‘You respect them but you want to win’

Gilberto knows all about the significance of our rivalry with Manchester United.

We faced the Red Devils 19 times during the Brazilian’s six-season stay in north London, but there is one particular encounter which will always stand out.
“It has to be the day of Van Nistelrooy’s penalty [in 2003],” Gilberto told Arsenal Player. “I laugh because when you see it afterwards it’s quite funny, but of course the reaction is not something that we want from football.
“It’s not an example football players must give to the fans, especially young kids, but also you don’t send a good message around the world. When I see after I laugh because it’s crazy, but when you are there sometimes it’s hard to control your emotions and with the circumstances of the rivalry, sometimes it’s also part of the game.
“You cannot play against one of your biggest rivals thinking ‘I cannot tackle you’, no, it’s part of the game. You respect them but you want to win, it doesn’t matter where you play.
“Of course when you have a kind of fight on the pitch, it’s not nice, but considering all that happens before, I think in the end we controlled the situation. That was the most important thing.”

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