Former Brazil defender Gilberto says his short-lived stint at Tottenham was a “nightmare” after admitting he found it difficult to adapt to English football.
Gilberto arrived at Spurs from German side Hertha Berlin in 2008 but ended up making only a handful of appearances before returning to Brazil the following year.
The left-back was substituted at half-time in three of his six games for the club, and according to ESPN he was voted Tottenham’s worst ever winter signing in a talkSPORT fan poll last year.
Nine years after leaving England, Gilberto has finally opened up about his spell at Spurs.
“It’s true, I had a nightmare at Spurs. But I’d done well in Germany. I played for my country, and I’d won stuff in Brazil,” he said (via ESPN).
“In a way, it’s nice to be remembered, and I also kind of half-agree with what they (the fans) said. But footballers have to get used to this sort of thing. I’ve talked about it on Instagram because I wanted to show how hard it can be.
“I’d had four happy years in Germany, but Brazilians are competitive. Hertha were good but didn’t have the resources to compete for a title.
“This bothered me a lot because many of my Brazil teammates were playing in big tournaments like the Champions League and I never had the opportunity with Hertha. Tottenham came in, and I saw it as a chance to have a proper crack at some silverware.
“I remember my debut against PSV in the UEFA Cup. I tried to dribble past Jefferson Farfan. He nicked the ball from me and scored. Even though I was a Brazil international, I found it tough to recover, and I felt it was my fault we were losing 1-0.
“I picked up a calf injury and was subbed at half-time. We went out of the competition after the second leg, and I felt personally responsible.
“From that moment, it was all downhill. I tried my best at training and hoped that things would turn around. I liked London and the life there, but my confidence was shot.
“Then, Juande Ramos got the boot. Harry Redknapp came in, and he put me in the B-team at 32 years of age. That was embarrassing, playing with the U20s in empty stadiums. It was a tough time.”
The likes of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Gareth Bale, Danny Rose and Ben Davies have all filled the left-back slot for Tottenham since Gilberto left.
Gone are the days of Spurs making bizarre signings late in the January transfer window, although the club still has a propensity to pursue strange targets at the last minute in the summer; see Moussa Sissoko and Fernando Llorente.
Tottenham’s most recent January signing Lucas Moura, another Brazilian, has been quite the hit – at least compared to Gilberto.