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Gilberto Aparecido da Silva (born October 7, 1976 in Lagoa da Prata, Brazil) is a Brazilian national football player who plays for Arsenal as a midfielder.

Before he joined Arsenal on August 7, 2002 for £4.5million, he played for América-MG and Atlético Mineiro. He had just won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, playing in every match of the tournament, including the final.

He made his Arsenal debut as a substitute in the second half of the FA Community Shield against Liverpool, scoring the winning goal but also receiving a yellow card for a misdemeanour during the match.

Gilberto immediately became a regular in the Arsenal side, being a near ever-present in 2002-03, and winning an FA Cup winners' medal. On September 25, 2002, he managed to set a record for the fastest goal in the UEFA Champions League, scoring after 19.4 seconds against PSV Eindhoven.

2003-04 was an even better season for Gilberto, as Arsenal won the FA Premier League title undefeated; he played in 32 of Arsenal's 38-match unbeaten run. However, he injured his back at start of the 2004-05 season and was out for several months; he made a return late in the season and helped Arsenal reach runners-up place in the Premiership and win the FA Cup against Manchester United, 5-4 on penalties.

Silva is often called "the invisible wall" in Brazil. This is because his play often goes unnoticed, as he positions himself very deep in the midfield, breaking up opposition attacks before they gather momentum. In this role, he is the first line of defence for both club and country. As Arsenal and Brazil are both notoriously attack minded, he offers cover for attacking wing-backs and other midfielders, such as Robert Pirès, who have a poor record of dropping back to help the defence.

 

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