Gabriel wants to live up to the sky-high standards set by Gilberto when he embarks on his own Arsenal career.

The centre back joined a select band of Brazilians when he joined the Gunners in January, following in the footsteps of Sylvinho and Edu as well as the 2002 World Cup winner.

Gilberto made 244 appearances for Arsenal and Gabriel explained why he became a inspiration to him when he spoke after completing his move to Emirates Stadium.

He was an influence for many players, not only Brazilians but players around the world

Gabriel

"I remember Gilberto Silva because he was always with the Brazilian national team," Gabriel told Arsenal Player.

"He was a mirror for every Brazilian player and every child, who looked up to Gilberto Silva as a reference. He was an influence for many players, not only Brazilians but players around the world.

"I could see that he was a major element here, he really helped the team, he really is a player I want to emulate because of his type of work and his will to help his team-mates, his will to win as a true Brazilian.

"To me he’s a mirror, so I will always take many good things I saw in him and take it to the pitch, and off the pitch as well, because I think he was an excellent professional who did many good things.

"I want to be like him, to be able to do the most I can to help everyone."

Gilberto Silva
Gilberto Silva

Gilberto scored 24 times for Arsenal from midfield but his defensive work in front of the back four - most notably in the 'Invincibles' team of 2003/04 - was his forte. Gabriel is another defensive-minded Brazilian - even if he did start his footballing life up front.

"There were always small teams close to where I used to live, where my family lived, and I started just as every other child - I was on the attack," he recalled.

"But I never did well! I kept going back and back through the team, then I went to a club and they put me on the defence, and then I started playing there and it really excited me.

"Nothing would take me out of the defence now. Thanks to God, things worked out, and they have been working out in my life, and I think I will never change my position again!"

Gabriel trains
Gabriel trains

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Chris Harris 3 Feb 2015