Nine years ago Thiago Silva was lying in a Russian hospital with tuberculosis, fearing for his life, but he now feels that life-changing experience makes him the right man to lead the hosts to World Cup glory.
Having failed to establish himself at his first European club, Porto, the centre-back moved onto Dynamo Moscow where he found himself unable to shake off cough and flu-like symptoms.
Doctors in Russia investigated and found Silva's lungs were on the verge of collapse due to tuberculosis, resulting in a 24-week stay in hospital - twice as long as expected.
It took a year of recuperation to get back on to the field and the defender always thinks back to those struggles whenever he plays.
This World Cup is no different and has given Silva a philosophical stance on those criticising his leadership.
Silva asked not to take a penalty in Brazil's ultimately-successful shootout against Chile and cried after the last-16 clash, leading some to question his leadership - a viewpoint put to him ahead of Friday's quarter-final against Colombia.
"When those things are said, we first have to look to the side," Silva, sat alongside coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, said. "My leader is here beside me, he is the commander and he never went against my attitude.
"I don't have to care about what people say and think, because nobody really knows me, no-one spends their day with me, knows what I am like apart from people beside me, like Felipao.
"I am very emotional and it is a very natural thing in human beings to feel emotional, but I see it doesn't affect me at any time on the pitch.
"People are saying some silly things like it makes things more difficult, but I don't think so, quite the contrary. I think it helps me.
"I underwent many difficult moments in my life. I was able to overcome tuberculosis, I was running the risk of losing my life. I can say I am a champion not only on the pitch but off the pitch.
"I have my maturity, have my responsibility, I have the respect of all. We need the support. Nothing negative can be part of us because that will push us down."
Silva was somewhat overshadowed by zany and grumpy Scolari during a 30-minute pre-match press conference at the Estadio Castelao, where the defender will need to be at his best on Friday to deal with the likes of top scorer James Rodriguez.
"I think Colombia are a team that are very similar to ours," he said. "It is basically the same kind of school of playing.
"These are two teams that like playing very well technically, a team which is well-positioned at the back with a defender that has played with me which I like very much, Mario Yepes.
"He helps a lot and I know Cristian Zapata very well from Milan, so they have a very good, compact defence.
"I think we know this team very well but that doesn't really mean very much. Colombia has all of our respect, which all of the teams we have played have."