Thiago Silva Says Robinho Has Reached Peak of European Career, Could Return to Brazil National Team

Thiago Silva Says Robinho Has Reached Peak of European Career, Could Return to Brazil National TeamThiago Silva, one of world soccer’s best defenders, knows how to spot a dangerous attacker. The AC Milan sees one every day in his teammate Robinho.

Silva recently hailed Robinho, saying the veteran forward is playing the best soccer of his European career, according to FIFA.com.

“Robinho is enjoying the best period of his career in European football,” Silva said. “He’s really playing for the team and is now an essential part of Milan’s system. He also loves playing for the Selecao [Brazil’s national team] and he’ll do everything he can to get back into the squad.”

The 28-year-old is enjoying a fine second season with Milan. He has nine goals and 12 assists in 33 games (in all competitions) for the Seria A leader. His dynamic performance have come primarily as a second forward and wide midfielder, supporting the incomparable Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Milan faces FC Barcelona in the most glamourous of the quartefinal matchups in this season’s UEFA Champions League. For Robinho, it is a far cry from the relative misery he endured during 18 months at Manchester City. The £15 million ($23.8 million) Milan spent in August 2010 to secure his transfer from City is a bargain compared to the value he provides to the team.

Robinho has played at the highest the level of the game for over a decade. As an 18-year-old, he helped his hometown club, Santos, win the 2002 Brazilian league championship. Santos repeated the feat in 2004, on the strength of the 21 goals he scored during the campaign.

He made his debut for Brazil’s national team in 2003, and was a regular by 2005. That year also saw him make the jump to European soccer, when he joined Real Madrid in a £22 million ($35 million) transfer.

Robinho spent three seasons in the Spanish capital, and won two La Liga crowns. But he left in 2010 after the club’s secured Cristiano Ronaldo. Real sold him to City for a tidy sum of £32.5 million ($51.5 million).

While Robinho is at one of the best points in his career, Silva faces a difficult moment. He suffered a thigh injury in the first half of Saturday’s game against AS Roma. Milan expects him to miss up to a month of action.

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Thumbnail photo via Flickr/al7n6awi

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