Gilberto Silva: Dribbling not my style

RIO DE JANEIRO - Gilberto Silva may not have the eye-catching flamboyance of some of his team mates but still believes his role in Brazil's midfield is crucial for the five-times world champions, even if it goes unnoticed.

The former Arsenal player is set to play at his third World Cup, yet after 91 appearances is still trying to convince Brazil's demanding critics that he is worthy of the famous gold shirt.

"I'm not the type of player who dribbles, scores goals and does anything eye-catching," the defensive midfielder told Reuters in an interview.

"My job goes unnoticed by a lot of people, but it doesn't worry me because I know that my work is in the team's interest."

"It's a job that somebody has to do, given the characteristics of the Brazilian team."

At times, Gilberto - who has managed three goals for his country - almost plays as a third central defender as the two full backs push up to join the attack.

Gilberto was ever-present at the 2002 World Cup, having won his place in the team at the last minute when first-choice Emerson was forced out through injury.

Four years later, he was a substitute but has since forced his way back into the side under coach Dunga.

He attributes his Brazil revival partly to his move from Arsenal, where he had fallen out of favour, to Panathinaikos two years ago.

"The move to Greece was a gamble on my part in relation to the national team," he said.

"My last season at Arsenal was not the way I wanted. I played very little and this certainly damaged my performances for Brazil because I didn't have match rhythm."

"Now, I can say that I'm back to my best," added Gilberto, who helped his club to a Greek league and cup double this season.

Gilberto, who alongside Lucio is one of only two survivors from the 2002 World Cup team still playing regularly for Brazil, said the squad would not repeat the mistakes of the last World Cup, when an alleged over-confidence among both the team and media appeared to undermine their challenge.

"We've learned the lessons from 2006. It's true that there was a festive atmosphere around the national team and we lost concentration at an important moment," he said.

"There may have been over-confidence and we know we let people down, including ourselves.

"The squad we have now, and especially the players who were present in 2006 such as myself, Lucio and Kaka, want to bounce back after what we went through."

Dunga, appointed as coach after 2006 to restore pride and commitment, cleared out a number of older players. They included Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, who were dropped immediately, and Ronaldinho, who has not been picked since April last year.

"In this period with Dunga, we had to start from scratch," said Gilberto. "We started over from nothing, picking up the pieces, and little by little, with great difficulty, the squad was put together.

"We gradually began winning back the confidence of the Brazilian public and we now want to complete the circle by winning the World Cup."

Follow on Twitter
Join on