Monday 28 November 2022, 14:00

Gilberto Silva: Winning the World Cup gave me more responsibility in my career

“If you divide football into skills and all the things you can learn, it’s a great school of life.” We live in uncertain times and in a divided world, rocked by conflicts and global crises. Harnessing the power of football, the FIFA World Cup™ attracts people from all over the globe and brings them together to celebrate as one. Football Unites the World is a global movement that aims to inspire people and bring about unity and development through football. FIFA’s Legends have shared their stories of how football has united their countries in difficult times. We asked Gilberto Silva to take a trip down memory lane.

Gilberto Silva knows just how heavy the FIFA World Cup Trophy is. He hoisted it aloft at Korea/Japan 2002, the first of three consecutive World Cups in which he appeared. The classy former defensive midfielder also won two FIFA Confederations Cups and a Copa America with his country, the latter as captain. “It’s been 20 years now,” said Gilberto, who started all seven of Brazil’s matches at the 2002 edition. “Time flies and there are lots of memories that come into my head every day. It’s part of my life to go back through them, open up compartments in my mind and unpack things, images, messages and moments in which my life changed completely. It totally altered the way I see football.

“Winning the World Cup gave me a lot more responsibility in terms of what I do in football, what I contribute, over the things I can say,” added the Brazilian, who won 93 caps and scored three goals in his ten-year Canarinha career. “That’s because you’ve done something special and you become some kind of ambassador of the game. You inspire people, younger generations, and set them the best possible example so they can go and be the best they can be in whatever they decide to do. We have to take on that responsibility. It’s our duty.” Gilberto, who found a way out of poverty thanks to football, is well qualified when it comes to talking about what the sport has to offer. “Football is a fantastic platform for bringing people together, for meeting and talking to others, for developing your mental strength because you have to go through a very tough process to become a footballer. That’s why I’ve always said that if you divide football into skills and all the things you can learn, it’s a great school of life. I was fortunate enough to go to that school for 20 years.”