Since Gilberto Silva left Arsenal some five years ago, many have said that the club have never truly replaced him. The scorer of Arsenal’s first competitive goal at the Emirates, Gilberto was allowed to leave to join Panathinaikos in 2008.
Now plying his trade back in Brazil, Gilberto spoke to this month’s Arsenal magazine about some of his favourite Arsenal memories.
My time at Arsenal was excellent for me, professionally and on a personal level. I learned so much there!
Living in London, learning about British culture and mastering a different style of football was all a great experience. I still really miss London and England
I am very proud to say that I am part of that [the Invincibles]. That was an amazing title, something you can only achieve with a lot of hard work and, of course, with a great team on the pitch and a great coaching staff and management team.
We had all those ingredients that season.
Being part of that means I can call my time at Arsenal a real success and that makes me very happy.
I’ll never forget the ‘Invincibles’ team.
Next season Gilberto will find himself playing alongside Ronaldinho at Atletico Minerio and he said
Even more than playing with Ronaldinho, I’m excited about coming back home.
I’m returning to play for the club where I first made my breakthrough with the Selecao and the club that provided me with the chance to move to Arsenal.
So having this opportunity to play for Atletico again is exciting in itself; the fact that Ronaldinho will be there with me is an extra bonus.
Everyone knows what he represents, and it’s a relief that I won’t be having to defend against him again!
Asked about Denilson, who is currently on loan from Arsenal with Brazilian side Sao Paulo, Gilberto replied
He’s doing well. Sao Paulo are a big club and going there has given his career a new lease of life.
He wasn’t playing as much as he wanted at Arsenal so I think it was the right move for him.
He’s the kind of player who has the potential to play an influential role, and he clearly wanted the opportunity to show that.
I think his spell with Sao Paulo will help him if he does return to England when his loan ends. He has just had a successful season, as he and his teammates won the Copa Sudamericana, which is like the Europa League for South American clubs, after Sao Paulo had gone four years without a trophy.
I hope he can return to Arsenal and keep up the good work we have done to help other Brazilians come to the club in the future.