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By ESPN Staff

Arsenal's Eduardo hoping for Christmas return

Arsenal striker Eduardo is optimistic he will be playing again by Christmas as he continues rehabilitation from a broken leg.

The 25-year-old Croatia international was expected be out for more than a year after suffering a double compound fracture of the left leg in a tackle from Birmingham's Martin Taylor in February.

He has been recovering at a clinic in Rio de Janeiro since April but is now back with the north London club and is awaiting the results of tests which could reveal the time frame of his comeback.

Brazilian-born Eduardo hopes to be back in contention for a first-team place before the end of 2008.

'The worst part is over, and I have had a lot of difficulties to overcome since the beginning. But right now I am very happy with the progress I am making,' he said.

'That is thanks to the help I have had, and I am just waiting for the moment when I am ready to play again.'

Eduardo is confident he has already endured the darkest moments.

'Yes, it can be difficult at times - because I have never been through something like this before,' he added.

'I am still trying to get my focus back, but the worst part is done with.

'That was the initial injury, and the early rehabilitation. I will try to come back as fast as I can and make sure I can play well when I do.

'I hope that I will know exactly how long it will take me to be back in training with my team-mates.

'I want to find out, as well, when they think I can play again. My hope is that it will be before Christmas.'

Eduardo also revealed he has received lots of support from the Gunners' fans - and been in regular contact with manager Arsene Wenger.

'The Arsenal fans supported me a lot, and the fact I was in Brazil wasn't a problem - because there is still a fan club there,' he told Arsenal TV Online.

'Fans from the club came to visit me when I was working out on my treatment. All that kind of thing helps me a lot - not only the Arsenal fans but also the people that know me like my family and friends have helped.

'The boss has called me because he wanted to know how everything was going in Brazil, and I told him how I was feeling and the sort of training I was doing.

'I told him about the fitness and rehabilitation work I was doing. That made him very happy.

'Every day I dream about when I get back on to the football pitch. But I am in no rush. I am still finishing some parts of my treatment that will be done here at Arsenal.

'All I can say is that I cannot wait to go back. I will try everything I can to come back with quality.'

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