Former Arsenal and Brazil midfielder Gilberto Silva announces retirement

Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva has confirmed his retirement.

Gilberto, 39, had been without a club since leaving Atletico Mineiro in 2013.

He told a news conference: "As of today, I have ended my career as an athlete. It's a difficult decision.

"Worldwide, we do not ask to be born. When we are born, we do not want to die. I've heard a phrase that says footballers die twice. I disagree. I think the football player dies once, and makes a transition from the field to a new stage. For me, it's a time of transition, not a first death.

"No matter how painful it may be -- it's a moment that could be seen as a sad, difficult time -- but I see it with great joy. I've enjoyed 20 years of great joy. That's what it has been for me and my family."

America-MG president Francisco Santiago recently told Superesportes that the former Brazil international is under consideration to become the Mineiro club's director of sport, although he stressed that there was "nothing concrete."

Gilberto began his career with America-MG in 1997 and moved to Atletico Mineiro in 2000, making his senior international debut the following year.

He was part of the Brazil side that won the 2002 World Cup and earned a move to Arsenal that year, playing a key role in the side that went unbeaten to win the Premier League title 2003-04.

He also won two FA Cups during his time with the Gunners and played in the 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, but he was sold to Panathinaikos in 2008 and then returned to his homeland with Gremio in 2011.

He spent his final season with Atletico Mineiro, where he won the 2013 Copa Libertadores.