Silva signed for the Rossoneri in 2008 from Fluminense and has established himself as one of the pillars in the Milan defence.
And Ibrahimovic believes the Brazil international is the best defender he has played with - even better than the likes of Lilian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol.
"When I see Thiago Silva play, I see myself - but as a defender," Ibrahimovic said in an interview with Milan Channel.
"I think that at the moment Thiago is the most complete defender in the world. I'm lucky to play with a player like him.
"I've played with some great defenders like Thuram, Cannavaro, Pique and Puyol, but, if you ask me, Thiago Silva plays on another level."
The Swedish international also gave his thoughts on the this weekend's Milan derby, saying he is never tired of being part of such a rivalry.
"As you get closer to the derby game the pressure always rises," the 30-year-old forward explained. "The papers give it a lot of coverage.
"There's also the prestige of the two clubs at stake. It's a huge game; the whole world is watching. And it's a great game to able to play in.
"There are not a lot of players who get to play in these type of games. It's a great game to be able to play in. It's a derby."