July 17, 2008 / 5:24 PM / 10 years ago

Gilberto Silva signs for Panathinaikos

ATHENS (Reuters) - Brazil midfielder Gilberto Silva joined Panathinaikos from Arsenal on Thursday and said that he expected it to be the most successful chapter of his career.

Brazilian player Gilberto Silva waves to Panathinaikos fans outside Athens' airport July 16, 2008.REUTERS/Icon

“I knew Panathinaikos before coming here but having met the president and the people of the club I have seen their ambition and believed in it. My goals are the goals of my team,” he said.

"I'm fully aware of Panathinaikos's expectations and I'm confident the club will enter its second century successfully," the 31-year-old midfielder was quoted as saying on the Greek club's website (www.pao.gr/index)

“Panathinaikos is the new chapter in my career and I believe that it’s going to be most successful,” added Gilberto Silva.

The transfer fee was not disclosed but local media said Panathinaikos had paid about 1.25 million euros (989,000 pounds).

Gilberto Silva, who has played 65 times for Brazil and was in the 2002 World Cup-winning side, has signed a three-year deal Greek newspapers said was worth three million euros a year.

The Brazilian also thanked the crowd of Panathinaikos fans, estimated at between 1,500 and 2,000, who turned up to welcome him at Athens International Airport on Wednesday.

“I’m lost for words trying to thank the fantastic fans that welcomed me so warmly in the airport yesterday,” he said.

“I will respond by giving 100 percent on the field always with an eye at achieving the club’s goals.”

Silva joined Arsenal in 2002 from Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro and has made 244 appearances. He was a key part of the side went through the 2003-04 Premier League season undefeated.

As well as that season’s league title, Gilberto Silva also won the FA Cup twice and was captain on numerous occasions.

Another Brazilian international, Gabriel, is also finalising his transfer to Panathinaikos from Fluminense.

“I am very proud and it is a great honour for me to play for Panathinaikos, alongside Gilberto Silva,” said the 27-year-old right-back who has been capped once by Brazil.

Editing by Ken Ferris

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