Former Arsenal star Gilberto says age no barrier

Rio de Janeiro, May 5 (IANS) World Cup-winning Brazilian midfielder Gilberto Silva insisted that age was no barrier as he aims to help Atletico Mineiro to its first Copa Libertadores title.

The 36-year-old, who joined the Belo Horizonte club from Gremio in January, played a full 90 minutes in Atletico’s 2-1 away victory in their Round of 16 first leg against Sao Paulo Thursday. Having reinvented himself as a central defender, Gilberto said he felt as good now as at any time during his career, reports Xinhua.

“Sometimes people worry too much about whether I am going to be able to see out a match. Maybe those people haven’t followed my career and don’t know my professionalism and dedication,” Gilberto said Saturday.

Atletico, whose squad includes two-time FIFA World Player of the Year winner Ronaldinho, are among the favourites to win this year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club competition. The return leg against Sao Paulo will be played May 8 at Atletico’s Independencia Stadium.

Gilberto played every match in Brazil’s triumphant 2002 World Cup campaign and captained the Selecao to victory at the 2006 Copa America. He was also a member of Arsenal’s 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’, who won the English Premier League without losing a match.

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