Gilberto Silva reflected on his time with Arsenal, and in particular his first two seasons at the club, along with circumstances surrounding his departure, in an interview with ESPN Brazil.
In his first season he scored the winner in the Community Shield against Liverpool and won the FA Cup, but Arsenal threw away the Premier League title from a seemingly commanding position – with Manchester United going on to win it. However, the following season he was part of the famous ‘Invincibles’ side.
The Brazilian said: ‘We lost the league to Manchester United with eight rounds until the end of the tournament with a 12 point gap. When we drew away against Blackburn it looked like everyone had forgot how to play football. It was a general failure.
‘For the following season things went differently but aside the individual skills we had and when everybody played at the same tempo it was great. What was special during the season was when we went to the matches we were certain we were going to win the games.
The Brazilian midfielder left the club in 2008 for Greek side Panathanaikos. He explained his reason for leaving, saying: ‘The reason that made me leave was a conversation I had. He called me during a training session, I already accepted, well ‘accepted’ that I wasn’t in the starting line-up, that I was just waiting for an opportunity, and he [Arsene Wenger] told me if I had an opportunity to leave he wouldn’t oppose. Then I realised it was time to go.’
The midfielder is now playing for the club where Arsenal signed him from, Atletico Mineiro – who he could play for in the Club World Cup in December in Morocco. His side could potentially meet European Champions Bayern Munich in the final.
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