David Luiz- key to Chelsea's Europa League success?
He divides opinion, some say he is too attacking for his position, Gary Neville once even labelled him a ‘Playstation footballer.’
The Sky pundit has since eaten his words, though, explaining it was following a bad performance by the Brazilian.
Since it was said last year, Luiz has begun to show his true quality, justifying his price tag of around £21million and interesting Barcelona, amongst other European clubs.
Luiz had his critics in his first couple of seasons and he’s now taking plaudits for his performances for the Champions League holders, playing a part in sealing a place in the top four of the Premier League.
Wednesday will see the Europa League final take place, against Luiz’ old club Benfica.
Can he put on a show against his former employees?
He has come on leaps and bounds since his arrival in England from the Benfiquistas.
He still has bad sides to his game, such as the widely-shown clip from the game at Old Trafford last week where he feigned injury and laughed at nearby spectators.
He also can make risky decisions in the centre of defence such as flicks and turns which could put his team in danger. A regular occurrence this year has been his tendency to have flailing elbows in challenges, deliberate or not who knows?
These are something that can be reduced, or erased completely, from his game and he has so many attributes to make him the world’s best.
What’s his true position? This is a common argument between football fans and the answer is one which is still fairly unclear.
The Europa League, particularly of late, has seen him play a holding midfield role. He has flourished in the centre of the park and he even scored against Basel in the semi-final, which was a goal straight from the top drawer.
Whilst in the Premier League, he has predominantly played in the central defence. Even there he is a threat, making runs into the opponents half and unleashing unstoppable long distance shots. His effort against Fulham last month was a contender for goal of the season.
This 40-yard screamer, along with his goal in the semi-finals and his free-kick taking ability, show his threat outside the box, as well as in.
His importance to Chelsea was shown on Saturday, after starting on the bench, playing only the second half, resting him for the all important final.With John Terry an injury doubt for Wednesdays clash at the Amsterdam Arena, it remains to be seen where Rafa Benitez will opt to play Luiz.
He could be replace Terry in defence to partner Branislav Ivanovic, whom he has forged a good understanding with this season.
He may have to be on his defensive game, whether he is holding midfield or in defence, as Chelsea have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 12 European matches and Benfica will pose a definite attacking threat.
Regardless of his position, if David Luiz turns up full focussed, he will have a big part to play in helping Chelsea become the first team to win the Champions League and Europa League in successive seasons.
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