I'll silence critics! Chelsea's Luiz confident he can convince doubters of bright future at Stamford Bridge
23:10 GMT, 11 December 2012
David Luiz has emerged from the storm with his spirit unbroken and his hair unruffled, at least no more unruly than before, and he feels ready to embark on the next stage of his Chelsea career.
Luiz put his hand up when doubts were raised as to whether anyone in this squad had the strength of character required to lead the team beyond the era of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech.
He went some way to proving this when he stepped forward to take a Champions League penalty against Nordsjaelland last week and again with his determination to confront his critics.
Scroll down for Graham Chadwick's video diary
Stepping up: Luiz in in Japan as Chelsea chase the Club World Cup
Mobbed: Luiz spends time signing autographs for the fans
'No one likes criticism,' said the
25-year-old Brazilian. 'It gets to you and you don’t like it and you
ask, “Why are they saying this I tried my best, why can’t they see I’m
trying” It’s natural to think like that.
'You can have moments where you’re
down but you can’t let them last. They have to pass. I can be sad for
one or two hours but the rest of the day I need to be happy because the
team needs me to be positive. My brain needs it. I need it.
'It does get to me. I am not always
happy when I see the criticism, and I do care because this is my job.
But I’m a positive person. In the end, I know all the difficulties in
your life you can change. You can do something about them. When you
experience difficult moments, I know I’m strong enough to change things
and move on.'
No stopping me: Fernando Torres controls the ball during training
Leg up: Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole warm-up ahead of training
Luiz, once dismissed by Gary Neville
on Sky TV as a PlayStation defender controlled by a 10-year-old, found
his style targeted again when Chelsea started to struggle under Roberto
Di Matteo earlier this season.
He may be quick and technically superb
but can appear erratic, takes risks and sometimes makes mistakes, but
this is his game. It does not mean he doesn’t care.
‘When the criticism came two or three
months ago, it wasn’t a problem,’ said Luiz. ‘In my head, I knew I was
working hard and I could lay my head down on my pillow at night knowing
I’m an honest guy, trying my best.
‘This is a big club. Every little
mistake is highlighted. At a big club you need to be strong. If you
can’t take that, stay at home and work at another job.
‘I was captain at Benfica at 21. I
know my personality is to be a natural leader. So I know now that, at
this moment, with the team’s leaders of many, many years out of the
team, I need to take responsibility of the team and try and help the
What the world is waiting for: David Luiz and Fernando Torres train ahead of their game with CF Monterre
Keep up: Rafael Benitez shows off his ball skills during Chelsea training
‘Eden Hazard is a great talent and an
amazing player but someone who needs support. He has only just arrived
in the Premier League, like Oscar and other players.
‘Some are more shy, like Ramires. So I
need to take that responsibility. I don’t have a problem with that in
bad moments. I always say my shoulders are broad and I can take that
extra responsibility. I love it. I want it.
‘I prefer to take it on myself to help
the other guys, who can go and play with their heads clear and calm. I
can play with this added responsibility. I enjoy it.’
Luiz was released by Sao Paulo at the
age of 14 and left his family home, moving to the Brazilian city of
Salvador where he picked up his career at Vitoria, breaking into the
lower league team and moving to Europe to sign for Benfica at 19.
His big hair and casual style on the
ball make it easy to overlook the grit he has displayed to clinch his
23million move to the Barclays Premier League in January 2011.
Talking a good game: Chelsea interim manager Benitez talks to his players in training
Focus on the job ahead: The Chelsea players train ahead of their game with CF Monterrey
In Rafa Benitez, Luiz now has a coach
who is keen to devote time and attention to the way Chelsea defend. It
could be the making of Luiz.
‘If the results don’t come now, they
will come in the future,’ said Luiz. ‘In the last four games I’ve played
really well, at the top level and with confidence. I need to continue
this work and mentality.
‘Every day work, work, work, this is
the key to football because if you don’t, other guys work more than you
do and they kill you.’
Luiz grew up supporting Corinthians,
the team he could face in the FIFA Club World Cup. It is a tournament
which has always been important in Brazilian football.
‘When I was young I always talked
about this competition, dreaming that one day I would get the chance to
play in it, in the final. Now I have that opportunity.
‘We want to win it as well. It’s a title Chelsea have never won and it would be good for us for the rest of the season.’
Watch Graham Chadwick video diary with the Chelsea squad at the Club World Cup
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