Five points on David Luiz


London (AFP) – Five points on David Luiz after the Brazilian international central defender signed for Chelsea for a second time on Wednesday, the Premier League club paying a reported £32 million to French champions Paris Saint Germain:

Brazilian to the core

After impressive performances for Benfica — like many Brazilians, Portugal was a natural first port of call given the common language — Luiz was wooed by the Portuguese federation. However, unlike fellow Brazil-born stars such as Deco and Pepe he spurned their advances declaring Brazil was the only country he could play for. “My dream was always to play for Brazil,” he said in 2011. “A World Cup would only be a true experience if I were wearing the Brazilian shirt. Otherwise, it would just be like playing for a club.”  

World Cup nightmare

Those words about a World Cup must have rung hollow after he surveyed the wreckage of the 7-1 humbling by eventual winners Germany in the 2014 finals in front of the disbelieving Brazilian fans. Even worse for the mop-haired rampaging central defender was that with his central defensive partner Thiago Silva suspended, he was captain. The occasion clearly got to him as shorn of the calm influence of Silva he went to pieces, at fault for several goals, making rash tackles and understandably bursting into tears at the final whistle. “Apologies to everybody, apologies to all the Brazilian people,” Luiz said. “I just wanted to see my people smile.”

Grown in stature

Although now 6ft 2in (1.89m) tall, his boyhood club Sao Paulo, whom he joined aged nine, dispensed with him because they said he was too small. “I dropped out at 14,” he told FourFourTwo magazine in April 2011. “They told me I wasn’t going to grow. That is why I left home and went all the way to Bahia (in north-east Brazil) to try to play for Vitoria (where he eventually ended up playing in the third tier). My parents supported that decision from the beginning. Every time I had a good chance, I took it.” Luiz, though, persisted in part so he could help his parents, who despite being poor spared what they could so he could pursue his dream. “I didn’t know I could change the life my family had when I left home. It was an uncertain dream; I had to give up a lot of things to become a football player. As time went by my body strengthened and things fell into place.”

Kaka his role model

Luiz is a devout Christian, just like 2007 World player of the year Kaka — his role model. Luiz says when he played street football he always thought he was Kaka, who unlike him had no problems persuading Sao Paulo of his talents. Once Luiz started playing professionally he was swiftly disabused of being Kaka Mark II as he was pushed back into defence rather than continuing as an attacking midfielder. “My father will be my idol forever. But in football today, whom I admire and I always admire is Kaka, for many reasons, as a person and player,” said Luiz in 2011.

World record holder

He may not have a World Cup winner’s medal but he still holds the record as the world’s most expensive defender with PSG having paid an astonishing £50 million for him in 2014. It was the second time he had made his club a fortune — Chelsea having paid £25 million to take him from Benfica. That represented a huge profit for the Portuguese side who had laid out just £1.5 million when signing him from Vitoria in 2007.  

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