Gilberto Silva: The Confederations Cup is a special tournament
Gilberto Silva knows first-hand what it means to win the FIFA Confederations Cup, having triumphed with Brazil at both tournaments he participated at: Germany 2005 and South Africa 2009. It was not surprising, therefore, that seeing the official trophy up close once again caused countless memories to come flooding back.
The reunion took place during a media event on Thursday 16 March in Sydney, at which the Brazilian was present alongside former Australia international Harry Kewell. Gilberto Silva then took the trophy onwards to New Zealand, joining Kiwi icon Ivan Vicelich at for the second stop of a tour of the eight nations represented at this year's Confederations Cup. Similar events are to be held in each of the other six countries set to feature at Russia 2017.
The former Arsenal midfielder, who also won the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ and continues to shine at the age of 40 for Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro, shared his memories of the competition and gave his thoughts on the upcoming edition in an interview with FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: Gilberto Silva, you won both Confederations Cup competitions you played at. What was the secret to that success? Gilberto Silva: Hard work and dedication. You have to be aware that the Confederations Cup is a special tournament where you don't have much time to rest. You have to be well prepared right from the start and focused on winning the title. You play against big teams with fantastic players, so if you're not prepared you could be in for an unpleasant surprise.
How does it feel to lift the trophy? It's fantastic - the reward for all your hard work. It's wonderful and it's hard to describe what goes through your mind at that point. Some people cry, others smile and others dance. Everyone experiences it in a different way, so you just have to enjoy it as much as you can. Only the people who were involved know what it took to get there; all the meet-ups, training and over a year of preparations.
If you're not prepared from the very start at the Confederations Cup then you're going to be in for a surprise.
If you had to choose just one moment from both tournaments, what would it be and why? The 2009 final against USA. We knew they were a tough opponent who could defend well, but like any team who face Brazil, they didn't absolutely have to win. They scored twice in the first half, but we fought back after the break and won it late on. It was exciting because they caught us by surprise: we didn't expect it to be easy but neither did we expect to go two goals down.
As Brazil will not be at this year's tournament, who are your favourites to win the title? Germany and Portugal because they respectively won the World Cup and European Championship - the two biggest competitions. That makes them favourites and puts more pressure on them, but it doesn't mean they're going to win it. If you're not prepared from the very start at the Confederations Cup then you're going to be in for a surprise. It's an important tournament for the players, just a year ahead of the World Cup. Everyone wants to make a good impression and stay in the team for the next year. That makes everyone give their all.
Of the Russia 2017 participants, who would you like to play against? There's something very interesting about the Confederations Cup because it's a tournament where you play against the players who are currently the best in the world. Watching footballers who are able to make a difference and who create such big expectations makes it entertaining. This year, for example, it'll be Cristiano Ronaldo and Alexis Sanchez.
Brazil hosted the 2013 edition, which was a thrilling tournament. What advice would you give to the Russian fans? To enjoy it as much as they can because it's a fantastic event. It's very valuable for a country to host the tournament – you only need to look at what it did for us: there were great matches and it left a very good impression. The Russians should take advantage of this opportunity because it's a good rehearsal for the World Cup. They'll be hosting the biggest competition in little over a year and the Confederations Cup allows them to have a taste of that of what's to come.