David Luiz: “This is the best atmosphere I’ve experienced in my professional life”
The extraordinary togetherness in the Brazil squad is clear to any observer and, in an exclusive interview with Goal, the Chelsea defender talked about what it’s like to be part of such a group and about his life as a professional footballer.
The Brazil squad roared to Confederations Cup success last year and David Luiz sees that as the turning point in the team’s fortunes.
“I think it was the time when we showed everyone the old Brazil. When I was young I always saw Brazil winning games on television with fantastic players and a fantastic team.”
“Everyone came together at the Confederations Cup: the team, the entire population. That was our power.”
“I remember afterwards I spoke to the Spanish guys playing for Chelsea and they told me that when they saw the Brazilian people singing the national anthem like they did at the final, they all said, ‘It’s impossible to win today.’”
Since the opening game of that competition, the Seleção have won 12 out of 13 matches.
“This is the best atmosphere I’ve experienced in my professional life,” revealed the 26-year-old.
“It’s really special to be part of this team. We are a family. I wish we had more time together.”
The centre-back was quick to praise coach Luiz Felipe Scolari’s role in the transformation of the team.
“Scolari is negative when he needs to be and very positive when necessary. He’s direct and transparent.”
"That’s really good for us, because if you can’t have conversations like that then you can’t really understand what needs to be done. He’s a fantastic coach and a fantastic person. He’s like a father to everyone.”
“He always says he wants us to work hard, to be tactically prepared and mentally ready, but that he wants everyone to be happy. I think that’s part of Brazilian culture and he never forgets that.”
Later this year Brazil will try to win the World Cup on home soil, something that they failed to do in 1950 when they were beaten in the final by Uruguay.
With 200 million Brazilians demanding nothing but victory, some say the pressure will be crippling. For David Luiz, however, the pressure is welcome.
“I think it’s a good thing because it can show us exactly how important it will be for our country when we win the World Cup.”
The former Benfica man went on to talk about why he considers his career to be about more than just winning trophies.
“The best title I have had in my life was when a woman stopped me while I was shopping in Lisbon during my time with Benfica,” the defender explained.
“She said, ‘Thank you’. I asked her what for and she said, ‘a week ago you gave an interview where you spoke about your principles, your love for your family, and the respect we must show people. You said it’s important to show your parents your love every day. You are my son’s idol. And yesterday, for the first time, my son told me he loved me.’”
“Of course, I always give my best on the field, but I think modern footballers have a big opportunity to make a difference in peoples’ lives.”