Coming off of the 2017-18 season with scant few appearances to his name thanks to injuries and an apparently fractured relationship with head coach Antonio Conte, not to mention with just twelve months left on his contract, it looked like David Luiz’s “cycle” at Chelsea would be ending for the second time.
Fortunately, all those prognostications were wrong.
With hard work and solid performances and of course his eye for the key pass — he led the league in through balls, and it wasn’t even close! — David Luiz quickly gained the trust of new head coach Maurizio Sarri and installed himself as a fixture in the starting eleven, much like he had in his first season under Conte. Disaster was expected. Instead: redemption.
“It was a season where I could do what I love and know, in a club where I always felt at home. I earned the manager’s trust and I was able to show on the pitch that I deserved to play. It was a special season.”
David Luiz and Maurizio Sarri, still a better love story than Twilight. (Is that still a reference kids get these days?)
“Sarri is a great human being. A great person. And the work he’s been doing in just one season is incredible. He has a philosophy of his own and we have been assimilating what the coach wants for the team. We know there are details to be settled, but what he has done is incredible.”
Many would disagree with his assessment there, but for David, the season turned out to be special indeed. Not only has he earned himself a new contract, but he signed a two-year extension at age 32, something never seen before for any player over 30 during the Abramovich administration.
Chelsea’s last remaining Champions League-winner — farewell, Gary Cahill! — believes that’s recognition of and a testament to his work ethic and determination, qualities that he hopes will serve him for at least a few more years at the top level of the game.
“This is a special moment. I love being here, I love Chelsea. I feel the same ambition as when I was a young player, and I think that’s why I’m taking that opportunity. I have the same willpower, and I am very happy to defend Chelsea for a few more years.
“Given all the care I take off the pitch, my willpower and the pleasure I still have in training and playing, I believe I still have a few more years as a top player ahead of me.”
Having not represented his country since 2017, the man who will forever be associated with the Mineiraço in the 2014 World Cup believes he might even earn a recall for this summer’s Copa América.
“I will always be ready to play for the Brazilian national team. When I am doing well for my club, I know that my chances get better. It depends on my output on the pitch, and this season gives me hope to return to the national team and defend Brazil’s shirt.”
Alas, that may be a bridge too far.
Eventually, he may return to Brazil, but possibly just as a farewell tour for one of the bigger teams, such as Palmeiras who were briefly linked last summer.
“It is always good to be remembered by great teams. Brazil is my home and a return, in a few years, is not ruled out. But it is not yet time.”
-David Luiz; source: Yahoo! Brasil
After six and a half seasons split across two stints, David Luiz is closing in on 250 Chelsea appearances. With the expected departures of Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard, he will be counted on even more going forward, on and off the pitch.