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Archive for April, 2005

Gilberto wants to finish his career with Arsenal

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Gilberto wants to end career with gunners

Gilberto Silva, the understated dynamo of the Arsenal team, today gave Arsene Wenger a massive boost when he revealed that he wants to spend the rest of his career with the club.

The 28-year-old midfielder has one year left on his present deal and manager Wenger said two weeks ago that he wants the World Cup winner to sign a new deal.

Gilberto was delighted at the news and said: “I am happy about that. We haven’t started talking yet but I want to stay at this club.

“I like it here very much. I also like my life in England. If you are happy, then you don’t want to move.

“The spirit among the players is fantastic and we have some of the best in the world like Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. If I have the chance to finish-my career at Arsenal, then I would be very happy.”

Gilberto’s immense value to the team is clear from the statistics. Although his season has been disrupted by injuries, he is one of the keys to making the side tick.

With him in the team Arsenal have not been beaten in 13 matches and boast a winning rate of 86 per cent. Without Gilberto, this drops to 56 per cent and in those 39 games Arsenal have lost five times.

The Brazilian helped his club to a magnificent start, winning six of the first seven Premiership matches but once he was diagnosed with a serious back injury in late September and forced to step down for six months, Arsenal’s incredible momentum stalled.

The injury was painful and rehabilitation laborious. He spent long periods back in Brazil and only at the turn of the year did a scan show the fracture in his back had healed. After three reserve games, Gilberto was back in the first team on 2 April in the 4-1 win at Norwich.

His comeback coincided with another impressive run by Arsenal. In four Premiership games, they have recorded three wins and drawn 0-0 at Chelsea. They have also reached the FA Cup Final.

After his £5million move from Atletico Mineiro in the summer of 2002, many Arsenal fans were unconvinced by his value but you have to go back to a cold night in January 2004 – in a Carling Cup semi-final with Middlesbrough – to find the last time Gilberto tasted defeat while wearing an Arsenal shirt.

He first jarred his back in the 4-1 win at Everton on the opening day of the season and recalled: “I was tackled hard and hurt my back. It was a dull pain and I carried on.”

But after the draw with Bolton, the pain was too much. A scan showed a fracture and he was told to return to Brazil for complete rest. Gilberto was fitted with a corset-like device to immobilise his back and gradually the bone knitted.

Obviously frustrated, he turned off his mobile phone and missed the get well calls from his team-mates.

“I just wanted to be playing and it was hard for me that I couldn’t,” he explained. “I just had to do everything properly. If I didn’t focus on that then there was a danger I might not play again.”

But the player returned full of determinat ion and has his own appreciation society now.

Gilberto added: “Sometimes I don’t think people realise what I do out there. People see now more than they did before what I try to give to the team. Because I came from Brazil, they were expecting me to do the same as Ronaldo or Ronaldinho.

“But that is not what I do. I play for the team. I don’t look for headlines, that is not the most important thing for me. The team is important. The way myself and Chelsea’s Claude Makelele play, no one can see us on the pitch. All we try to do is be in the right place at the right time.”

Gilberto’s setback was compounded by injuries to Henry, Edu and Sol Campbell.

He added: “Whenever there are problems, it unbalances the team. The manager tried to do things when the important players were out and brought in youngsters.

“But you can’t put pressure on them like you can with experienced players. Now I want to help the team finish in second place and play in what should be a great FA Cup Final against Manchester United.”

United have beaten Arsenal three times this season, but all without facing Gilberto. They will clearly find a player who is desperate to make up for lost time.

Best news I’ve heard all day.

Gilberto: “WE WON’T GIVE UP”

Thursday, April 28th, 2005


Arsenal’s fit again Brazilian star Gilberto insists the Gunners will not give up hope of catching Chelsea until it is mathematically impossible.

Gilberto is back in the Arsenal line-up after overcoming a serious back injury and has already helped Arsene Wenger’s side to earn a place in the FA Cup final with semi-final success over Blackburn.

But even though London rivals Chelsea can take their Barclays Premiership championship crown with a point at Bolton on Saturday, Gilberto is determined nobody at Highbury will relinquish the fight until they can do no more.

A point for Chelsea would make their Monday game with West Brom meaningless with regard to the title race but Gilberto remains positive and is already looking ahead to next season.

He said: “I believe it is nearly impossible for us to win the league but that doesn’t mean that we should give up.

“It is very important for us as a team and for the supporters as well to finish as strongly as we can. That means finishing in second place in the league and winning the FA Cup.

