Chelsea star David Luiz took a risk coming back
He was liked, had won two League titles and several cups, and had three years left on his £130,000-a-week contract.
Instead, the Brazilian chose to take a pay cut and a “risk” and return to the country where he was once cruelly branded as a player who looked like “he was controlled by a 10-year-old on Playstation”.
That jibe came from Sky TV pundit Gary Neville in November 2011, when, during his first spell at Chelsea, Luiz’s side lost to Liverpool.
Today, with a Premier League winner’s medal already in his pocket after a revelatory season and an FA Cup final looming, Luiz, 30, insists that he did not return to prove anyone wrong. He came back because he likes taking risks.
And the man who cost PSG a world-record fee for a defender of £50 million when he joined them in June 2014 revealed: “If you want to know about the money, I cut my salary to come back here. But it’s OK. God has given me a lot so I’m happy with this.”
Rumour had it that Luiz was not going to be in new PSG coach Unai Emery’s plans for this season when Chelsea came calling, which was why he was keen to return, and why the £32m move was finalised so quickly on deadline day.
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I cut my salary to come back here
Chelsea star David Luiz
The other suggestion was that Chelsea were originally after his fellow Brazilian Marquinhos but were told he was not for sale.
Whatever the reasons, back came Luiz, who had left with a reputation that marked him down as at best flamboyant but erratic and proceeded to transform that reputation with a season full of displays that have marked him down now as one of the most gifted central defenders in the world.
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Still a joker though. Asked how he had helped under Antonio Conte to transform Chelsea from 10th in the table last year to Champions and potential Double winners this time, he grinned: “I am the magic, no?”
But the Brazilian then added: “Of course not. Two years ago Chelsea won the title.
“Last season was not a good one but this season we did great, not just because of me but because of everybody. Because of the commitment, the desire, the mentality we put on the pitch every day. Every day we are working hard and that’s why we deserve this.
“I was winning in Paris. I went to Paris for two years and won all the titles in France. I had a great life, I had great credibility there.
“I had everything in Paris and then I took a risk to come back to one country that was not that happy with me. They always criticised me here – even with me winning the Champions League, Europa League, playing all the games.
“That’s why it was a risk and I love the risk.
“If you don’t take risks in your life you never feel something new.”
Chelsea star David Luiz had a good life at Paris St-Germain
Luiz’s team-mate, Brazilian midfielder Willian, has insisted that he does not want to leave the club this summer.
Willian, 28, who is a target for his former manager Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, looked likely to be sold this summer after spending most of the season with Chelsea on the bench.
But he has said he wants to stay to play Champions League football next season.
“’Yes. I have a contract with Chelsea until 2020 and I am very happy here.” he said.