Gilberto refuses to quit over captaincy snub

August 25, 2007

Gilberto Silva has no intention of quitting Arsenal, despite being overlooked for the club captaincy.

The 30-year-old midfielder, who led the side for much of last season in the absence of Thierry Henry, has yet to play this term after being given an extended break following Brazil's Copa America triumph.

Henry's departure to Barcelona this summer was expected to result in Gilberto replacing him as permanent skipper but manager Arsene Wenger instead opted to hand the armband to William Gallas.

Gilberto was upset at not being informed of Wenger's decision before it was made public but insists he plans to see out the remaining two years of his Gunners contract at the very minimum.

'Me and Arsene spoke face to face about it and sorted it out. It's important we have everything clear,' Gilberto said.

'I have to respect that. I cannot change his feelings.

'I have to carry on and do my job like I always have and help the team.

'This is an important season for all of us at the club.'

Asked about his contract, Gilberto added: 'The important thing for me is to finish well the rest of my contract at Arsenal.'

He also declared himself ready to make his first appearance of the season in Wednesday night's Champions League third qualifying round second leg against Sparta Prague, saying: 'I'm all right.'

Gilberto is one of the survivors of Arsenal's 2006 European Cup final runners up and would love nothing more than to cap a trophy-laden career with both club and country.

'It's everybody's ambition. It's the only trophy I don't have in my career,' he said.

But he warned against complacency against Sparta, who must overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit if they are to upset the odds at Emirates Stadium.

'We have done half the job. We need to finish this first step, to qualify for the Champions League,' Gilberto said.

'The important thing is good preparation, even if it's short.'

Gilberto could start alongside another player overlooked for the club captaincy, Cesc Fabregas, and backed the young Spaniard to develop into one of the best midfielders in the game.

'He can be one of the best players in his position. It's up to him,' the Brazilian said.

'Year by year, he's stepped up his quality.'

He backed Fabregas and the rest of Wenger's young Gunners to move the club forward following Henry's Barca switch and promised to lead by example.

'Of course it's (Henry's departure) a big miss for us,' Gilberto said.

'He was the leader of the team. He was the big player. But in football, you have to accept some things.

'We're still at the club. We are responsible for the club.'