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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006, 06:24 GMT 07:24 UK
Gilberto jumps to Ronaldo defence
By Mandeep Sanghera
BBC Sport in Germany

Gilberto Silva and Ronaldo
Gilberto Silva and Ronaldo in training on Sunday
Brazil midfielder Gilberto Silva has backed his under-fire team-mate Ronaldo to prove his critics wrong.

The Real Madrid forward was substituted halfway through the second half of Brazil's 1-0 win over Croatia following a lacklustre performance.

But Gilberto told BBC Sport: "It was the same at the last World Cup when people said he was not going to play.

"He ended up the top scorer in the tournament and we won the World Cup. He wants to show that again."

The Brazil striker was reportedly taken to hospital on Wednesday night after complaining of dizziness and headaches - but was given the all-clear and was expected to train on Thursday.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira says he will start with Ronaldo against Australia on Sunday.

And Arsenal midfielder Gilberto, who played in Brazil's 2002 World Cup final win over Germany, insists the rest of the squad is firmly behind the striker.

"We are here to help him improve because it is not just him but the team," added Gilberto.

"There are 11 players plus those on the bench. If one needs help then we are here along with the coach as well.

The game against Australia will be very hard and that will be good for us

Gilberto Silva

"Everybody is supporting him but we cannot put all the pressure on him.

"A lot of people are saying Ronaldo did not play his best, but against Croatia it was not just him.

"It was the team who did not perform their best. Of course, he will improve."

Gilberto, who was an unused substitute against Croatia, says he will give Parreira an insight into the Socceroos' English-based players.

"He will probably ask me in the next few days," he said.

"I'll see what I can help him with. I think the game against Australia will be very hard and that will be good for us."

SEE ALSO
Kovac says marking Ronaldo 'easy'
14 Jun 06 |  World Cup 2006
Brazil 1-0 Croatia
13 Jun 06 |  World Cup 2006
Brazil team guide
22 May 06 |  Brazil
Pick your Brazil XI
18 May 06 |  Squad selectors
World Cup schedule
25 May 06 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage


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