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Page last updated at 09:04 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Eduardo delight at dream comeback

Eduardo
Striker Eduardo spent almost a year out injured

Eduardo has described his goalscoring return for Arsenal in the FA Cup on Monday as "the best day of my life".

Eduardo, who had been out since breaking his leg in February 2008, scored twice in his side's 4-0 win over Cardiff in their fourth-round replay.

"It was the best day of my life - it was a special moment to score, very emotional," said the 25-year-old.

"I celebrated by kissing my wedding ring - because my wife and daughter and family supported me through this."

Eduardo, who also played for Croatia last week, opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a header from Carlos Vela's cross and later added Arsenal's third goal from the penalty spot.

606: DEBATE

Nicklas Bendtner and Robin van Persie grabbed the other goals for the Gunners who will now play Burnley in the fifth round.

After scoring his second, the Brazil-born forward raced over to embrace Arsenal fitness coach Tony Colbert, who helped him regain strength and endurance.

"I think Tony has spent more time with him than his wife," joked Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

"He deserved that kind of hug, and the physios as well. The doctors have done a tremendous job."

However, there was a stage when the Arsenal boss believed his striker would not fully recover from the horrific injury he suffered following a tackle by Birmingham's Martin Taylor on 23 February 2008.

"I've been in the job for a long time and seen a few players not come back from similar injuries," he added.

"I had a little bit more scepticism than he had."

Wenger praised Eduardo's mental strength during the rehabilitation process.

"Everybody is very happy for him. This is the kind of game we love to play, and it was good to see them play with the handbrake off," he said.

"He played a big part in that, and I'm very pleased for him.

"He's been extremely strong mentally. I've never seen one minute of doubt in his mind, not one minute where he said 'I don't want to do this'.

"He is always wanting more. This guy is small but he has the mental strength of a mountain."

Eduardo, who came off with a slight hamstring strain midway through the second half, is set to feature heavily in Wenger's plans in the run-in.

"We'll know at the end of the season how important his comeback is, but I'm very happy to have him back," added the Frenchman.

"He can play as a striker, on the flank, behind the striker, up front on his own. That is important for us."

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see also
Eduardo's return in photos
17 Feb 09 |  Arsenal
Arsenal 4-0 Cardiff
16 Feb 09 |  FA Cup
Eduardo ready for Arsenal return
22 Jan 09 |  Arsenal
Eduardo makes return from injury
16 Dec 08 |  Arsenal
McLeish sympathy for Eduardo injury
23 Feb 08 |  Match of the Day
Injured Eduardo leaves hospital
27 Feb 08 |  Arsenal
Croatia will cope without Eduardo - Bilic
06 Jun 08 |  Football Focus
Birmingham 2-2 Arsenal
23 Feb 08 |  Premier League


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