Chelsea new boy David Luiz has revealed he is driven to succeed by a promise made to his parents when he was just 14 years old.
The £25million January signing told his family he would get to the top of his game after persuading his mother to pay for the air fare to get him out of Sao Paolo and kickstart his career. Since then Luiz has delivered, establishing himself as one of Europe's most talented central defenders with Benfica, moving to the Barclays Premier League and representing Brazil at international level.
"My parents worked every day to give the best life to me and sister," he said. "That is why I am eternally thankful to my parents and I want to honour them for as long as I can. At 14 I moved out to start in football, 36 hours away from home. I told them I would come back home when I could offer them the life they deserve."
He added: "Thank God I managed to do that, to give them a better life and more stability. I also promised my mother I would pay her back the air fare!"
David is not the only gifted member of the Luiz family, though. His father Ladislao was also a promising youngster and played for Atletico Mineiro as a striker.
At the time the wages offered in the Brazilian top flight were not enough to sustain his family and he quit at the age of 20 before pursuing a career in teaching.
Luiz said: "My dad is my hero. He played until he was 20 but he had to stop to support the family with work. He told me he left the dream he was meant to lead to me."
Luiz spoke at his unveiling with the aid of an interpreter and, with fellow Portuguese speakers Ramires, Alex and Jose Bosingwa already at Chelsea, there is no rush to add English to his list of skills.
But the player, who will get his first Chelsea start at Fulham on Monday night, is used to being a vocal presence at the back and has vowed to get up to speed quickly.
"The biggest difference is the language barrier so I will do my best to learn English as soon as possible," he said. "I am a communicator on the pitch. It is important to pass messages not just with your feet but in what you say."
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