Gilberto Silva is relishing his role this summer as the glue which will bind Brazil together and help them escape what he describes as “the group of death” to claim a sixth World Cup crown.
The former Arsenal midfielder readily admits his role in the Brazil side is far more prosaic than that of artists like Kaka and Robinho, but he is just as vital to the South Americans’ chances of success in South Africa.
He said: “Maybe some people don’t really appreciate the kind of player I am as a Brazilian because I’m not as skilful as many, but for many people when they realise the kind of job I do they change their idea of me.
“Now I’m using my experience a lot to position myself well on the field and talking a lot to help the others.”
Along with Lucio, Gilberto is in a very select group in the current Brazil squad with genuine World Cup-winning pedigree as part of the triumphant 2002 side in Japan and South Korea.
Kaka was in that squad too, but had just turned 20 and played less than 20 minutes in the whole tournament.
That tournament know-how will aid Brazil, who cannot afford to ease themselves into the competition in a group which also includes Portugal and the Ivory Coast, as well as outsiders North Korea.
Gilberto said: “Some say it is the toughest (group) of them all, for me it is the group of death, but we cannot choose our opponents in the competition.
“The most important thing is all the team are very well prepared, especially physically.”
As in 2006, Brazil are many people’s favourites heading to South Africa and Gilberto admitted that tag weighed heavily on the team in Germany four years ago.
“When you go to the World Cup as the favourites, it is very hard because the pressure is massive,” he said.
“Normally after the first game, the pressure eases off but this didn’t happen with us in 2006.
“When Dunga took over there were no big changes, just what is normal with a new coach, rebuilding the squad and making preparations for the next competition. We did of course learn from our mistakes and don’t want it to happen again.”