defender made sure not to forget about Lampard, who guided the Blues through the Champions League group stages this season before losing his job in January.
“It was special, it was my first year here,” Silva added.
“Tuchel changed everything, the team mentality. But it’s also important to talk about Lampard.
“Without him, it was difficult for me to win here, thanks to him for letting me sign here.”
Emerson Palmieri admits he ‘never thought’ he’d win the Champions League with Chelsea and acknowledges ‘without Italy and Italian football,’ he wouldn’t have reached this level.
The left-back and Jorginho picked up gold medals this evening, whereas the only Italian to have won the Champions League with a non-Italian side had been Christian Panucci for Real Madrid in 1998.
“It’s a wonderful sensation. You always dream of reaching this level one day. When I left Brazil, it was with the hope of winning this,” Emerson told Sky Sport Italia.
“A couple of years ago we won the Premier League, now we win the Champions League. I salute my friends and family in Italy and Brazil. It’s wonderful.
“When I lifted the trophy, I thought of everything I experienced and went through to get here. I never thought I’d reach this level. I thought of my family and friends who are watching.
“I had some difficulties at Palermo, then from Roma onwards, I really felt Italian. I learned to love Italy and I know full well that without Italy and Italian football, I would never have become the Emerson Palmieri I am today. Thank you to all of Italy!”
Pep Guardiola has explained his decision not to start with a holding midfielder as Manchester City lost the Champions League final to Chelsea.
And he said he did not know if he has any regrets about his selection and tactics.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admitted he had been surprised that Fernandinho was not in the line-up, but said that he and his staff had predicted everything else City had planned.
City lost 1-0 after a disappointing performance in Porto, in which the Londoners’ defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante taking man of the match honours.
Guardiola decided to leave both holding players – Fernandinho and Rodri – on the subs bench until he brought on the Brazilian in the second half.
He has played one or the other in almost every other game this season, but changed it for the final – a tinker that he seemed to have ironed out of his make-up.
Chelsea took full advantage, exposing the lack of cover, while City’s much-vaunted defence had its poorest game for some time.
It was an attacking decision from Guardiola – it allowed him to squeeze Raheem Sterling into a strong front five, and he played Ilkay Gudogan as the holding man.
That has worked in the past, usually against teams that play deep, when the Germany international’s passing quality makes a difference.
Guardiola said: “I decided the decision, to have quality players. Gundogan played many years in this position.
“To have speed, to find the small players, the quality, the brilliant players, inside, in the middle and between the lines. This was the decision.”
Asked if he regretted anything about his selection and tactics, Guardiola chose to praise Chelsea, who were excellent on the night.
“I don’t know – the decisions I made, the players did everything to try to win the game.”
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was surprised that Fernandinho did not start, saying: “I expected Fernandinho in the line-up. He chose a very offensive, technical line-up, very hard to steal the ball and recover the ball. Everything else we pretty much expected.
“I think the game was exceptional, the first time we are here.”
Blues captain Cesar Azpilicuta says Kai Havertz is going to be a superstar after scoring the goal to help Chelsea win the Champions League.
He delivered his verdict on the club’s record signing after the 1-0 win against Manchester City in the final on Saturday night.
Latching on to a defence-splitting pass from Mason Mount shortly before half-time, Havertz kept his cool to round Ederson and slot the ball into an empty net.
In truth, Chelsea could have extended their lead in the second half when Christian Pulisic was put clean through on goal, but he couldn’t hit the target.
As a result, it turned out that Havertz was the match winner.
And the Germany international was given a massive endorsement by Azpilicueta at the final whistle.
“He deserves that, his mentality is top, this guy. He’s going to be a superstar, he is already. Not only that, he ran like crazy, that’s the team work, that’s why he deserves this,” the defender told BT Sport.
“I came here in 2012 after the Champions League win, I wanted to repeat that.
“Tonight is amazing, my family are here, it’s a special, special day.”