The more entertaining players in a team are usually the ones most appreciated but as much as anyone of Henry, Ljunberg or Bergkamp could be hailed as the rubies in the Invincbles’ team, no one was quite as important as Gilberto Silva, and Arsenal’s new boy, Gabriel, has chosen him as the one whose Arsenal career he would love to emulate.
The veteran Arsenal midfielder of 244 appearances was one of the key players in the Invincibles reign a decade ago, marshalling an impassable midfield that also featured another Brazilian, Edu. At 38, he is in the twilight of his footballing career now but his massive achievements as a Gunner remain profound on the mind of the new Brazilian Gunner.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, the £13.5m January signing said.
“I remember Gilberto Silva because he was always with the Brazilian national team”
“He was a mirror for every Brazilian player and every child, who looked up to Gilberto Silva as a reference. He was an influence for many players, not only Brazilians but players around the world”
“I could see that he was a major element here, he really helped the team, he really is a player I want to emulate because of his type of work and his will to help his teammates, his will to win as a true brazilian”
“To me he’s a mirror, so I will always take many things I saw in him and take it to the pitch, and off the pitch as well, because I think he was an excellent professional who did many good things”
“I want to be like him, to be able to do the most I can to help everyone”
In those 244 games for Arsenal, Gilberto scored 24 goals, an average of a goal in 10 games which for a defensive midfielder, must be a great achievement. he had the honour of scoring the first competitive Arsenal goal at the Emirates on the opening day of the 2006/2007 season, the equalizer in the 1 -1 draw against Aston Villa.
As injuries made Captain Thierry Henry unavailable for most of that campaign, Gilberto took over the responsibility of leading the team and his reliability, especially with spot kicks, saw him rated as one of the best Arsenal players of that season.
It is not likely that Gabriel would weigh in with as much goals as his record at Villareal shows, just one goal in those 50 games, but what he wants to give is the same level of absolute commitment to the team that would see other young Brazilians with the dreams of professional football looking up to the good he has done and wanting to emulate him.
After the disappointments we have had with the fair few Brazilians Arsenal have had since Gilberto left –Denilson, Andre Santos – fans will want to see Gabriel not just reach Gilberto heights, but even eclipse them.
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