In these football-less times, we are fortunate to be able to recall, relive, and rebroadcast good memories from the archives. Over here in Brazil, one of the fondest of such memories from the past decade is Corinthians’ 1-0 win over Chelsea in the 2012 Club World Cup final — a massive achievement for the Copa Libertadores champions who faced that year’s Champions League-winners in Yokohama, Japan.
Corinthians, managed by current Brazil national team head coach Tite, ended a streak of five-straight wins by European clubs and remain the last non-European team to win the competition, which is set to be revamped in the next edition. With an heroic effort from goalkeeper and the tournament’s best player, Cássio, it was a “smash and grab” for the ages — Peru’s favorite son, Paolo Guerreiro scoring the only goal in the 69th minute.
While some Chelsea players were accused of not caring enough at the time, that was clearly not the case for David Luiz who left the stadium in tears. For him, like his fellow Brazilians Oscar and Lucas Piazon, the game meant so much more than for most Europeans.
The former Chelsea defender was asked to comment on the game before the rerun on Brazilian TV this weekend, and it sounds like the pain of that defeat is still quite fresh nearly eight years later.
“It was a game that marked my life, and also all Corinthians fans. It is true that I am one of them, I have always made that clear.
“[But] that day playing for Chelsea I gave all of myself, I gave my best to make the team champions, but Corinthians was properly set up. They had an amazing team and an amazing set of supporters which filled the Japanese stadium, and made a difference.
“We tried in every way we could to win the match, but Cássio was having a special day, he made wonderful saves. Corinthians also had a winning team, they knew how to suffer when they were supposed to and they knew when to kill the match when they had to, as they did.
“It left a mark and I was sad, because we had a wonderful game and I did not win.”
There weren’t many silver linings for David. While he was named the tournament’s second best player (the Silver Ball), he did not collect the trophy that has such cultural significance.
And while he was and still is a Corinthians supporter, and thus marveled at and was humbled by the sacrifices his fellow fans made to get to Japan for a once in a lifetime opportunity, the competitive pain of the loss still lingers personally.
“I was also happy [for Corinthians] because of everything that I know about the club’s history, the people involved that night, the supporters travelling [to Japan], who sold their homes and cars to go there and take part in the party, so I had this tinge of happiness.
“For the work I put in on the pitch, I got the Silver Ball, but I wanted to win the championship for my integrity and professionalism. In football we can not always win, but we always have to care enough to give it our all on the pitch.”
-David Luiz; Source: TV Globo via UOL
The Club World Cup remains the only major trophy missing from David Luiz’s Chelsea trophy cabinet.