AC Milan defender Thiago Silva admits he almost didn't make it to Italy.
The Brazilian says a spell in Russian football almost wrecked his career.
“In 2005 I was sent out on loan to Dinamo Moscow, but the city was horrible, I was cold and got ill,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sport Week.
“I was in hospital for six months. I was 10kg overweight and, despite everyone else in the hospital being so skinny and not wanting to eat, I was always hungry. My mother said I didn’t look ill, but I couldn’t move.
“The doctors would tell me to get up and go for a walk, but I couldn’t do it. This disease is also contagious, so I was put in isolation, only able to play computer games and go on the internet.
“Every now and then a doctor would come in and give me an injection, three or four times a day, plus 10-15 pills.
“I eventually found out that I’d had tuberculosis for six months. The doctors said if another two weeks had passed, I might not have been able to recover. I almost died. This is why, whenever I play, I think back to those moments in Russia.
“I had thought of quitting football altogether. There was another occasion when I went to Flamengo for a trial and after two sessions they said I could go, as I was no better than any of the players they already had,” revealed Thiago Silva.
“I told my mother I didn’t want to play football anymore, as nobody wanted me. However, she said in that case I’d have to go work for my brother, so I immediately changed my mind and looked for another club!”