Brazil Gunners
Gilberto Silva’s interview Part 2

What’s like to play in Greece? The Greeks are fanatic about football, aren’t they?

The Greeks are really fanatic, sometimes it’s even over the top. My move here has been important too, Panathinaikos has been a club that has opened doors for me, gave me conditions to keep playing. Of course in the beginning you feel a great difference when you come from England, but I was started to adapt slowly, it has not been so difficult and it’s been nice.I’ve been for 3 years already, it went by quickly, it’s coming to the end.

Talking about the European cities where you have lived, which one you liked the most?

Every place has a good side and a side you like less. London, for the easiness, the opportunities, the quickness in so many aspects and a greater calmness about things than we have here, but the weather doesn’t help much. Here is the opposite, the weather is wonderful, but there’s this other side,some things happen very slowly. I always try to focus on the bright side of things; if we think about it, everything has a negative side. So I try to always focus on the positive side, because that’s how I think things should be.

Do Brazilian players have more difficulty to adapt to the European culture in certain places more than the other foreigners?

When you see Brazilian players that had an opportunity to be abroad going back to Brazil earlier than expected, you realize there’s a serious difficulty. I don’t know the reasons, I think each person lives a different reality in each club. What I think is that you have to pay a price sometimes, put in your head that you’ll have to start things over again, forget that won the league in Brazil, that you won Libertadores, you have to put it aside and get a fresh start.

When I went to England, I thought that way, I had to start again, conquer my space at the club, learn a new language, a new culture, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I believe than when you leave, everyone that leaves the country, especially to play abroad, know they’ll face difficulties. If when the first problem comes - for example, learning the language, which is one of the factors that turns the adaptation more difficult - you feel down and want to go back, you will not see any benefits from the move, it shows it wasn’t worth leaving, you should have stayed in Brazil.

In the first World Cup you played, your place in the starting XI happened because of a tragic accident with Emerson, where he broke his arm. How was your night, knowing you would start with the team?

First I’d like to let something very clear, that for the group the accident on the day before the match was very tragic, we lost our captain. He was very important for the group. When I was picked up by Felipao, he and Murtosa went to my room and told me I’d start, they were very calm with me, made me feel at ease, told me to do what I was already doing at Atlético, that if I did what I did at Atlético, they’d be happy already. I believe that in a certain way I managed to do what they expected from me.

What is it like to be world champion and to be considered one of the main leaders of the squad?

It’s a fantastic feeling, practically impossible to be described, and for me, the best things of it all, was arriving at Brazil and really feel what it meant, what it meant for the entire country, and there you are, representing all that people, let’s put it this way, you carry the responsibility, through football, in your shoulders, and you only know what everything you achieved really means when you arrive at your country.

So it’s something that can’t be described, but every now and then, memories come back to your mind, you think about everything you have lived, days, moments in training, the moment when you arrived at the country, the moment of the final whistle, some moments during the match. Sometimes you feel a chill down your spine, it’s even scary to think about it. It’s been 8 years and I still shiver when I recall those moments.

In 2006, many people said the team lacked desire, how do you deal wish such criticism? Do you really feel it lacked, not for you but for some of your teammates or do you think it was a different match that you just couldn’t win?

When it comes to Brazil, where we have such high expectations about the NT, sometimes the demands aren’t very fair, are they? When Brazil plays, we have to win everything, and because of this, even us players have great demands for ourselves, we are never satisfied with 2nd, 3rd place, something that is very valuable out here. I disagree with many things that were said, I think no one goes to a World Cup with lack of desire,with thoughts of not wanting to win, because everyone makes sacrifices, stays apart from the family for so long.

What really happened in that match wasn’t much different from how we played during the entire World Cup, we didn’t have a good WC, the NT itself didn’t play well, we didn’t get things going how we got in 2002, where we had a tough debut match against Turkey but then the team managed to get things going well, even when Felipao made some changes, everything went fine. In 2006 it was different, the team didn’t manage to play as well as we played in the Confederations Cup in the previous year. We know it’s a responsibility we need to carry, we can’t run away from it, but it wasn’t because we lacked desire to win it,I don’t think anyone enters the pitch, especially in a World Cup, with this type of thought. Unfortunately, I have to recognize we didn’t play well, France was better, they knew how to press us on your side of the pitch and we couldn’t develop our good football during the match.

Gilberto Silva’s interview Part 1

The beginning of your career was very difficult. You even stopped playing for awhile, didn’t you? How was the beginning?

I arrived at América [Club at Minas Gerais state] at the age of 16. I had gone for trials in Atlético before, but I was ruled out. When I was successful with América’s trial, it was the first time I left my town to be at a club.

After some time, some personal problems happened at home, so I decided to drop everything and go back help my father with work. I worked hard and only returned to América when I was 19, 2 years and a half after I had left. In the meantime I worked at a candy factory in Lagoa da Prata, my city, but sometimes I thought about going back, try one last time. When I really decided to return, things worked in the best possible way.

You started your career with América, but you were called up for the National Team for the first time when you were playing for Atlético-MG. For which of the clubs do you feel more affection and which one do you miss the most?

I feel the same affection for both clubs, no more or less for any of them. In one of them, it was the beginning of everything, América was the club that opened doors for me. Atlético was the club that got me recognition at the Brazilian football scenario, there I had the opportunity to be called up for the NT. Each one of them had a very important step in my career.One, for opening doors for me - América. The other, for getting me recognized - Atlético. For me it would be difficult, even unfair, to say I like one more than I like the other.

Do you intend to end your career in Brazil?

I think about it,it’s a possibility that I won’t rule out. I still have 6 months left with my contract here, it goes until June/2011,and let’s see what happens until there, if I receive an interesting offer, I’ll consider it!

Do you prefer a team in Minas Gerais?

If I were to return, I’d prefer to go back to Minas. It’s something I’d really like. But since I’m a professional, if there is another possibility, I’ll study the situations, the possibilities before making a decision, or if I’ll stay here for longer. The next 6 months will be very important for me to make a decision, my contract here at Panathinaikos is in its final months.

Some time ago, Arsene Wenger said you leaving Arsenal was a precipitate move, how was your exit?

Look, I disagree with him about it being precipitate. The reason of why I left he knows very well and a big part of it had his contribution.

I think he meant it was his fault, he shouldn’t have let you leave so early.

After Copa América in 2007, usually I was one of the last players to show up for pre season time. In that year, I arrived one week before the league started, and the team had already taken part of the pre season, played in the Amsterdam Tournament. He kept the team for the beginning of the league, after the 3rd match I was already ready to play, in conditions to go through an entire match or at least 70, 80 minutes. But he preferred to stick with the base, until one day I went up to him and asked if there was something wrong going on. Then he replied that he’d stick with the base he had built and that I had returned after the other players. He knew it wasn’t news, what surprised me the most was the fact that in the previous season I was the team’s captain, practically for every match, since Henry was injured. That was the main reason why I left.

Do you miss your time at Arsenal?

Yes, I do! I can’t say I don’t. I miss the time I stayed there, the club, it was a club where I conquered so many great things, it was a very important club in my career, it helped me a lot. I miss the tranquility, the organization, English people are very good on it when it comes to football. At least, that’s what I’ve learned with Arsenal.

At the moment I decided I was leaving, when I talked to him, I didn’t feel, from his part, a certain security that I’d have a chance to play again, since I already hadn’t played much an entire season,I played a few games only. One of the reasons I left was related to the NT, I still had in mind to keep playing for the NT, I wanted to play one more World Cup. I chose to leave to keep match fit, because I was losing this condition sitting on the bench for Arsenal.