Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday:
Invisible Wall Edition

Gotta rep soon to be new Arsenal captain and current Brasil captain Gilberto Silva, who has been an excellent captain to the young Brasil team this summer and has guided them to the finals of Copa America. Sadly he picked up a very ticky-tack yellow card late in last night's semifinal match with Uruguay, and as a result he will have to sit out the final on Sunday. Pretty weak sauce from the ref, especially considering how rough and tumble parts of that match were. If Brasil do in fact win the Copa it would be a shame that someone else will lift the cup after he has done such a good job captaining the team all spring and summer.

A defensive midfielder, he is nicknamed "the invisible wall" in Brasil {"volante" en Portugese} because he protects the back four and is not at all flashy, and you often do not notice his great play. In that regard he is the kind of player that is often taken for granted and only truly appreciated when he is not playing, as the resulting instability in the back and loss of shape contrasts to when he is on the field. A World Cup winner with Brasil in 2002, he was the only player on the team to play every minute of every match. With Arsenal he has won 1 EPL title, 2 FA Cups, and was a member of the 2004 "Invincibles" team that went the entire season undefeated. They only thing lacking from his club resume is a Champions League winners medal, although he does have a runners up medal from 2006.

Muito bom, Gilberto, muito bom

Finally, he is universally hailed as a class act, gentleman, and one of the humble and genuinely good guys in football. He also took his fellow countrymen under his wing and mentors them at Arsenal: first Baptista and then teenage sensation Denilson. Oh, and he also plays a pretty good cavaquinho, which is a Brasilian mandolin, although he says that musically he is not yet on the level of team samba organizer Ronaldinho.

Many, many people don't fully appreciate how good he is because his lack of flash, but I for one love the dude and am happy to give him thanks and praise.


beast in 'bama said...

I noticed Gilberto a lot in the EPL last season, helping out Wenger's depleted forces up front on many key occasions. Didn't he also take over the PK duties after Henry went down?

From all indications, he is a class act and a guy that you can depend on to do his job well - maybe the Jack Ham of futbol.

Kanu said...

Yeah, he actually scored a bunch of goals last year, but that is not his role in the team- when they come it is more of a bonus. He did take many PKs last year, I would guess he got 1/2 of his 10 or so goals that way.

He was the vice captain under Henry, so anytime TH14 didn't play, which last year was alot, GS19 served as captain.

I'll be surprised if he isn't given the captain's armband for Arsenal in the next week or two, although Kolo Toure would also be a great captain.