“We must concentrate until the end. If we keep playing as well as we can then I’m sure that we can achieve our objectives.

“We are looking forward to next season. We have a young team who have done very well. When I was out there were those who came in and played well. We need to take positives from this year and use them for next season.”

Gilberto has now played four games since recovering from a bilateral stress fracture of a lower vertebra.

The Brazilian is pleased with his progress since returning in the 4-1 win over Norwich but insists he never thought the injury would end his career.

He added: “I was very happy to come back and play my first game back at Highbury after such a long time out. It was so nice to see everyone stand up and cheer when I came out. It meant a lot.

“I was always optimistic about my recovery. I went back to Brazil for a bit and forgot about football. You know, it is frustrating to sit on the sidelines and watch your colleagues playing when you are not.

“I feel fresh. With every game I have played I have felt better and better. The Blackburn game was a very hard match but I am glad that I proved to myself, apart from everybody else, that I am 100% fit again

“I was glad that we won and instead of thinking too much about how Blackburn played we must look at our own game and look at the positives.”

Gilberto insists the Gunners are determined to win back the trophy Manchester United claimed last year.

He added: “The final will be great. We are two big clubs with some excellent players. Both teams will want to play football so the fans are set for a real treat. It will be a very exciting game.”

“I have some very happy memories of playing in Cardiff. I’ve only had one bad experience there, when we lost on penalties against Manchester United in the Community Shield in 2003. I remember my first goal for the club and the noise everyone made. It was a great feeling.”

Arsenal vs. Spurs

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Gilberto’s performance last night was very good (if you know how to see the invisible game happening infront of you).

One Arsenal fan had this to say about Gilberto’s performance against Spurs:

Gilberto was absolutely stunning today. MOM for me. Filled in everytime Cesc was out of position. Defensivly slipped in well to the back four. His touch to get us out of tight situaiotns was sublime and he can fool a player and wriggle out of pressure with a drop of a shoulder. He links up play so seamlessly with nice one touches and just eases the ball on.

His passing was top class today. He even hit a sweet 40 yarder. His passing has been good ever since the end of last season. Its getting better too.

Best midfielder on the park today by a long way. Cesc was class for 45 mninutes. Gilberto the whole match. What a difference he makes.

This report is slightly flattering, but Silva did defend very well. He made about five very dodgy passes, which got him the usual chorus of “AWWW YOU WASTEFUL CUNT GILBERTO!!!” from the crowd.
He lost the ball in the middle of the park to Keane, who nearly went and scored.

But the positives:
He was great going forward. He put Reyes through for what was nearly team-goal of the premiership season so far. He did some great 1-2 passing in Bergkamp territory, when Vieira dropped back.

He obviously did his defensive bit, too (as shown by another clean sheet for Arsenal). Arsenal have conceeded just 1 goal in the last 10 games – this coincides with Gilberto’s comeback. Coincidence? We like to think not.

Gilberto urges Wenger to buy

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Arsenal midfielder wants new team-mates
By D Ferguson
24 April 2005

Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva wants the club to bring in some new players in the summer.

The Brazilian international believes that getting a few new team-mates will help the Gunners get back on track next season.

Gilberto told Sky Sports: “We have to avoid the problems we’ve experienced and make sure injuries and bans don’t hurt us next year.

“It’s vital we improve. I don’t know what the club plans to do in the summer, but we need to bring more players in.”

“It hasn’t worked out like we planned because we felt we would put in a stronger challenge for the title.

“We need to win the FA Cup to make sure this season isn’t remembered as a tragedy.”

Brazil fans get upset

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Brazil bring in old and the new
By Tim Vickery

The Brazilian Championship got under way this weekend and, between now and the final round at the start of December, there is much more than domestic glory at stake.

There is also the chance to gatecrash next year’s World Cup.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has already stated almost the entire squad to defend his country’s title in Germany 2006 will be drawn from players already in Europe.

But he is well aware of the pressures he will face between now and then.

Brazil’s proud football culture is offended by the fact that all of the country’s best players are tempted abroad.

As a kind of self-defence mechanism, the folk wisdom is that the foreign-based stars have grown fat and lazy, while those who are still playing at home retain the hunger the fans want to see in the national team.

The Brazilian press and public are always pushing for a call up for those who are in good form in domestic football.

Four years ago the movement worked in favour of the likes of Gilberto Silva and Kleberson, who came in from nowhere to claim a World Cup winners medal and then make their way on to Europe.

