Arsenal History: Edu – Our amazingly successful Brazilian Invincible and Double winner

Edu: one of Arsenals finest Brazilian heroes

Edu is currently Arsenals charming Sporting director however 20 years ago he was an “Invincible” after The Gunners went the whole Premier League season unbeaten.

In N5 the volatile midfielder lifted two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and one community Shield. Before being brought to Highbury he secured the FIFA Club World Championship and two Campeonato Brasileiro Seria A (top-flight of Brazilian football) whilst at Corinthians. After his time was done and dusted at Arsenal he picked up the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) at Valencia. Whilst tackling the heights of International football for Brazil he sealed one Confederations Cup and Copa America.

His most memorable moment in his playing career arrived at the end of the 2003/04 season after Arsenal clinched the Premiership after having failed to lose a game all campaign. From that day onwards Edu’s name has most commonly been associated with the Gunners team of that year called the “Invincibles”. He certainly attracted recognition for himself during the season being awarded the Premier League Player of the Month trophy in February of 2004 when Arsenal were well on their way to becoming Premier League heroes. He also scored during the run in after netting the winner against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after only 21 minutes in a 2-1 victory.

When talking to Arsenal in recent times he spilled the secrets to how the squad reached such heights.

“But what I will always remember was the mentality of the squad, and how strong we were, how we worked together every single day to beat out opponents. That’s the most beautiful memory I have when we talk about the Invincibles.”

Arsenal were crowned champions at our arch enemies Spurs White Hart Lane after a 2-2 draw despite being 2-0 up at halftime, which Edu can remember fondly the aftermath of.

“It was funny after the game, because I remember we went straight into the dressing room, and we celebrated there for a few minutes then we decided to go back out to the pitch. I ran out and said ‘where is everybody!?’

“Apart from our fans in the corner, the stadium was completely empty. They must have run out of that place because it was emptied in seconds! If you see the pictures we are the only ones there.”

This was his second success in the Premier League after having grabbed the 2001/02 title during the double winning season which witnessed The Gunners beat Chelsea 2-0 in the FA Cup final a week later. Within his first season since signing from Corinthian for £6 million in January 2001 Edu had made history for himself and his country becoming the first ever Brazilian to claim the Premier League title, with 14 games to his name since moving continents.

After having missed out on his second FA Cup Winners medal in 2003 when Arsenal beat Saints 1-0 in the final due to injury, he finally tasted Cup success again in 2005. After a physically exerting 120 minutes the Brazilian and Arsenal took Manchester United down on penalties following a 0-0 stalemate.

Unfortunately Edu was unable to taste any European major honours at his time in North London. The closest he would come to it was when he netted once against Inter Milan at the San Siro in an impressive 5-1 Champions League Group Stage demolition in 2003.However not long before his move in 2000 at Corinthians he wrapped up the Club World Cup once Brazilian rivals Vasco da Gama were beaten on penalties following a 0-0 draw. Whilst at The People’s team he also assisted them to league double hero status in 1999 after the Campeonato Brasileiro Seria was handed to them for the second time in a row.

Not long after he departed Arsene Wenger and Arsenal for Valencia in May 2005 where he would become a 2007/08 Copa del Rey hero after Getafe were safely sideswiped 3-1 with masterful ease.

In 2009 his contract was over at Valencia before returning to his roots at Corinthians which didn’t go too well, after only a handful of appearances his contract was broken up on mutual terms to finish off his 12 year playing career in 2010.

During only a year of International football he made 15 appearances for Brazil from 2004 to 2005. In this spell he surprisingly heralded two trophies with his country after the Cope America was snatched in 2004 and then the Confederations Cup a year later, both times against wretched American neighbours Argentina. In the Copa America he slotted away a penalty in the shootout which saw Brazil secure their seventh win in the competition after a 2-2 draw with Argentina after extra-time. Little did Argentina think that shortly afterwards in the 2005 Confederations cup final they would be bulldozed 4-1.

What a Brazilian hero he was and is to millions of fans around the world on and off the field, let’s be honest he’s still an “Invincible” and is still a committed Gunner at heart, now helping Arsenal off the field as a Sporting director at the Emirates.

Liam Harding

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  1. Could play with Gilberto in place of Vieira, or with Vieira in place of Gilberto, and the team didn’t suffer either way – he was a great midfield signing and I don’t think we’d have achieved so much without him.

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