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Tea With Gilberto

Brazilian midfielder and all round nice guy Gilberto Silva will talk about his future with gaffer Arsene Wenger at the end of the season. 31 year old Gilberto was probably Arsenal's player of the season last year, but has found himself ousted from the side by Mathieu Flamini.

But rather than bitch and moan to his agent and the papers, or swerve his expensive cars off the road in fury, the veteran nicknamed 'The Invisible Wall', has kept his counsel. When questioned about his future, Gilberto would only say that he will 'speak very nicely' with Wenger at the season's end.

' I will sit down with the boss at the end of the season,' he said. 'But for the next few weeks, I will keep focused on doing my job and try to help the team as much as I can. Whether it's on the pitch as I was on Saturday, or whether it's on the training pitch working with the players.

'I will always do my best as a professional but then, at the end of the season, I will see when I speak to Arsčne. We always speak very nicely, the conversations we have are very nice. He's open and we'll talk.'

It's quite a domesticated image is it not? One imagines Gilberto knocking on the manager's door with a fresh supply of custard creams while Wenger potters about the office in his slippers to put the kettle on. They might even gossip about the time Jens Lehmann roundhouse kicked the crossbar for 'looking at me wiz ze funny eyez.' Or the time Gallas cried when he lost a game of head tennis.

The tea slurping, custard cream loving Brazil skipper continued, ' 'I still have one more year. To be honest, I really want to stay and I've always expressed that. Of course I'm upset that I've not played much this season because last year I played the whole season and this year has been really frustrating.

'But you need to be professional, respect the manager's point of view and help the other players to the maximum that I possibly can.'

I know it has been said many times before, but so many footballers could learn from his example. With Flamini looking likely to leave, Gilberto might consider his chances of regaining his place in the team. Usually, I am not one for sentiment, but given the crummy way in which Gilberto found out he had been overlooked as captain last summer, if he was to leave, I'd love to see him made captain for the last home game.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 21 2008

Time: 1:27PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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If Flamini leaves then lets keep Gilberto and make him captin for next season and fabregas vice captin, that would leve Fab ready to take over in 2009 - 2010 season.
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21/04/2008 13:56:00

Echo the sentiment. Every word Gilberto utters simply re-inforces and increases the respect I have for him as a professional footballer. He has re-discovered some of the form lately which is an indication that all he needs is a continuous run of games. I dont think his game is suited to the tempo of this arsenal side. However I would like him to stay next season to perform the role of a back up in the squad, with his experience. If he chooses not to, then he will leave with a lot of gratitude from the fans.
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21/04/2008 14:14:00

What a guy...reminds me of Ace Rimmer!
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21/04/2008 16:20:00

Unbelievable! especially seeing that this guy has captained the BRAZIL team! I hope he stays man, he can only be good for the team. God Bless!!
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21/04/2008 16:49:00

I'm Brazilian and I often despair at the likes of Dinho, Robinho, Rivaldo, Dida--players who I love for their skills and talent (yes, Dida is actually a pretty good keeper, in the past at least) but their attitudes and pitch antics just leave me disappointed and embarrassed. I'm not the only Brazilian who was furious at Ronaldo for his arrogance and lack of preparation for the 2006 wc. It's guys like Elano, Eduardo and Gilberto who don't get enuf credit and respect from back home. I am incredibly fond of Gilberto, esp. after having seen many of his interviews in the Brazilian press. It is even more heartwarming to see him speak in his native language. It's been painful to see his decline this season but his recent performances had me almost crying, so happy was I to see some of his old fire back. I loved how furiously he dispossessed Rooney so cleanly at the OT game. If he stays, however, he may just have to learn to accept his diminished role permanently. If he's ready to do that, then I think it's worthwhile to keep him. Can't see him having tea, tho! :-) Arsene will have to serve him some good espresso, Brazilians generally view tea as medicinal only!
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21/04/2008 17:01:00