Inside the penalty area he can go on to be as good as Romario
Athirson on Fred
There are plenty of players who are hoping to use the 2005 Brazilian Championship as a stepping stone to a similar fate.

Classy Cruzeiro striker Fred is the latest candidate to be crowned the new prince of Brazilian football and this Wednesday he gets the chance to see if the shoe fits.

Brazil play a friendly against Guatemala in Sao Paulo, and since this is not a Fifa date for international matches, they are unable to bring back any of their European-based stars.

The entire squad has been chosen from Brazilian clubs, and Fred is among them.

His club mate Athirson is confident Fred will go to the ball. “Inside the penalty area he can go on to be as good as Romario,” he says. “I’ve been very struck with the way he strikes the ball and his calm inside the area. I had only seen these characteristics in Romario.”

On Wednesday it should be possible to make a direct comparison. Along with the group of young hopefuls pushing for a place in Brazil’s future, the 39-year-old Romario is also in the squad.

The match is being held in order to celebrate the 40th birthday of Brazil’s all-powerful TV Globo.

The story behind the match has a plotline as intricate as one of Globo’s soap operas.

Argentina were invited, but refused. Uruguay were invited, dithered and refused. Ecuador were invited, accepted, but changed their minds the next day.

Guatemala was the best remaining option. But since this is an opponent of limited appeal, it was felt something was needed to add prestige to the occasion – hence the surprise decision to use the match as a tribute to Romario.

Brazil’s management team seem somewhat embarrassed by the situation. There has been bad blood between Romario and assistant coach Mario Zagallo, who was in charge of the team at the 1998 World Cup.

Romario picked up an injury, and was axed from the squad on the eve of the competition. He thought he should have been given time to recover, and flew back to Brazil to plot his revenge; at the time he had a bar in Rio, and on the toilet door he placed a cartoon of Zagallo sitting on the loo.

Zagallo failed to see the funny side. He sued.

Now coach Parreira says Romario will play the first 20 minutes before being substituted. And thus the old is flushed away and the new – the likes of Fred – start their campaign for a place in Brazil’s future.

Gilberto attends charity event

Monday, April 18th, 2005

Gilberto Silva’s fruity balls

Lovells did its bit for charity on 7 April. The firm hosted a glamorous reception to promote Street League, a charity that uses football to promote social inclusion, crime reduction, conflict resolution and education.

The event was attended by Arsenal FC and Brazil footballer Gilberto Silva and former Wimbledon FC manager David Bassett. It included a draw to select teams for the Street League World Cup Final, which took place in Regent’s Park on 9 April. Bizarrely, the draw featured numbered tangerines that Silva and Bassett had to pluck from the barrel. Not a lot of balls, then.

Arsenal vs. Blackburn

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

Arsenal beat Blackburn 3-0 in the semi-final of the FA Cup.

Here’s Gilberto’s thoughts on the game.

“We knew what to expect. They played hard and strong and we knew what they would give us.

“We did very well and in the whole game we did not give them any confidence or hope they could beat Arsenal. We did the job.

“A couple of times Blackburn were very aggressive and that is not part of football. Some moments they went over the top.”

Gilberto continued to help the inexperienced Toure/Senderos partnership, and while I’d disagree that aggressiveness isn’t part of football, I think he did a great job at keeping calm in the face of knobend Paul Dickov.

Gilberto poses for the camera (his hair is even longer)

His passing was a bit off at times, but he did manage to do 4 back-heels in the first half.

Not much else to discuss really – he’s a dead cert to start for Chelsea.

* * *

Gilberto looks back on his injury

Sunday, April 10th, 2005,,277-1563843,00.html

Gilberto resolves to click back into place
By Gary Jacob
IT DID NOT TAKE Arsenal’s slump to illustrate to Arsène Wenger the importance of Gilberto Silva. The Arsenal manager has always appreciated his inconspicuous work in protecting the defence and it was not by chance that cracks opened in the team during the midfield player’s absence because of a back injury.

Arsenal were top of the league, seemingly imperious, when Gilberto played his last match before injury in September. When he returned, more than six months later, he found them endeavouring to scrape into second place and reach the FA Cup Final, an ambition that hinges on their semi-final against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

The Brazil international has been the man most missed by Arsenal this season — even if this sounds surprising to some supporters who have never warmed to his anchoring play. Statistics support the case: he has been on the losing side only five times in 69 league matches for the club. Little wonder that Wenger is to offer him a three-year extension to his contract, which has one year remaining.

