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Shakhtar's Eduardo ready for Arsenal reunion

Despite "some great moments" in north London, Eduardo was in professional mood as he looked forward to his Arsenal FC return with Group H rivals FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

Eduardo joined Shakhtar on a four-year deal from Arsenal in July
Eduardo joined Shakhtar on a four-year deal from Arsenal in July ©Getty Images

He may be returning to the club he left in the summer but Eduardo was reluctant to dwell on the past as he prepared to face Arsenal FC in Group H, instead preferring to focus on what he hopes will be a bright future with FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Brazilian-born Croatian international brought his three-year stay in north London to an end in July when he joined the Pitmen for a reported €7.5m on a four-year deal. Though he scored eight goals in 41 league appearances for the Gunners, the 27-year-old will forever be remembered in England for the broken leg he suffered in a league game against Birmingham City FC in February 2008, an injury which sidelined him for almost a year.

He subsequently saw others move ahead of him in the pecking order and faced a big decision when the offer came from the Ukrainian champions. "I'm nearly 28 and I had a choice to play for Shakhtar, they are a big club in Europe," said Eduardo, who had moved to Arsenal from NK Dinamo Zagreb. "That was my choice and that's life. My injury is in the past, I don't want to talk about that. Now I'm 100% fit, playing football and enjoying my time at Shakhtar."

Enjoying himself he certainly is, though a debut goal tends to help. Eduardo did just that in a 5-0 defeat of PFC Sevastopol, and has since struck twice more as a Shakhtar team littered with South Americans have blown away all comers in establishing a five-point lead at the Ukrainian summit. "Donetsk is a very nice city and the club is very good," explained Eduardo. "It has good training facilities and the stadium is one of the best in Europe. We have about seven or eight Brazilians and they have helped me settle. The boss [Mircea Lucescu] also speaks Portuguese so that helps, too."

That said, Eduardo has too much affection for his former club to consider celebrating should he score in the stadium he used to call home. "I spent three years here and had some great moments," he added. "I have respect for the supporters and Mr Wenger. I'm on the other side now and I will give my best tomorrow. I hope we can get a positive result."

While Eduardo is evidently relishing life with Shakhtar, his new coach is equally enthusiastic about the arrangement. "Eduardo is a very professional, intelligent and skilful player and I hope he will forget what happened here [in terms of the injury]," said Lucescu. "It is bound to be emotional for him. He wanted to remain here so much and play at Arsenal but his injury created problems for him; now Shakhtar are helping him reach the highest level."