ESPN today announced that 2002 FIFA World Cup champion Gilberto Silva from Brazil and legendary Dutch footballer Ruud van Nistelrooy will serve as studio analysts during the company’s month-long presentation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, June 12 – July 13.
Silva and van Nistelrooy will appear on pre-match, halftime and post-match shows, SportsCenter, ESPN FC, and FIFA World Cup-themed news and information programs throughout the quadrennial tournament.
Silva and van Nistelrooy join a roster of ESPN 2014 World Cup analysts that include former professionals and national team players Michael Ballack (Germany), Alexi Lalas (USA), Steve McManaman (England), Santiago Solari (Argentina) and Taylor Twellman (USA).
“Adding Gilberto and Ruud to our roster of insightful analysts will make this the most memorable World Cup on ESPN for the U.S. audience, as this seminal event returns to its spiritual home in Brazil for the first time since 1950,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer. “Their analysis will be based on intimate knowledge of the teams representing Brazil and the Netherlands, two powerhouse soccer nations in this competition.”
Silva played 16 matches for Brazil in three FIFA World Cup competitions (Korea-Japan 2002, Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010). He manned the midfield for the Seleção from 2001-10. His performance as a defensive midfielder on the 2002 World Cup-winning team earned him a European contract from Premier League side Arsenal FC from 2002-’08. Silva played three seasons for Panathinaikos after joining the Greek club from Arsenal in July 2008. He ended his European football career after nine years, returning to Brazil to play for Grêmio in 2011.
From 1998-2010, van Nistelrooy was regarded as one of the best strikers in European football. In a career that spanned 19 years including five seasons at Manchester United and four with Real Madrid, he played on three football clubs that won at least one league title in three different leagues – Dutch Eredivisie, English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga.
When Van Nistelrooy retired in 2011, he had scored 51 career UEFA Champions League goals, which ranked him second at the time amongst all goal scorers in the competition. (He has since been surpassed by Messi and Ronaldo and is currently ranked No. 4). He played in three top-tier international football competitions for Netherlands – the UEFA EURO 2004 and 2008, and 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Specific assignments are to be determined, and other ESPN commentators for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be announced at a later date.
ESPN Inc.’s 2014 FIFA World Cup in the United States
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be ESPN’s eighth World Cup and most comprehensive presentation to date. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to air all 64 matches live and in high definition (June 12 – July 13, 2014), and WatchESPN will show all ESPN and ESPN2 games. ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network available in more than 85 million homes, will present matches live in multiple languages (other than English and Spanish).
Additionally, all ESPN studio programming – World Cup Tonight, ESPN FC World Cup Encore, ESPN FC, editions of SportsCenter, as well as the pre-game, halftime and post-game shows – and ESPN Deportes’ game-around-the-game programs will originate from the company’s production headquarters throughout the month at Clube dos Marimbás on the southern tip of the famed Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
ESPN garnered more than 40 industry awards, including three Sports Emmys, for its presentation of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa – more accolades than any single event in the company’s history.