He was nicknamed by fans "O Canhão do Brasileirão" (The Cannon of the Brazilian Championship) for his extremely potent right-foot shot. One of his shots was measured at 136 km/h (84.5 mph) during a test organized by Globo Esporte.
While at Corinthians, Célio Silva agreed a £4m move to Premier League champions Manchester United in July 1997. However, United couldn't obtain a work permit, as the Home Office claimed that, despite Silva being a regular for Brazil for the past two years, he hadn't played enough matches for Brazil, and the move fell through. United bought Henning Berg instead.