Ex-Arsenal defender Sylvinho has spoken about his time with the Gunners, and how he laid the foundations for his fellow countrymen to join the club.

Sylvinho spoke to Goal about his his time with Arsenal. The 43-year-old feels he was somewhat a pioneer for Brazilian players after making the move to England.

“I was the first Brazilian player who signed for Arsenal in the club’s history, then Edu and Gilberto Silva came in. They always tell me that I left an impressive mark and that I paved the way for them to arrive.

“A very interesting opportunity then arose in (Celta) Vigo and, although initially I thought it might be taking a few steps backwards, I did not hesitate and left with the intention of starting again without thinking of reaching a bigger club.”

Sylvinho was perhaps a bit unfortunate with the timing of his spell with the Gunners. He arrived just after the club won the double, and left just before they won it again, just one season before the Invincibles.

However, he did end up at Barcelona, winning La Liga and the Champions League, among other trophies, so it wasn’t all bad.

Edu and Gilberto Silva both played key parts in that unbeaten season in 2003/04, making a combined 62 appearances between them. So if Sylvinho’s spell did pave the way for the pair, as he claims, Arsenal fans should be grateful to him for making it happen.

If the Brazilian had ended up joining Tottenham Hotspur instead, who reportedly made multiple offers for him, then it could’ve been a very different story. Fortunately, he chose the correct half of North London.