Despite playing in the Champions League and racking up 64 caps for Croatia, Eduardo Da Silva is remembered more for one incident than any other – the horrific leg break he suffered back in 2008.
Eduardo da Silva arrived at Arsenal from Dinamo Zagreb as a highly-rated young star in 2007, having scored bags of goals in the Croatian Prva HNL.
Arsenal, going through something of an adjustment after the success of the ‘invincibles’ team a few seasons earlier, boasted Robin Van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor and a young Nickolas Bendtner upfront, and early chances were hard to come by.
A typically Arsene Wenger-like signing, the 24-year-old possessed technical skill and great pace, and when he broke into the side he managed to score two braces in two League Cup games.
Eventually an injury to Van Persie afforded him more game time, and he looked well on the way to becoming a fan favourite at the relatively new Emirates stadium.
However, his time in North London was to be hampered by a horrific injury, which took place during a league game against Birmingham City on February 23, 2008.
Eduardo picked the ball up in the Birmingham before defender Martin Taylor dove in with a hefty challenge that literally snapped his leg clean in half.
The result was a broken left fibula and a dislocation of the left ankle.
Of course, Eduardo was in agony after the incident, but things could have been much worse. Eduardo didn’t speak English at the time, and Gilberto Silva – the only other Portuguese-speaking member of the team – was able to step in and translate between Eduardo and the medical staff.
Footage of the injury remains incredible hard to watch ten years on, and it was initially deemed so graphic by broadcasters that replays of the incident weren’t allowed to be shown.
Arsene Wenger was, of course, furious about the challenge, and initially called for Taylor to be banned from football for life.
Watch footage of the horrifying injury again below:
Arsenal were top at the table at the time of the incident, and Eduardo’s injury could arguably have played a significant part in the club’s fall down the league that followed.
While such an injury could have potentially ended Eduardo’s career, he worked had to recover, and he eventually returned to action in the FA cup a year later.
However, he never managed to deliver on the early promise he had shown, and also developed a negative reputation after being charged with ‘deceiving the referee’ to win a penalty during Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Celtic in the Champions League.
Eduardo ended up leaving for pastures new in 2010, playing for Shakhtar Donetsk for four years, before a stint at Brazilian side Flamengo.
Now 34 years old, Eduardo has signed with Brazilian club Atlético Paranaense, where he has yet to play a game, and retired from the Croatian national team back in 2014.
While his career might not quite have lived up to early expectation though, he will unfortunately always be remembered by English fans for that horrifying incident in 2008 alone. And yet it could have been a very different story.