Thiago Silva is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against Diego Costa when Paris Saint-Germain face Chelsea in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg.
The French champions welcome Jose Mourinho’s men to the Parc des Princes this week as the sides meet for a second season running, with Chelsea having come out on top on away goals in the 2013-14 quarter-finals.
While PSG captain Silva knows all about the reputation of Brazil-born Costa, he maintains he and his team-mates will be more than ready to cope.
“Diego Costa is one of the top strikers in Europe at the moment. He can play, but also he can do battle as well,” Brazil international Silva said in quotes reported by The Mirror.
“That is no problem, that is the reason you want to play at this level, to do battle against the best players in the world.
“He is the sort of player that lets you know he is there, but we will also let him know that we are there as well.”
Tuesday’s match throws up a number of sub-plots and reunions, with Silva’s PSG team-mate David Luiz facing his former club for the first time and Mourinho coming up against talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The pair worked together at Inter and Silva warned there are areas of the Swede’s game Mourinho will be unable to thwart.
“Of course Mourinho will know what quality to expect from Zlatan Ibrahimovic because they were together at Inter,” he added.
“I am sure there will be some sort of plan for Chelsea to stop the threat of him, but Mourinho will know that Zlatan can score goals from anything – those you cannot prepare for.
“We know that a Jose Mourinho team is going to be very organised, so we will have to be patient in our approach. I don’t expect them to come to Paris and be attacking but that is why it is so important we keep our focus.
“They will soak up the pressure, but they have dangerous players that can hit you on the counter attack. Costa, Oscar, [Eden] Hazard can hurt you in a second. We must stay focused for the whole game.”