Arsenal fans may well remember Gilberto Silva with a smile. The Brazilian midfielder was an understated yet brilliant performer for the Gunners and a key component of the ‘Invincibles’ side of 2004.
As Cesc Fabregas emerged from Patrick Vieira’s shadow it was Gilberto that played foil to the magical Spaniard. Off the football pitch the Brazilian is said to be a level-headed and genuine person, and is a patron of the charity The Street League.
"I miss the good atmosphere within the team. But to be honest, I miss everything about Arsenal!” Gilberto told Arsenal’s official website in a recent interview. “The time I had at Arsenal was amazing and I miss everything. But I have great memories about Arsenal, memories I will never forget."
The Brazilian highlighted the learning ethos at the club as one of its strengths and took time to praise the people behind the scenes.
"For me, Arsenal was a big school, as I learned so many things at the club. I am very thankful for everything, the club, all the people at Arsenal, they were so nice to me and very helpful during my time there.
"Everyone was always smiling, always there to help me,” he continued. “It’s impossible to point to just one thing I miss because I had a great time at Arsenal. I fitted in well with the culture at Arsenal.
"When I came to Arsenal I had on my mind that I had to start from zero again with many things in my life and my football career, and I started at this point from zero. When I started from there I think it was a chance to learn. I always had on my mind that I had so many things to learn."
This is what Arsenal is about, so when I see someone branding the Gunners as a "Kindergarten club "after one bad result in Europe it makes me wonder what "fans" expect from a club.
This "win at any cost" mentality is saddening. A club should represent bigger ideals, wanting to develop all players and be more than just a team that clocks up wins at the weekend.
Gilberto as a person and a player represents the modern Mr. Arsenal, that’s something true fans will understand.