It’s a funny old game. Who remembers the reactions surrounding David Luiz’s Chelsea comeback in the summer? Some of you may choose to forget it all.
The Brazilian defender first joined the Blues from Benfica back in 2011 for £21.25 million, and despite conquering the hearts of those at Stamford Bridge, Luiz never quite convinced the doubters in comparison to John Terry and Gary Cahill.
José Mourinho’s second stint in west London saw him incline towards the same pairing, so it was with great disbelief that much of the football world saw Chelsea receive a record-high bid for the out-of-favour defender, as he joined Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain for an initial fee of £42 million in 2014.
Luiz’s flaws were then on full show, alongside many of his Brazilian teammates, as his national team were infamously thumped 7-1 on home turf against Germany, the eventual winners of 2014 World Cup, with the queries into his reliability as a central defender escalating further.
Football in Ligue 1 took the ex-Benfica man out of the limelight, somewhat, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see the amount of eyebrows raised when his eventual return had been announced.
Chelsea had formerly been interested in other big names to fill the void Antonio Conte believed needed to be plugged in, as they failed to land the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Kalidou Koulibaly.
The opportunity to bring back Luiz arose on deadline day, adding a scent of panic buy to the deal, but the Brazilian has silenced those critics by coming on leaps and bounds since his latest transfer.
Chelsea’s latest bout versus Burnley accentuated the £30 million man’s growth in popularity, with social media quick to show their appreciation for the curly-haired character.
Super performance from David Luiz so far. Flawless defensively and orchestrating Chelsea's buildup with and without the ball.
— MC (@mediocentroEN) February 12, 2017
David Luiz has easily been Chelsea's best player this season, remarkable player.
— Zane (@Walter_Tactics) February 12, 2017
David Luiz has improved so much. Ahn Ahn
— Micah Fanimo ⚽️ (@MixahFanimo) February 12, 2017
David Luiz is a different player since his last spell at Chelsea, so much composure today #cfc
— meg (@chewbaccy_) February 12, 2017
Just thinking how I'd feel on the Chelsea bench watching one-kneed David Luiz play a full 90 minutes better than I could fully fit.
— Michael Turner (@mturner1961) February 12, 2017
Such has been Luiz’s zero-to-hero rise that, even with a heavily strapped knee away to a physically imposing Burnley side, he’s kept club legend John Terry and hot prospect Nathan Aké parked on the bench, becoming Conte’s go-to-guy in the lauded 3-4-3 formation.
The Brazil international’s typically good construction of play shun through the pain barrier, a role maximised by the added cover of two more central defenders either side of him, whereas Luiz also racked up the most amount of interceptions (8) in a tight contest.
Luiz continues looks a shoe-in for the PFA’s Team of the Year, as Chelsea set their sights on the Premier League title. Not bad for a panic buy!