Celebrating David Luiz, the Most Technically Gifted Defender in World Football

Joe Krishnan@joekrishnanContributor INovember 3, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19:  David Luiz of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge on October 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Even after two-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge, David Luiz is still an ongoing conundrum for Chelsea

Signed by Carlo Ancelotti on deadline day in January 2011 for £21 million, Luiz has established himself as a key member of the Champions League and Europa League-winning squads and has improved greatly as he continues to rise to the top of European football.

Rarely has there ever been a defender so forward-thinking than David Luiz in the Premier League. The norm is for a hardline, 6'4" brute to win several aerial challenges in the game, while also flying into crunching challenges.

Luiz is very much the opposite and represents a softer approach to the game, making him more suited for a foreign league such as La Liga or Serie A. It could explain why a club who pride themselves on their technical ability, Barcelona, wanted to sign Luiz in the summer.

The Catalan club made the former Vitoria defender their top target last summer and failed with a bid, believed to be around £25 million, per BBC Sport, to sign Luiz, who confirmed he had rejected a move to the Nou Camp, per ESPN.

One week the Brazilian will put in a magnificent performance, closing down the opposition with his gusto, no-nonsense approach, helping his side claim a clean sheet in the process.

The next he'll nonchalantly dummy a pass back to the goalkeeper, putting his side in real danger of dropping points, just as he did in the 4-1 win over Cardiff two weeks back. 

It's this flailing inconsistency which has hindered Luiz for the majority of his career to date, and perhaps prevents him from being mentioned in the same breath amongst the world's best footballers.

But with his risky style of play comes a unique entertainment which is rarely sourced from defenders, rather more so midfielders and attackers.

It's his confidence on the ball, the tendency to dribble it out from the back, or even skip past his opponent with a sublime piece of skill, which makes him a joy to watch.

And equally, so frustrating.

There's times where you want David Luiz to go on one of his amazing runs, which leads to a 35-yard piledriver. However, with Luiz blocked in his own corner flag, it's arguably not one of the times to do so.

Perhaps it's best just to embrace his spontaneous approach to football, even if as a footballer earning several millions of pounds a year, one of his mistakes alone could cost his club millions of pounds in revenue. 

Those who have closely followed the Brazilian from his days at Benfica will know that he is not your typical old-fashioned defender. He prefers not to stick to his position, and as a result, you may find a gaping hole in the back four as he attempts to win the ball high up the pitch.

In truth, he is one of the best defenders at doing just that. Especially along the touchline, if there is a 50-50 tackle to be made, be rest assured that the 26-year-old will make a decent tackle to halt the attack.

But if there is one attribute which separates him from the rest, it's his passing ability. There are two boxes to tick in terms of separating a good passer from an average one, with the first being vision. Many players can see a pass, but more often than not, the accuracy of their pass is below par. 

With Luiz, he'll simply see a pass and play it. Calculating the risk involved simply doesn't cross his mind, and while sometimes this can be a risky tactic, the sheer perfection behind the pass enables his teammates to trust him on the ball.

The technique he hits the ball with is quite refreshing, too. With a pass, he tends to take a quickly before launching the ball forward to his intended recipient. Regardless of whether it's on his right or left foot, he has the confidence to play the pass.

Some might argue that he is suited better in the midfield, and there's nothing wrong in mentioning that, having seen the Brazil international perform admirably in the role in the past. But the argument against deploying the madcap centre-half in midfield is simple.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: David Luiz of Chelsea reacts after the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St James' Park on November 02, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by
Getty Images/Getty Images

From the back, he has more time to think about his next move or pass, unless the opposition's striker is actively seeking to put pressure on him. With that, space usually opens up in front of him, enabling him either to move forward with the ball at his feet or slide through a defence-splitting pass. 

In the midfield, though, there is less time to dwell on the ball. The centre of the park is one of the most dangerous places on the pitch, and with Luiz sometimes prone to losing possession, it would be dangerous for Jose Mourinho to place him there.

Against a side that presses high and operates with a pushed-up defensive line, Luiz is a real asset to the team. He can easily dink a lofted ball over the top, as we've seen him do with Fernando Torres in the past, and finds it easier to bring his teammates into the play. That's a crucial "Plan B" to have for a side of Chelsea's quality, especially if the creative players are struggling to find space.

With his frizzy hair, controversial winks and superb technical ability, the Premier League would lose a little bit of life if a player like Luiz decided to leave.

And with a player possessing such quality as a defender, I say it's time we stop the Playstation player comments and welcome this wonderfully crafted footballer into English football.


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