Gilberto

Transcript: GM Nelson Rodríguez comments on absence of Gilberto

Chicago Fire General Manager Nelson Rodríguez spoke with media members Monday (June 6) to address the leave of absence from the team for Brazilian striker Gilberto. Read the full text of Rodríguez' comments below:

On the club's current stance toward Gilberto's absence...
"As many of you know, prior to our last game we indicated that we had provided Gilberto some personal time to help him with some personal matters. Over the course of the break I checked in with Gilberto again. At that time he still indicated to me that he was not in a state of mind that was his best. It left me to draw the conclusion that for the moment we need to continue to try to work with him as a person, but our club’s focus needs to be singular. As a result, we will work with Gilberto individually, try to get him back into a form that can help us, but the rest of the team must work collectively with our focus on our Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match on (June) 15th, and our quest to join Maccabi Los Angeles and Bethlehem Steel as the only five-time winners of that trophy, and also our focus on our mission to make the MLS Cup playoffs through the balance of this season."

On whether he believes Gilberto will play for the Fire again...
"Our preference has always been for Gilberto to be scoring goals for our team, that’s something I expressed to his agent not long ago. There is a human side to this and a professional side to it, and they get blurred a little bit in this situation as well. What has to become the priority is the team. It’s the guys in the locker room who are willing, able and ready, and with pride, to defend our colors and our shield. We owe it to that group to give our best intentions and our most focus to them, and that’s what we’re doing. At the same time, we’ll see what we can do to help Gilberto."

On whether Michael de Leeuw would become a Designated Player should Gilberto leave...
"We'll make those decisions on an annualized basis at the start of every year, but for 2016 he's considered a 'TAM' player, where we used Targeted Allocation Money to acquire his service. At the present moment that's all we're considering for him."

On the possibility of buying out Gilberto's contract...
"We’ve not had that discussion with Gilberto or his representatives. Every option always has to be on the table. At some point if we can’t get him to be productive and scoring goals for us, we have to look at anything that avails itself to us or that we create for ourselves."

On whether he is in talks with other clubs to move Gilberto...
We have not had any discussions with any club in Brazil at all. Gilberto has from time to time expressed a desire to return to Brazil and play in Brazil, it’s unclear whether that’s now or the end of his contract in the future. But we have not spoken to any club in Brazil about Gilberto.

WATCH: Nelson Rodríguez Media Roundtable

On course of action should Gilberto opt not return...
"If Gilberto doesn’t return, if he chooses not to fulfill the obligations of his contract, then we’ll have to take that up with Major League Soccer and the Major League Soccer Players Association, we’ll have to see if that moment comes."

On whether his situation is of more of a personal or professional nature...
"I want to be fair to Gilberto in that it’s somewhat personal. It would be difficult to imagine, however, that a proud goal-scorer who hadn’t found the net wasn’t in some way upset and disappointed and affected by his lack of performance on the field. If there’s anything else he has not made us aware of that. We are a club that prides ourselves in trying to be givers, trying to be supportive. I think Pauno has done a really good job in continuously playing him and giving him the opportunity to perform on the field. But I think we should all be respectful of Gilberto the man and allow him the time to try to work through this."

On whether Gilberto has returned to Brazil...
"He is in Chicago and we are expecting him for his individualized training this week."

On how much patience he believes is appropriate for the situation...
"A lot of that is driven in part by the team. Gilberto’s a very talented player and when he gets on the right side of scoring goals, can be positively streaky and carry a team. He has demonstrated that in his past, in his limited time in MLS and in his past in Brazil. Pauno and I have spoken to some guys on the team and I think they are all in agreement that we need to be focused, we need to mitigate or eliminate distractions, we really are targeting the Open Cup as something that’s very important to us, and we still have a belief that we’ll be playing meaningful games come October. There’s a balance though. We have to be very patient for the man, because there’s a human who’s experiencing some form of distress, that we should all be patient and supportive of. Then there’s the professional, and I mentioned earlier it can be blurry. So we always have to put the good of the whole team ahead of any individual." 

On if his absence has been a distraction...
"I think the group has managed it well, I think Pauno has managed it well, and I think as long as Gilberto’s doing his thing to get better, we can all move forward in a positive sense. It’s my job to also be prepared should it come to pass that he does not return for us, that we are prepared to fill that role with another player. We, as a normal course of operation, are constantly working to fill our pipeline with another player, whether from in the league or in the international marketplace. For the moment, I would say it’s been manageable. We have a strong locker room. We have guys that are very focused and very committed. Gilberto has friends in the locker room, so there are guys who are concerned about him and worry about him, but ultimately we all know we get judged by wins and losses, not by friendships, and that’s where we need to go.”

 

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