How Chelsea's David Luiz Can Elevate to Among the Best in the World
After joining Chelsea in a £21 million deal from Portuguese giants Benfica, the Diadema-born defender certainly had a reputation to live up to.
After all, it was the highest amount the club had ever spent on a defender in their history, and along with the signing of Fernando Torres, the arrival of the pair was supposed to bring success back to Stamford Bridge.
Of course, it's been a rocky road to the top.
His full debut in the Premier League indicated the roller-coaster ride that was about to transpire, with Luiz earning the man of the match award in the 0-0 draw against Fulham, only to concede a penalty in stoppage time.
Despite the boyish smile and lighthearted character he carries around the pitch, Luiz sends out a confusing signal to his opponents. The 26-year-old constantly finds himself involved in tussles on the pitch.
Most notably, his infamous clash with compatriot Rafael, which saw the Manchester United defender sent off back in April, confirmed he still had much to learn as a professional.
Additionally, he can be guilty of relaxing too much on the pitch. The confidence he has in his ability is something to be admired, but as a centre-half, his tendency to lose the ball becomes a vulnerability for Chelsea.
If he is to stay as a centre-back, it would be beneficial for the madcap defender to be more disciplined with his approach. Although his trademark gallops through the midfield are exciting from a neutral's point of view, the fact he loses the ball all too often is a problem for the Blues.
By all means, Luiz has incredible vision and his execution of the long ball is usually spot on. But his relaxed attitude while in possession combined with a lack of urgency to release the ball is too much of a gamble to have in such an important position.
And that's not something that Jose Mourinho, a coach with strict defensive strategies, is likely to tolerate from one of his defenders.
In spite of his antics on the field, there is no denying that the former Vitoria defender is a leader from the back and an important voice in the Chelsea side. The desire he displays during the 90 minutes he plays is admirable, and while it's fair to comment on his lack of maturity to follow as an example, his work rate is second to none.
Luiz plays with an undeniable passion for the game. If only he could channel that into his performances on a regular basis, then perhaps negative comments such as Gary Neville's infamous "Playstation player" remarks, per the Daily Mail, would have no meaning.
As a Brazil international, Luiz is seen as one of the players who can lead his country to victory. The Samba Boys host the World Cup next year, and with Luiz very much entering the prime years of his career, there is no better time to triumph.
Of course, having one of the best coaches in the world, Mourinho, will give him a vital boost in what is bound to be the most important year of his career ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Mourinho has already had experience dealing with extravagant centre-halfs, most notably with Ricardo Carvalho at Porto, Chelsea and Real Madrid. He essentially turned the 35-year-old into a reliable, consistent performer.
Taking that into consideration, there's no reason to suggest that under Mourinho's wing, the Brazilian can't achieve a similar feat.
Already a holder of two European winners' medals as well as the FA Cup, Luiz has experienced success during his two-and-a-half-year stint in SW6.
If he continues to improve, Chelsea fans will be thrilled to see David Luiz in a Blues shirt for years to come.
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