Antonio Rudiger believes his former Chelsea co-worker Thiago Silva is still amongst the elite defenders in the sport.

Talking to the Guardian, the recently appointed Real Madrid man spoke glowingly of Silva.

Although his legs might be winding down, the Stamford Bridge centurion remains undoubtedly one of the game’s greatest centre-halves.

His footballing brain makes up for the fact that, at 38-year-old, physical speed is departing the body.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Intelligence doesn’t come much more fully formed than in the shape of the Brazilian international.

Sadly, Silva’s tenure at the very top is probably reaching its conclusion.

When he does decide to hang up the boots, the family tree of old-gold centre-backs will lose its father.

Sergio Ramos, Pepe and the Chelsea general are all from a similar era, players that Rudiger admitted to looking up to.

“In this generation these are the best centre-backs,” said the Madrista.

“Also Giorgio Chiellini and Leo Bonucci. As long as these people are in the game there is no consideration for anyone else being the best centre-back.”

Rudiger shaped by Silva

Rudiger is leading the revolution of the new wave of centre-backs.

Which is rather ironic, considering he will celebrate his 30th in March.

Photo by Buda Mendes – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

But the German has only really been put on a pedestal in the pat few seasons.

His rise to fame occurred thanks to Thomas Tuchel’s introduction at Chelsea.

Training and playing alongside Silva can also be listed as one of the reasons behind Rudiger’s development.

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.