“It was a coincidence (Arsenal’s dip in form), and in one way it was good that the people appreciated me when I was out, but I would have preferred to be playing,” Gilberto said. “When you can’t do what you normally do, it is very frustrating.”

In Gilberto’s absence, it was a difficult period for Arsenal and they have never fully healed from the scars that Manchester United inflicted upon them, first in ending their 49-match unbeaten record in the league, then their title challenge. Depending on the semi-final results, some redemption could come against United in the Cup Final. “People remember who wins, never who is second,” he said. “The season has been very hard because some of the important players have been injured. We are still strong, we need to carry on and if we win the FA Cup, the season will not be a disaster.”

Gilberto is warm, relaxed and quick to smile. Yet mention his back injury and he turns reflective. He sustained the problem on the opening day of the season, but it was seven more matches before a second scan showed that he had a fractured vertebra. There was a chance that the injury could have ended his career.

“I felt pain every day during training, but I wanted to help the team,” Gilberto said. “But it got worse, until one day I woke up and I couldn’t tie up my trainers, so I thought this is enough for me, something is wrong.”

He received conflicting advice about whether he needed an operation, but opted instead to spend two months recuperating in Brazil, where he had to wear a body brace to support his back. He has returned looking leaner, with a thicker shock of hair, and with even more vigour to help out at Street League, an expanding project that enables the homeless to play football. “I was always positive in my recovery. Sometimes I felt pain and complained about the brace, but my family said: ‘Be patient it is going to be OK’,” he said.

“But it was difficult as I didn’t see any games, I didn’t follow the team, stopped watching football. Some of my friends told me the results. I thought if I watched and thought about football, maybe it will take me longer to recover. But I think I made the best choice just to focus on my recovery. Had I not done that, it may have been worse.”

Gilberto contract talks

Sunday, April 10th, 2005,,2002390000-2005161163,00.html

Arsenal eye Gilberto deal


ARSENAL will offer Gilberto Silva a new contract this summer – but David Bentley has warned he is not afraid to quit Highbury.

Gilberto made his comeback in the 4-1 win over Norwich last Saturday after being ruled out since mid-September with a back injury.

He has 12 months remaining on his current deal but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is keen to secure a three-year extension for the 28-year-old.

Wenger said: “We will try to extend Gilberto’s contract.

“He has a great presence in midfield and you could see that against Norwich. He certainly knows the job.

“We want him to stay and we want him to be part of our future. We will sort that out in the summer.

“He has recovered completely from his back injury and that will not be a problem for him now.”

Arsenal vs. Norwich – Gilberto’s return

Saturday, April 2nd, 2005

This is the first Gilberto match report I’m writing. I probably won’t write a report on every game he plays in, but I’ll do games which are interesting to write/read about. Each report will be fairly short, and only about what Gilberto does. For Arsenal match reports, try, and for Portuguese language Brazil match reports, try CBF News.

So, the news that Gilberto might return for Arsenal was the only Gunners-related news for most of the week leading up to the Norwich game. That’s because Gilberto is one of the worlds most famous players, and not because there was absolutely no other news because of international week.

Gilberto started alongside Flamini in the centre of midfield, and as a defensive minded player, his biggest worry was Darren Huckerby for the Cannaries. Huckerby proved a worry to Arsenal when he scored, but it wasn’t Gilberto’s fault.

Throughout the game, Gilberto played alot of short passes, and unlike his typical self, most of the passes reached their intended target.
He made about 3/4 tackles in the game — quite alot, considering Arsenal had the ball for most of the game.

In the absence of Vieira, there were flashbacks to the beginning of the season, when Fabregas came on for Flamini. Henry took the captains armband, which left Gilberto organising the midfield. From the North Bank, I saw Gilberto signaling to the other midfielders to hold the midfield line properly.

He had two shots (I think), and they both went quite far over the bar. Good to see he’s still his old self.

He pulled off two pieces of close-control skill, to outwit Norwich players. Highbury was stunned for a minute, and then forgot he did it. He’s invisible, i tells ya.

In huge news, I think he’s cut his hair a bit, though it isn’t as short as we’re used to.

Arsenal had an easy game, and Norwich didn’t create many chances, so Gilberto’s overall day wasn’t very busy – but for a return game to the Premiership, he did fantastically well, and he played for all 90 minutes.

Well done Bert.

Depending on how he comes out of this game (fitness wise), Gilberto’s next game could be in a weeks time, against Middlesbrough in the Premiership.