Gilberto’s fortunes have fluctuated wildly since Dunga took charge of Brazil in 2006, with the USA 1994-winning captain trying a host of contenders in the left-back role before finally opting for the Cruzeiro veteran plus Lyon's Michel Bastos for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Having been second-choice behind Roberto Carlos at Germany 2006, Gilberto was one of the few players from the previous regime to remain on the Seleção scene after Dunga took over. The well-travelled left-footer, who has turned out for a host of big clubs at home and abroad including Flamengo, Vasco da Gama, Gremio, Inter Milan, Hertha Berlin and Tottenham Hotspur, played in four South Africa 2010 qualifiers in 2007 and another two in 2008.
However, his failure to gain a regular first-team berth at Spurs led to him slipping out of national team contention, and he was forced to watch from afar as Brazil won the FIFA Confederations Cup last year with Andre Santos and Kleber as the allotted left-backs. Gilberto's 2009 return to his homeland with Cruzeiro gave him a new lease of life, though, and he has been showing his versatility and eye for goal both out wide and in a creative midfield role.
His performances for A Raposa did not go unnoticed by Dunga, who has thus given him the chance to travel to a second consecutive FIFA World Cup. Although not among the squad’s biggest names, if selected Gilberto offers Brazil both defensive reliability and a fine attacking outlet on the left flank.