Eduardo Alves da Silva, who with 29 goals is the third top goalscorer in history for Croatia behind Davor Suker and Mario Mandzukic, retired from international football back in 2014.
The Brazilian-born former Dinamo Zagreb, Arsenal and Shakhtar Donetsk striker said at the time: “I was selected 64 times in the last 10 years, from my first match for Croatia against Ireland in 2004. With great pride and joy I play in the Croatian shirt and presented Croatian football around the world. It was important to justify the trust that the fans gave me for which I am especially grateful. I will remember playing for Croatia only in a nice way.”
After retiring from the national team, Eduardo went on to play for Flamengo, Atletico Paranaense and Legia Warsaw. Now 36, he is back in Zagreb, the city he called home for almost 10 years after arriving from Rio de Janeiro as a 16-year-old, for the holidays and he sat down to chat with Sportske novosti.
“Since leaving Legia (Warsaw), I have spent most of my time healing my tendon injury in Rio at Fluminense FC. Although I played for Flamengo, Fluminense’s biggest rival, there was no problem when I came to the club for treatment for my injury. The chief physiotherapist there is a man who had been taking care of Ronaldo (Brazilian) all his career, he is said to be one of the best in the world. This tendon has tormented me for over two years since I played at Atletico Paranaense, all the pitches there were artificial, and I paid for it by training and playing on that kind of surface. I never really recovered and at Legia the injury bothered me the whole time and that is why I was not at my best in Poland. After a three-month treatment at Fluminense, I finally healed the tendon, and then for the next three months I trained with the reserve team of that club,” Eduardo told Sportske novosti.
His last competitive match was back in August of 2018 for Legia but offers still came in over the year.
“There were offers from new Brazilian first division club Avai and CSA, and also offers from Malaysia, Thailand and India, but I immediately threw them in the bin. I did not want to leave Rio since my kids are in school there and I did not want to disrupt their way of life. We moved around a lot, it was turbulent for years and we decided to stay in Rio, where I bought a house. The last year I used to spend time with my children, 14-year-old Lorena and 9-year-old Matheus. When I played, I spent little time with them. And now I was free and at some moments I felt just like an Uber driver – driving kids to school, from school to training, to dancing, to all the extracurricular activities they do, ha-ha.”
Eduardo says that even though he is approaching 37 years of age and has not played for more than 16 months, he has not decided just yet to hang up his boots for good.
“I have some offers from smaller clubs, which play in the Carioca League, this is the first part of the Brazilian Championship, which lasts until May. Boavista from Rio called, so did Volta Redondo and when I get back to Rio I’ll see what I will do. But in any case, the end of my career is nearing. Serious football is over for me, and I will soon decide if a definitive end to the game has arrived. I’m at the age when I can say goodbye tomorrow to playing, I could have done it a year ago, or yesterday.”
Eduardo says he has enjoyed his time away from football the last year and says he spent most of the time with his family and healing from his injury. He says that for now he does not have any ambition to move into coaching.
“I would like to stay in football, I have started to become an agent and I am in contact with the biggest Brazilian management agencies. I recommend young and talented players to the clubs, and I recently offered two young Brazilians to Varazdin. I’ll see what happens next, and I’m thinking about enrolling in the UEFA MIP Academy, which specialises in football management and is intended exclusively for top-level football players. At seven places in the world you can study at this academy, it is certainly one of the options after I end my career, and at the moment it is more interesting to me than coaching because I would have more time for the children and the family, and that is the most important thing for me now, my family is my life priority now,” Eduardo said.
Looking back at his career, Eduardo says he learned the most about professional football at Arsenal.
“Without a doubt the Premier League is the toughest competition in world. I appreciate the other big five leagues, but England is something special. It always has been, always will be. You can learn a lot from the game, there is more respect for the referees than in the other leagues.”
Still a huge fan of the Croatia national team, Eduardo is hoping that Zlatko Dalic and his former teammate Luka Modric can bring joy like they did in Russia last year.
“We have great and experienced players, there are some quality young footballers who are everyone rates highly and I believe that Croatia can go all the way at Euro,” Eduardo concluded.