Paraguay’s veteran centre-half Paulo da Silva is a talismanic figure in the Albirroja camp and boasts vast international experience, including 33 appearances in three arduous CONMEBOL qualifying campaigns. However, having spent most of the last decade as a back-up in an area in which Paraguay has traditionally been strong, the signs are that the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ will provide the stage for this powerful defender to step out of the shadows.
Paraguay’s Argentinian-born coach Gerardo Martino has placed considerable faith in da Silva, picking him in 17 out of his team’s 18 qualifying games in the run-up to South Africa 2010. The rugged central defender has an impressive CV, including appearances at two editions of the FIFA U-20 World Cups in both 1997 and 1999. In the latter, da Silva was captain of a Paraguayan team that reached the knockout stages, only to go out 10-9 on penalties in a memorable game against South American rivals Uruguay.
A worthy successor to a great Paraguayan defensive tradition, the hard-working da Silva will be able to call on his previous FIFA World Cup experience from his country’s campaign in Germany 2006, in which he played one group game.
Da Silva’s club career has seen him cross continents and oceans. He began his career in Paraguayan domestic football with Atlantida and Cerro Porteno, saw action in the Argentinian top flight with Lanus, took in a spell in Italy with Perugia, Venezia and Cosenza, spent six trophy-laden years in Mexico with Toluca and now plies his trade with Sunderland in the English Premier League. The knowhow gleaned from his travels in dealing with the world’s best attackers will surely stand his country in good stead at South Africa 2010.