2. Gilberto Silva
Samba boy Gilberto Silva was a hard-working, unselfish team player. He was so underrated among the football pundits, and the fans apart from those of Arsenal, that they remember Juan Veron or Diego Forlan over him, for instance, for the couple of goals that they may have scored during their failure of a spell at Manchester United. He was a quite footballer on the pitch andvery effective. He was a leader in the dressing room, a Brazil world cup winner and a regular starter in that legendary Brazilian team for years. With Patrick Vieira, he was the first on the team sheet. The game was simple, but it worked. Vieira had the licence to bomb up and down the pitch, while Gilberto kept things nice and easy in midfield and always stayed deep to stop counters. They had a great understanding together. They were an engine. They were a match made in heaven.
Gilberto did not always get the credit he deserved because he didn’t score too many goals. But, that’s not the definition of a legend. Thank god for there are players like Gilberto Silva who never really aimed for personal glory. They work behind the scenes, much like a cinematographer or a sound engineer or other technicians in cinemas, who don’t really care if their name is out there on everyone’s lips, as long as the team wins, or in this case, the film is a blockbuster. Gilberto was a technician. He had a rare ability to read the game. He could tell where the opponent would pass next, not always, but in key moments, and intercept the ball and win back possession for his team. He then kept things simple and gave the ball to players who could move it quickly up front until the same cycle was repeated again. He may have not commanded the same presence that Patrick Vieira did and many may argue that Arsenal had many more creative midfielders in the Premier League era, but nonetheless, Gilberto Silva was a very important part of Arsene Wenger’s early Arsenal teams.