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The return of Eduardo to The Emirates was an emotional one.
After breaking his leg following a sickening tackle from Birmingham City defender Martin Taylor in February 2008 - an incident so graphic that Sky Sports decided not to show replays of the incident - Arsenal's number nine struggled to recapture his early form.
To his credit, he went on to score 10 goals after returning from that career-threatening injury at St. Andrew's but his journey in North London was cut short after just three years when he was sold to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in a £6 million deal.
It was a great shame. Eduardo had shown glimpses of brilliance during his spell with The Gunners after joining from Dinamo Zagreb, although there was a happy ending [of sorts] when he made a memorable return to The Emirates in the Champions League.
Just a year after leaving the club, Eduardo lined up against his former teammates in a group stage clash for Shakhtar and, despite his side conceding five goals in a crushing defeat, the Croatian managed to get on the score sheet in the 82nd minute to make it 5-1.
Everyone in the stadium stood up and applauded the goal as an emotional Eduardo raised his hand in appreciation.
When Eduardo came back and scored. One time whole Emirates applauded for an opposition and returning player. :clap:pic.twitter.com/28P1HPBOWj
- AfcVIP⁴⁹ (@VipArsenal) February 9, 2021
After the Champions League Group H clash, Eduardo was understandably thankful for the support. "It was great to come back here. It was unbelievable - it was like I still play for Arsenal. They called my name and it was fantastic."
Nine years later, in an interview with Arsenal's official website, the 37-year-old once again opened up about that incredible moment.
"I felt like I should have never left Arsenal and I felt very emotional in that game," he said. "I was nearly crying when I came back, so I had to try to fight with my emotions inside because it was a very nice reception from the fans. That day was unbelievable.
"Time has gone by very quickly, so I have the same feeling now as I did on my first day. I spent three seasons here and had a great time with great moments."
Eduardo was so underrated before his injury, if he was through on goal he scored! @Arsenal https://t.co/aFevHf37pl
- Paul (@thefilmbloke) March 27, 2020
What could have been if Eduardo had stayed fit and avoided that injury against Birmingham.
Featured Image Credit: PA/rintarot - YouTube
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