A workhorse with incredible stamina, as well as tackling and leadership skills, he was best known for his spell with Deportivo de La Coruña. Over the course of 13 seasons he amassed La Liga totals of 369 games and one goal, winning six major titles.
With the Galicians Silva was an everpresent fixture, only suspensions and injuries preventing him from being cast into the starting XI – in the 1994–95 campaign he only appeared in six La Liga matches and, already 36, was limited to 20 in his final year – as he helped the club to one league, two cups and three supercups, adding to this the team's five participations in the UEFA Champions League, reaching the semifinals in 2003–04: after a 0–0 away draw against FC Porto, he missed the second leg due to suspension, and Depor lost 0–1.
On 22 May 2005, after 13 years with Deportivo, Silva was replaced by longtime understudy Aldo Duscher during a 0–3 home loss against RCD Mallorca, bidding farewell to the club and football in the same match as another club legend, Fran. With Brazil he collected 58 caps in ten years, playing all the matches and minutes (except for the second half of the group stage match against Sweden) in the nation's victorious campaign at the 1994 FIFA World Cup; in that year, he was named by FIFA as the ninth best player in the world.
1Placar started to give this prize to the best grade holder at Bola de Prata since 1973. In its 2013 ceremonies, a Bola de Ouro was given to Dirceu Lopes, holder of the best 1971 grade. Francisco Reyes and Elías Figueroa, holders of 1970 and 1972 ones respectively, have not been announced as these years' winners yet.