Following a season spent largely on the sidelines, David Luiz revived his career under Maurizio Sarri, playing a key role in his system and making more appearances than he has in any season since 2013. His importance was so great, he even managed to break the rule of Chelsea only offering one-year contract extensions to players over 30.
Just as in 2013, Chelsea finished the season with the Europa League trophy, validating the team’s and David’s own play to a great extent. It didn’t make for a perfect season, but winning an actual European trophy will never not be significant.
“It means a lot, after many, many years to have the opportunity to be in Chelsea again and to be in a big, big final against a fantastic team and you win. It means a lot.”
“That’s the game to celebrate our hard work every single day. We were working for that and we give that for the supporters.”
“We had some ups and downs but we learned a lot. We improved a lot during the season and I think we finished very, very well. We lost on penalties in the Carabao Cup final against City, being the best side, we qualified straight away for the Champions League after Liverpool and Man City, because they did amazing we could not get them this season in the Premier League, and we won a big title in Europe. So I think Chelsea’s great.”
As well as things may have gone for the 32-year-old defender this season, he did get embroiled in a minor controversy just before the Europa League final, when TV cameras spotted a flashpoint between him and Gonzalo Higuaín in training (there may have been an elbow involved), which was then followed by Maurizio Sarri storming off the pitch as well.
Chelsea and Sarri played down the incident(s) very quickly, just as they had done after the Kepa incident in the League Cup final when the goalkeeper refused a substitution. David Luiz relayed that same story when asked about it smoothed over any differences he may have had with Gonzalo.
“I think the guys watching didn’t analyse well. We just had some things during the training, this is normal, and then Maurizio was angry because he could not make the set-piece because those guys were there watching. That’s why he was angry, and then the media mix up a lot of things.”
“This is normal, in the game everybody saw the spirit of the team and also not just me and Gonzalo, everybody around Chelsea, everybody is important, and Gonzalo is my friend.”
-David Luiz; source: Chelsea FC
As evidence by their trophy celebrations, any differences that David Luiz and Higuaín may have had were quickly smoothed over. Just a bit of five-second angry. Sarri himself got over his little set piece hissy fit. All is well in the realm, as it should be! (For now.)