Monday, July 15, 2024

Exclusive: Gilberto on the role of technical director, Edu’s work & Arsenal’s title credentials

Earlier this week, Arseblog News had the pleasure of chatting with legendary midfielder Gilberto Silva following his appointment as an ambassador for the suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably.

We started by asking him why he decided to join forces with Declan Rice (more on that here), before chatting about the role of Technical Director, a position he held briefly at Greek side Panathinaikos, and how Edu is making a success of a similar gig at Arsenal.

We also couldn’t resist getting his opinion on the Gunners’ title ambitions and the upcoming January transfer window.

Here’s what he had to say…

On Arsene Wenger’s man management…

I had a lot of good experiences with Arsene. In his time, he always talks with people and talks to the players, asking how you are, how’s the family. He wanted to know a little bit of how you are outside football. Because this is important. I think this is very important nowadays. It always has been, of course, but with the amount of information generated nowadays about players, sometimes they shouldn’t pay as much attention to it as much as they do, it’s more necessary to find out what kind of person they have as a player. Because it’s easy to track with the scouting programme what kind of players you need, but what kind of people you want in your team, in your squad, what kind of people you have in your squad. Do you know them? Do you know if they’ve got a family? If they’ve got a child, if they’re married or not, if they’ve got parents, something like that? Sometimes these questions are not asked by the staff members to the players. You just need to have a normal conversation. For the players, it’s important to understand this isn’t like a questionnaire where they are being questioned by the manager, it’s just to find out about their life, just to get to know you. If I know you, it’s easier for me to identify if you have any sort of problem and to see how I can help in case there is something.

On the role of Technical Director and the skills required to do it well…

We have to understand people and to like people and to like to work with people. Because this is a tough job, tough work, dealing with the frustration of players, frustration of agents, frustration of fans, the frustration of the club’s owners and when the result does not go well, you have to deal with people, every time. You have to love the work you do, because it’s tough, and it’s time-consuming, and it’s almost 24 hours a day, basically, and you have to enjoy it. Sometimes it’s not fun because you are late in the evening, your phone rings, you have to make the call, attend to it, sometimes it’s the president of the club, the manager, sometimes the player, sometimes the agent or somebody else. But it’s part of your work but one of the important aspects is how to work with people, how to manage them, how to help them out. It’s not to be like their boss, it’s not like this, but how to help them. Because if you help people, people help you. If you don’t help people, they are not there on your side when you need their support.

On why Edu is flourishing in his current role at Arsenal…

He’s a people person. This is very important. This is great. I’m so happy to see how he has done things. Nowadays, maybe it sounds nice for all of us to say that, but it was not funny at the beginning. Fans, a few times, turned against him, turned against Mikel, the decision they made when they appointed Mikel, and when the result didn’t come at the beginning. But it takes time, it takes the belief of the owners to give them the support, the directors to support him, support the manager, their ideas, and give them the resource and the tools to deal with the problems they face and to make the change step by step because it’s a long process. You cannot come and change things immediately when it’s not right. But with patience and hard work, they have turned the situation. Of course, you have to be there, present, full time, and be on the side of people and guide them when they face some challenges.

On Arsenal’s title credentials…

They are doing very well. This is a must-say and it’s so important because last year Arsenal were so close to winning and then end up in a tough way, very frustrated, as I imagine were the players. When you are playing and we were so close but then things change, It’s tough. I know this feeling but the only way to change it, you have to react better, you have to learn from the past mistakes and turn it into little goals, small victories and then big victories. And Arsenal, until now, they are having small victories and it’s getting bigger and bigger. And I hope until the end of the season they get the reward for all the hard work they are doing in the process of the last few years. Not many people trusted they would be in the position they are now. People did not pay much attention to them, did not give the club the respect it deserves. Now they realise, oh, Arsenal is back and we have to be careful about them. They are a real threat now. But I hope they can transform this good moment into a reward and real titles. I hope that at the end of the season we celebrate the 20 years of the Invincibles and we can celebrate all together with 20 years of the Invincible and the title of Arsenal back again.

On whether he has any exclusive transfer news for us…

Well, no. I wish I did have something but I don’t! But I see it’s possible [to buy someone]. Obviously, Edu and Mikel are always aware, especially to find the balance in the squad. You have to manage the squad, it’s so important to manage them throughout the season. Because sometimes it’s not about rotating the players, you have to deal with injuries. At the moment they have a couple of injuries which makes it so hard to manage this situation. But I hope they are back soon and to have a good balance until the end of the season. Because now, the Christmas period is very tough. The team needs everyone available and I hope Mikel has everybody available for now until the end of the season.

Former professional footballer Gilberto Silva is the newest ambassador for suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). CALM stands united against suicide and as part of his signing, Silva will help raise awareness of rising suicide rates in the UK, which sees 125 lives lost to suicide each week. 1 in 5 people in the UK will experience suicidal thoughts and CALM is there every day to help anyone who’s struggling see that things can change.

To find out more about CALM, services or for support or advice, visit

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Gilberto you absolute legend. What a player he was. Even Dec could learn a thing or two off him!


So love this guy, invincible & World cup winner, who won a lot more cups for club and country, a total professional and humble human being, having played at defence midfielder he rarely picked up yellow cards and his only red in his whole career was a challenge on the show pony Robbie Savage (which we won the game) makes you love him even more.

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