There were tears in Edu's eyes last night as he walked around the Highbury pitch for the final time as an Arsenal player. 

The midfielder is out of contract in the summer and, although Arsène Wenger wanted to keep him, he has decided to leave.

Edu was given the honour of taking a penalty in Arsenal's 7-0 victory over Everton. He was touched by the tribute from his team-mates and thanked the fans for an emotional send-off.

But, the question remains, why is he leaving?

"I have talked to the boss [about my future] for a long time," said the Brazilian, who turns 27 on Monday. "He explained his feelings and I explained mine.

"In the beginning I said I was not sure if I want to stay or not. Then my feelings started to tell me it was a good time to leave. Also I heard about other clubs and what they want to do with me. I started to realise that it was maybe a good time to leave.

"People think it is about money but Arsenal offered me a very good contract. It is not all about money. I just think that now is a good time to change my life and start another one."

Edu has yet to decide where he'll go but, he confirmed, it will NOT be to another English club.

Since being plucked from Corinthians in 2001, the midfielder has become accustomed to the English game and broken into the Brazilian national side. He combines a delicate touch with physical presence. However his penalty was not the best advertisement for his skills. Richard Wright got a hefty hand on the ball but could not prevent it crossing the line. On this night however, the main thing was just to be asked to take it.

"At first I was going to walk away," he said. "The first person to say 'take it' was Ashley Cole, then Titi said it too. Lauren just gave the ball to me and so I took it. It shows how nice the guys are to me. It has been a pleasure to play with them."

All 10 outfield players mobbed Edu when he scored and the crowd reserved a special song for him at the end as the team did their lap of honour.

"English people are not as emotional as Brazilians so I was trying to hold myself back," he said. "But I had something inside me. I was feeling really, really emotional.

"I have a big history here," he concluded, "and it has been full of good things. I have great memories of Highbury."


Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
12 May 2005