- Carlos Eduardo has helped Al-Hilal to various Saudi titles
- The Brazilian has scored seven goals in the AFC Champions League this season
- Al-Hilal thrashed Persepolis 4-0 in first leg of their AFC Champions League semi-final
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal FC have enjoyed many fruitful relationships with Brazilian footballers. Since the days of Rivellino, who ended his career with the Riyadh side after taking part in three FIFA World Cups, Brazilians have left their mark on Saudi football in general and on Al-Hilal history in particular, playing a significant role in leading the club from the capital to domestic and continental glories.
When Brazilian midfielder Carlos Eduardo joined from Porto in July 2015, Al-Hilal fans hoped the newcomer would follow in the footsteps of his illustrious compatriots, and he wasted no time in doing so. In his very first appearance he scored the only goal of the game against traditional rivals Al-Nassr to help Al-Hilal win the Saudi Super Cup final at Loftus Road Stadium in London.
Since then, the former Estoril and Nice player has kept up the good work, leading Al-Hilal to the Saudi Crown Prince Cup and the Saudi League title, as well as the Saudi King Cup last May. More recently, he has been in superb form during the AFC Champions League campaign, bagging seven goals.
On his recent success, the 27-year old player told FIFA.com: “There’s no secret. The technical team did a great job getting us ready to perform exceptionally well in all games, including the AFC Champions League, and get positive results. This isn’t individual work, it’s teamwork. I am one in a group of players, and that has helped me shine.”
Having previously appeared in the UEFA Champions League with Porto, Carlos Eduardo, is now on the verge of reaching the final of Asia’s premier club tournament. Following the 4-0 victory over Persepolis in the first leg of their semi-final, the Saudi side is understandably very confident going into the return.
“We’ll prepare well and give it everything to achieve our goal,” said Eduardo. “Persepolis are a strong team, but with determination we’ll work to make it to the final.”
In this year’s Champions League, Eduardo scored in Al-Hilal’s opening game before adding two more during the group stage. He then found the net in the round of 16 before hitting a hat-trick in the second leg of the quarter-finals against UAE side Al Ain, earning the man of the match award.
Ironically, that opening group game was also against Persepolis and Eduardo recalled: “It was a tough match that ended in a draw. I remember my header came at a crucial time because Persepolis are a good team. But we’re totally prepared for the semi-final return leg, and we want to make our fans happy.”
Carlos Eduardo is now only two behind his compatriot Hulk at the top of the AFC Champions League scoring charts. Hulk has fired nine goals for China’s Shanghai SIPG, but Eduardo does not care about personal numbers. He aspires to lead Al-Hilal to the final and then win it to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup 2017 in the UAE at the end of the year.
“My main concern is to see the team advance to the final and win the Asian title, not to win the top scorer or any other personal title,” he said. “I am in the team to serve the group and the club and please the fans who give me all their support and love.”
If Carlos Eduardo does go on to lift the AFC Champions League trophy on 25 November, he will undoubtedly go down in the history of Al-Hilal as one of its greatest ever players.