In the end, they did it. After 38 games and a...
A Touch of Class
Classy: adjective, class·i·er, class·i·est. Informal . of high class, rank, or grade; stylish; admirably smart; elegant
“Before I start a new chapter in my career with Shakhtar Donetsk, I just wanted to send a message to all my friends at Arsenal.
“The past few days have been very emotional for me. Although I am excited about the challenge ahead with my new club Shakhtar Donetsk, I am so sad to be leaving my home for the past three years – Arsenal Football Club.
“Arsenal is a very special football club and I will miss so many people – my team mates, all the staff and of course, the wonderful Arsenal supporters.
“I would just like to thank everyone for your support during my time at Arsenal. When I first came to England, I could not speak the language and knew nobody, but as soon as I arrived I was made to feel at home and part of this big family. Also, I want to say thank you to the Arsenal supporters - you have been fantastic to me and always sung my name and I will never forget this.
“I had some very difficult times with my injury, but Arsenal was always there for me – the medical staff, the management, the players and the supporters. Thank you everybody.
“Although I have now left the Club, Arsenal will always be in my heart. I will always look for the Arsenal results and of course, I wish Arsène Wenger and the great players at the Club well for next season and the future.”
And so with that statement, the rather sad chapter of Eduardo’s time at Arsenal came to a close. For the striker who was signed from Dinamo Zagreb in 2007, the move to Shaktar Donetsk was the end of a tumultuous time that peaked with his horrifc injury at the hands of Martin Taylor. Heroically, the Crozillian came back from the leg injury but sadly, he would never regain the form he would delight Arsenal fans with prior to the injury.
However, Arsenal fans do not look at Eduardo’s departure as a “good-riddance” type of event. Unfortunately for the Daily Mail, Eduardo is not another striker failure as they would have us believe. No. Dudu’s departure is a chance for him to begin anew, regain some confidence and shine again. And frankly, Arsenal fans couldn’t be happier for him.
This isn’t the acrimonious departure of Adebayour of a year agao. A departure that his him on a hatred level equal to that of Ashley Cole (I never thought Arsenal fans would hate anyone as much as him). No, Arsenal fans saw the writing on the wall last season for Eduardo. Who only netted twice and as the season wore on, it was evident Wenger saw less and less of a role for him. Chances were given but not taken.
But can you blame the lad? Returning from that injury had to have some psychological effect. Pre-injury, it looked like Dudu was the prototypical poaching attacker. His strike rate of 23% was evidence of that. But a poacher needs to be confident in the box. To have some strength of presence and after the injury, Eduardo just didn’t have that. As evidenced by a strike rate of 2.3%.
With his depature an outpoouring of well wishing was vocalized by Arsenal fans and capped off with Dudu’s farewell note above. Class. Absolute class. This is why while Eduardo may not be remembered on the likes of a Bergkamp or Henry, he will nonetheless be remembered well, for how carried himself, how he wore the badge with honour and tried to defy all expectations while on duty for Arsenal.
In an age of the prima dona millionaire players, to see such affection displayed and returned is reassuring. To know that this player played for our club is even better. And frankly for the most part, these are the type of players that play for Arsenal. Players of character (some are characters – think Lehman). Players that seem to above all else carry themselves in a way that is reflective of the club and the fans that support them.
Players like Henry, Bergkamp, Ljunberg, and others all talk fondly of what the club means to them. Henry recently saying when he is done playing wants to return to the club – even if it’s as “the waterboy.” Contrast all that to the likes of John Terry, Mr Chelsea who last season nearly switched to Man City for the allure of easy money. In my opinion only one other club has players that seem to emulate the same loyalty to the club and is United.
Look I know class doesn’t win anything and maybe there is something said for the egotistical, individually focused star players who win. But when the likes of Cesc Fabregas, who will not be bullied into submitting a transfer request because he doesn’t want to offend the club that made him, or when Eduardo, who gave everythying to try and come back to repay the club who had faith him, when these kinds of players are wearing our badge, I can’t help be proud to be an Arsenal fans.
Yes, the days of single devotion to a club are gone. The EPL has followed its American sporting cousins and now its all about the biggest pay day. Ya hear that Joe Cole? How about you Ya Ya Toure? There are still a few hold outs and god bless them.
Eduardo, you are gone but not forgotten – absolute class mate.