David Luiz Reveals Difficulties of Becoming a Professional Footballer in Brazil
Chelsea defender David Luiz has revealed some of the difficulties he faced as a young professional in Brazil, during his ascent to professionalism. Luiz had spells at São Paulo and América Mineiro before being signed by Vitoria as a 14 year old, where he settled until Benfica signed him in 2007.
Recalling his time at América, Luiz joked, “It was the only time in my life I've ever known hunger. I ate beans beaten in the blender twice a day for 10 days. They wanted me to sign a contract, but I did not come back!”
Luiz eventually settled in Salvador with Vitoria, some 1200km away from his home town, “I asked my mother to pay for the flight. It was too far by bus. We had to pay in installments, because only rich people flew by plane.
“I played as a number 10 and was on the bench and we used three defenders, like at Chelsea. We went to a competition in Santiago, in Rio Grande do Sul. It was 75 hours by bus from Salvador. Two of our defenders were injured during the trip, but our coach did not want to change the system,” Luiz says of his transformation into a central defender.
The 30 year old also revealed that his father became his main inspiration, “It was my father's dream that I would become a professional. He almost made it to the main team of Atlético-MG, but he was out of money and had to get another job. He used to tell me, "This is for you, not for me.”