Dubbed El Gato (The Cat) by a fitness coach as a youngster owing to his feline features, Francisco Silva is a holding midfielder whose positional sense, energy and aggression allow him to repeatedly pounce and win back possession.
These attributes, coupled with Silva's versatility, were what caught the eye of Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli, who has employed the Osasuna schemer in his natural position, at left-back and even as a sweeper on occasion. A regular in the Chilean set-up in qualifying, although mainly in a bit-part role, Brazil 2014 will be Silva's first FIFA World Cup™.
A product of the Universidad Catolica academy, Silva found his path to the first team blocked in Santiago and only cut his teeth after being farmed out on loan to lower-league Deportes Ovalle in 2005. A further loan spell followed in 2007, this time at Osorno, where his performances during the club's promotion-winning campaign finally earned him a crack at the first team back at his parent club.
After starting out as an understudy to Gary Medel, Silva excelled when he stepped into his sizeable shoes and lifted the title in 2010, though not quite doing enough to force his way into the international picture in time for South Africa 2010. Having won his first senior Chile cap under Marcelo Bielsa in 2011, the midfielder was part of Claudio Borghi's squad at that year's Copa America in Argentina and went on to join Osasuna, initially on loan, in 2012.