Top man, Gilberto! I still hope Arsene would keep him as a squad player and let him retire at Arsenal. If he still wants to play regularly and chooses to go, fair play and the best of luck to him. What LD said about making him captain for the last home game is my sentiment too. But with his future to be decided in summer rather than now, I can see him play the regular role he plays until the end of the season. If he leaves, I think he deserves a good testimonial too.
Lou the Gunneress
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21/04/2008 18:02:00

We have spent much of this season whinging about the lack of experienced back up. Whether Flamini goes or not Gilberto at least offers that option. I wouldn't be at all surprised, or disappointed, to see him stay.
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21/04/2008 18:19:00

I would love him to stay, but Amos, as you know, he may not be ready to be back up to flamini if he stays. Also there is that small matter of rolling contract for over 30 years. So far Only Bergkamp and Jens have gone along so far!
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21/04/2008 18:33:00

He has a year left on his contract. He can complete his dual nationality application this summer which he is keen to acquire. He has said he wants to stay. He can serve another year and leave on a free next summer. I have no doubt that given the choice he will stay. The question is whether he will be given the choice. I suspect he might.
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21/04/2008 19:17:00

I think it will be down to Gilberto too, whether he accepts the role of back up at this age (30??) or not. I hope he stays. If he does stay, Wenger should rotate more intelligently next season giving Gilberto some starts, coz he looked so unbelievably rusty back in Dec, looks much better now with a decent run of games. Its easy to see he is popular with the squad as well, they were chuffed when he scored the goal.
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21/04/2008 22:00:00

Did you read the comments he made about Theo? Gallas can learn a lot from Gilberto. When I read the interview, I was thinking "Thise are the words of a REAL captain." Brilliant guy.
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22/04/2008 03:48:00

While having tea with Gilberto must be an enjoyable experience, PHW's dinner at Liverpool ended on a sour note when those Liverpool executives were apparently too busy fighting among themselves to entertain him. The 72-year-old Arsenal chairman cum fan travelled up to meet with the Liverpool men only to get snubbed, and to see the CL match only to get knocked out in such an agonising manner. You just have to feel for the old man:
Lou the Gunneress
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22/04/2008 04:30:00

Keplaz, there is virtually no difference between what Gilberto said about Theo and what Gallas did. Gallas said all the same things, only adding "he has to keep working hard, like on his dribbling and on his left foot." Hardly a harsh criticism
Little Dutch
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22/04/2008 10:44:00

If we somehow manage to hang on to Flamini, I actually feel he has all the attributes to make a good captain
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22/04/2008 11:30:00

A wise man picks his words carefully. So its really not what you say but how you say it, the difference between Gallas and Gilberto. Do really never hear Gallas criticiaing himself in the way that he does others. He could learn a lot from Gilberto, what a example of a good human being! makes me proud to know that not all players are just running down the biggest paycheck!
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22/04/2008 15:16:00

Sorry "you really never hear Gallas criticizing'
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22/04/2008 15:18:00

Paulsito, if you did read that original Gallas interview (not the selective quoting and translation of it in numberous English press), he wasn't "criticising" Theo at all. I understand why you guys would feel that way bcos almost all press in the entire England were adding "criticism" in their own reports. But the original French interview wasn't about criticism at all. Gallas actually sang praises of Theo's potential and pace and all that. The only thing close to "negative" (shall we say "room for improvement" actually) was, like LD mentioned: "I think Theo Walcott can be the new Wayne Rooney, but he has to change his style of play. He must work hard in training because everyone knows where he will run with the ball. He goes on his right foot so he must work to come on the inside on his left foot. He must be less predictable and more focussed. He can also take too long on the ball." And he wasn't even rude when he said that, in the original French (should be L'euipe, I don't remember where) report he was portrayed as a sincere senior guy giving his honest opinion of Arsenal and his teammate. Let's stop using the word "criticism", to be fair to the guy. You can criticise him otherwise, but not based on this particular incident.
Lou the Gunneress
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22/04/2008 17:08:00

I would say thats fair, i guess he IS suffering for past comments.
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22/04/2008 19:43:00


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