David Luiz has confirmed that he and former boss Jose Mourinho were not close, whilst at the same time claiming Chelsea were keen to keep him last summer.
The Brazilian centre-back was offloaded for £50 million to Paris Saint-Germain in 2014, a deal that made him the most expensive defender in history, and tonight prepares to do battle at his old stomping ground of Stamford Bridge as his new side take on Chelsea in the second-leg of the Champions League’s round of 16.
Luiz on Chelsea and Mourinho
Ahead of that clash Luiz has offered an insight into how he made the decision to leave west London for Paris, whilst also confirming an interesting fact about his relationship with Mourinho.
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"I was in Brazil at the time and Mourinho said it was OK, I could leave if the valuation was met," Luiz said, as relayed by the Daily Express.
"Chelsea wanted me to stay - that is why they offered me a new contract – but I did not feel so much at home like I did two or three seasons before.
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"I left on good terms but I knew it was time for a new challenge. There were stories about Mourinho and I falling out, but he will tell you they are not true.
"We were never close – that is not his style – but there was and is a mutual professional respect."
Champions League meeting
In the fixture tonight PSG need to score to have any chance of qualifying, with Chelsea’s away goal at the Parc des Princes ensuring that they head into the second-leg with a definitive advantage. In front of a packed Stamford Bridge crowd the Blues will be expected to make it to the quarter-finals, and Mourinho’s incredible home record as a manager does very little to cast doubt over that assumption.
Yet for Luiz a victory would be very sweet indeed, particularly given how he was often criticised in England for his gung-ho approach to defending. At PSG he appears to have found a club more suited to his style, and his partnership with Thiago Silva gives Laurent Blanc a backbone that nicely complements the attacking vigour already in the squad.
Luiz at PSG
Tonight of course the Brazilian pair will be tasked with stopping one of the most lethal forwards in Europe in Diego Costa. The ex-Atletico Madrid man is experiencing something of a dip in form of late but remains an ever-present threat, and he’s exactly the type of rough and ready forward who could give Luiz a very hard time.
Regardless of how close he was or wasn’t with the Brazil international, Mourinho will be all too aware of Luiz’s lapses in concentration and surely keen to exploit them. His Chelsea side boast impressive pace in the final third and can punish on the counter-attack if given the chance to get behind marauding centre-backs.
Chelsea fans, how confident are you of getting around David Luiz in tonight’s Champions League tie? Let us know in the comments box below...