No divided loyalties for Luiz as defender makes emotional return to Benfica
20:37 GMT, 26 March 2012
David Luiz vowed 'to fight almost to the death' to help Chelsea beat former club Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Luiz, who spent four years with the Portuguese giants before joining the Blues in a 26.5million deal in January last year, was looking forward to catching up with some old friends ahead of Tuesday night’s first leg in Lisbon.
But the Brazilian insisted any loyalties to the club that brought him to Europe would end the moment combat began at the Estadio da Luz.
Return: David Luiz (right) will play his old club Benfica in Lisbon on Tuesday
He said: 'They’ll be my mates right up to the first whistle but, after that, Benfica and Chelsea are going to be adversaries and both are going to fight almost to the death to win.
'As the ref starts the game, the fight will start.'
Speaking at a press conference at Benfica’s home ground, the 24-year-old added: 'Everybody knows I love Benfica and respect Benfica but I won’t make it easy for them.
'I’m not going to leave them any space to win.
'I’m happy to be here. It’s very special to be here.
'I had a great time here, from my first day in this room being presented as a Benfica player to the day I left.
'’m glad to be back, and to be received so well. I’m happy to be playing against such a significant team.'
Training days: Chelsea prepare for their Champions League match with Benfica
Luiz has had a Jekyll-and-Hyde 14 months since moving to Chelsea but he has started all of their Champions League games this season and looks set to be recalled on Tuesday.
The charismatic defender insisted he had improved as a player and as a person since leaving Portugal.
'I’m older and wiser, more experienced from all the games I’ve played so far, and I have more responsibility,' he said.
'I’ve played more, and am getting older.'
Luiz has been passing on some of his wisdom to Chelsea caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo but was unsure how much of an effect his inside knowledge of Jorge Jesus’ men might have.
Back in the day: Luiz (right) will show no mercy to his old side in Lisbon
'Benfica are different now, with different players,' he said.
'Jorge is still the same, but they’re still learning and changing.
'The quality is still there. They were a strong team when I was there, and they’re still a quality team now.'
Chelsea’s experience at the tail-end of the competition has made them many people’s favourites to reach the semi-finals.
Luiz said: 'It’s positive that we have more experience, but the past is the past. It’s not important.
'This is a game between two big teams, and Benfica’s fans are very strong, but we have the experience to deal with that.'