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Barca hampered by archaic FIFA

Barcelona 19 hours ago
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Bayern MunichBayern Munich
VfL WolfsburgVfL Wolfsburg
6:30 PM GMT
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 24, 2008

Eduardo 'can't remember' Taylor's horror tackle

Eduardo da Silva has revealed he remembers little about the incident which saw him suffer a broken leg following a tackle by Martin Taylor during Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Birmingham yesterday.

The Croatia striker, 25 tomorrow, has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and will miss Euro 2008 but insists he is 'determined to overcome this injury.'

Taylor was immediately sent off following the incident in the third minute of the game at St Andrews provoking a ferocious response from Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger who said the Birmingham defender should never play again - although he later retracted his heat of the moment comments.

Eduardo told Arsenal's official website, www.arsenal.com: 'I don't remember the incident very well and it is not something that I want to see again on television or in the newspapers.

'All I remember is that when I fell, I looked down at my foot and it had turned the other way. The rest is just a blank. It was an unfortunate situation but these things can happen in football.

'I am unsure at the moment of the extent of the injury and how long I will be out of action for but I know that I won't be able to play for Arsenal for the rest of the season or be ready in time for the Euros this summer.

'But I'm not worried about that. My concentration and determination is on making as quick a recovery as possible. I am determined to overcome this injury.'

The striker, who was beginning to establish himself in the first team in recent weeks following a summer move from Dinamo Zagreb, was today transferred from Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital to an unnamed London hospital, where he will undergo further treatment.

He paid tribute to all those who had offered him their support, saying: 'I would like to thank the medical team here at Arsenal for their efforts as well as the staff at Selly Oak Hospital who carried out the operation on Saturday night. Everyone there made me feel as comfortable as possible.

'I would also like to say how touched I am by the many messages of support I have received and to be surrounded by my loved ones at this time.'

Eduardo's words come after friction between the two clubs during the last 24 hours with Blues desperate to protect Taylor.

Birmingham defender Stephen Kelly believes the extent of Eduardo's horrific injury influenced referee Mike Dean's decision to red card Taylor during the Barclays Premier League clash.

He also hit back at Wenger's original comments, saying: 'I think Mr Wenger's (initial) comments after the game were so harsh. That is disgraceful talk from Arsene Wenger. It is terrible. You know the way Martin is. He slid along the ground.

'He has gone in with one foot. You see players going in week in and week out, diving in with two feet, and lunging and that sort of thing is a disgraceful challenge.

'It is a terrible thing for Wenger to say, especially about someone like Martin.'

Kelly feels the challenge barely merited a sending-off and believes Dean took into account the sickening setback suffered by Eduardo.

The former Tottenham player said: 'I don't think you can send a player off for that. That's football. It can happen. It is an accident. Tiny didn't go in two-footed. He didn't lunge. He didn't dive in.

'Everyone knows what Tiny is like. He is such a nice bloke. He has not got a malicious bone in his body so it was very harsh for the ref to see the broken leg and then send him off because of that.'

Blues boss Alex McLeish is confident a 'distraught' Taylor will be able to put the traumatic experience of inflicting the serious injury on Eduardo - however unintentional - behind him.

He said: 'We will give Martin support. Everyone here will support him. Most people in the game know Martin and I am sure he will get the support of everyone else because he is hurting at the moment.

'I would like to think it wouldn't affect him. He has made the challenge and Martin would always go for the ball honestly.

'Arsenal are feeling a bit angry about the whole thing at the moment so we will let the dust die before we make any reasoned approaches to them.'

However, Croatia captain Niko Kovac has blasted Taylor for the 'brutality' of the tackle saying: 'I can't believe this happened. Also, I can't believe such brutality still exists in football.

'I don't even want to speculate about the time of his (Eduardo's) absence. Let's wait for the doctors to give their opinion.'

Croatia manager Slaven Bilic said: 'This is horrible. The fact he won't play at the Euros is less important - most important is that he recovers as soon as possible and resumes his footballing career.

'He is a great guy. Of course I will visit him very soon, trying to cheer him up.'

As well as missing Euro 2008, Eduardo must also be considered extremely doubtful for the start of Croatia's 2010 World Cup qualifying programme, including their September 10 clash with England in Zagreb.