SINCE returning to Brazil last May, Gilberto Silva is enjoying a new role at Grêmio, reverting to the position he first began his professional career in – as a central defender.
Now a veteran of thirty-five years, the former World Cup winner has enjoyed a hugely successful career playing in a defensive midfield role but is his happy to return to his former position as Grêmio chase qualification for next year’s Copa Libertadores.
“Initially, the greatest difficulty was because it has been some time since I played in the back four,” said the former Arsenal and Panathinaikos man.
“The movements of the back are very different as you only run backwards and sideways. It has helped me to be alongside quality players. I have worked hard with Edcarlos and Rafael Marques, who play the position and help me a lot. “
A culmination of the current form of current central midfield pairing, Fernando and Fabio Rochemback, along with injuries and suspensions forced Grêmio coach Celso Roth to field Gilberto Silva in his lesser-familiar position. But despite the return to availability of central defenders Saimon, Edcarlos and Vilson, Gilberto was again used in central defence throughout Wednesday’s training session, as the Porto Alegre side prepare for their weekend’s match at Gilberto’s first club, América-MG – with Libertadores qualification at the forefront of Grêmio’s ambitions.
“We know it (Libertadores qualification) is still mathematically possible, but we have to win our games. It’s no good if we think we can still lose points. We’ve lost two games at home, where we should have won at the very beginning of the season and these results have worked us. We have to work game by game without thinking too far ahead,” he added.
Ninth placed Grêmio have eight games remaining in the Brasileirão to secure a top five berth which could be decided in the final round of the championship, where they face city rivals Internacional, in the Gre-Nal clássico.
This article first appeared on http://ojogobonito.net