Belfast Telegraph

Luiz determined to earn his place

David Luiz is not expecting to walk into the Chelsea first team despite becoming the second most expensive defender of all time.

But the 23-year-old insists he is ready to make his debut in Sunday's clash with Liverpool, less than a week after completing his £25million move from Benfica. The fee Chelsea paid for Luiz - £21.4million plus Nemanja Matic - is second only in value to the £29.1million Manchester United splashed out on Rio Ferdinand nine years ago.

"I always knew there would be competition because Chelsea is a big club and you have to be a top player to play here," he told his club's official website. "It is a big challenge for me, but I have a strong desire to get a space in this group and establish myself and learn from my new team-mates to become a better player and have more skills."

Luiz added: "The best league in the world is the Premier League, so I am so happy to be here playing with and against big players. All great players want to play against other great players, and I hope this is my time."

Like Torres, Luiz sat out Chelsea's 4-2 win at Sunderland on Tuesday night, having only arrived in London that morning. But he has told manager Carlo Ancelotti he wants to be thrown in at the deep end on Sunday.

"I hope I can play quickly, and I feel 100% to play if I need to," he said. "I want to help the team in whichever way Mr Ancelotti wants me to do, wherever in the team. As long as I am on the field, I am happy. I am most comfortable in the centre but can play on the side also."

Luiz is relieved to avoid having to go head to head with Torres, who he could have been forgiven for expecting to be lining up for Liverpool on Sunday while talks over his own protracted transfer from Benfica were taking place.

Aware he was being pursued by Chelsea for some time, the Brazil defender had no idea Torres would ultimately join him at Stamford Bridge.

He was therefore happy he would no longer have to face the Spain striker, who gave him a torrid time in Liverpool's 4-1 Europa League thrashing of Benfica in April.

"He is difficult of course because he is a big player," Luiz said. "So now I am so happy that I can play in the same team as him and not against him."


From Belfast Telegraph