Eduardo Da Silva: The Croatian's Comeback Crusade

Cord NowellContributor IJanuary 19, 2009

Determination, rehabilitation and now jubilation, as Arsenal striker Eduardo Da Silva finally sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

It has been almost a year since Birmingham City defender Martin Taylor tackled Da Silva in a gruesome instant, leaving the Arsenal forward with a broken left fibula and dislocated ankle.

With bone sticking out of his leg, many television stations decided not to air the disturbing replay. The horrific tackle left Da Silva riving in agony on the pitch, career in jeopardy.

"All I remember is that when I fell, I looked down at my foot and it had turned the other way. The rest is just a blank," Eduardo said. "It was an unfortunate situation but these things can happen in football."

After the injury instant speculation spread that the Croatian striker's football career might be at an end and even worse, he might never walk again. The injury caused him to miss the 2008 European Championships and over 30 Premiership matches thus far for Arsenal.

At the time of the injury, Da Silva was really starting to come into his own and was settling in nicely at Arsenal. He had scored eight goals in his 19 appearances and was starting to adapt to the English style of play.

Da Silva joined Arsenal from Dinamo Zagreb in July of 2007, after playing for eight years in Croatia. He was discovered in Brazil by a Dinamo Zagreb scout in 1999 and was asked to join their academy. Da Silva excelled in Croatia and was named the Croatian player of the year in 2004 then again in 2006 and 2007. In his last season at Dinamo Zagreb he scored 35 goals in 32 appearances.

In 2002, after a few years abroad and realizing the difficulty of cracking the Brazilian
national team, Da Silva decided to play for Croatia. He went on to make 12 appearances with the U-21 team and in 22 matches for the senior squad, has 13 goals.

In his 11 months of rehabilitation since the accident, Da Silva spent some time in Brazil. He doesn't blame Taylor and even forgave him for the vicious tackle. The two have kept in touch through emails during Da Silva's absence from football

"Before my comeback for the reserves last month he sent me a message to wish me luck and to say he was glad I was back in action," Eduardo said.

In mid December, Da Silva played for 45 minutes in a reserve squad game against Portsmouth and since has been training hard to return to first-team finesse. It was also recently reported he netted a hat-trick in a closed practice.

Da Silva has not played first-team football since last February. His return to the squad
would be a very welcome addition. With Arsenal in the midst of a turbulent injury riddled season, Da Silva's return could not have come at a better time.

After some serious doubt, it looks as though the Brazillian-born Croatian could still have bright future at Arsenal. Look for the striker to be featured in first-team action in the next few weeks.