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Is Luiz the new Lucio?

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Tim Vickery | 16:14 UK time, Monday, 7 March 2011

Is David Luiz destined to be a pillar of the defence and a leader of men for club and country? With their latest Brazilian acquisition, have Chelsea signed the new Lucio?

There are clear similarities, not all of them complementary.

Luiz, already in Portugal with Benfica, first appeared on the radar screen of the average Brazilian fan during a disastrous World Youth Cup campaign in Canada in 2007, mixing up some slipshod defending with disciplinary problems.

It was all slightly reminiscent of Lucio's introduction to the great Brazilian public at the 2000 Olympics. With time running out and the team needing a goal to force extra time against Cameroon, Lucio led the charge out of defence. He was in a good position on the edge of the area and expected to receive a return pass from midfielder Roger. It did not come. Instead, Roger dwelt on the ball and was fouled. Before the free-kick could be taken, Lucio charged furiously over to his team-mate and headbutted him.

Luiz holds off RooneyLuiz has made a big impact for Chelsea. Photo: PA

Ronaldinho scored from the free-kick and Brazil forced extra-time but it was only a temporary reprieve. Despite being down to nine men, Cameroon scored a golden goal and took another step on the way to winning the gold medal. In the long run, though, Brazil had not so much lost a title as gained a top-class centre-back.

A couple of months later, Lucio was given his senior debut, thrown into the deep end in a World Cup qualifier at home to Colombia. I was in the stadium in Sao Paulo that day and vividly recall being especially curious about the performance of this new centre-back. Brazil were struggling and short of confidence, while visiting striker Juan Pablo Angel was in good form. How would this explosive youngster cope?

There was no need to worry. Lucio was quick across the ground, while firm but controlled in the tackle. He also came close to scoring from a corner. The home crowd spent most of the match booing their own team but Lucio did not let the atmosphere affect him, keeping his concentration to the end. His senior career began with a win, too, as defensive partner Roque Junior headed home the only goal deep into stoppage time.

Before long, Lucio was Brazil's number one centre-back. There were slips - such as the one that let Michael Owen in for the opening goal of the 2002 World Cup quarter-final against England. But even Bobby Moore made the occasional error. Game in, game out, Lucio was the rock of his country's defence. Comfortable bringing the ball out, he was also excellent at linking the team together. Indeed, his passing was often more positive than that of the midfielders in front of him. Crucially, with his aggression under control, he seemed to spread certainty through the ranks that Brazil would prevail in the end.

Might Luiz mature into a figure of comparable importance?

He would seem to have similar leadership potential. He comes across in interviews as bright, serious and a team player, the type of person who seeks to set an example on and off the field. He would also seem to possess more natural talent on the ball than Lucio. Luiz's goal against Manchester United was a moment of pure class.

Where Luiz loses out, perhaps, is in terms of defensive ability. Lucio's early impetuosity can be put down to an excess of youthful enthusiasm. In the case of Luiz, it is possible that his tendency to commit reckless tackles has a more fundamental cause. As a teenager, Luiz was released by Sao Paulo because they considered him too small for the position. Lack of height is clearly no longer a problem but sometimes players who experience a spurt of growth suffer a loss of balance.

Certainly, Luiz was thrown off balance last month by Karim Benzema when Brazil lost 1-0 to France. The Real Madrid striker was able to get behind his opponent, beat him for pace and in the air, and even slipped the ball through his legs inside the penalty area. The young Lucio looked instantly at home at senior level. The same has not always been true of Luiz. In the five friendlies he has played, he has had reason to be grateful for the covering work of his centre-back partner, the outstanding Thiago Silva.

Luiz in action for BrazilCan Luiz become a regular for Brazil? Photo: Getty

That partnership might be broken now because Lucio has been recalled to the squad for this month's friendly against Scotland at the Emirates Stadium. Back in July, when he was first appointed coach, Mano Menezes made it clear that this was likely to happen. The old guard would be rested while new players were tested. Now, after a phase of experimentation, the priority is on building towards July's Copa America, the most important competitive matches in Brazil's calendar in the run-up to the next World Cup. That means, Maicon and Elano, as well as Lucio, are back in the squad.

Menezes is also aware that he is coming off two defeats. Before the France game, Brazil went down 1-0 to Argentina, when the defensive work of Luiz could again be faulted as Lionel Messi scored a late winner. For football coaches, the long term is always dependent on the short. Menezes will strengthen his own position - and have more opportunities for future experiments - if his side can brush Scotland aside and give a good account of themselves in the Copa America.

The safe choice, then, would be to pair Lucio with Silva, leaving Luiz on the bench. But come the 2014 World Cup, which Brazil will host, Lucio will be 36.

The future belongs to Luiz. But will 'the new Lucio' be able to defend as well as the old?

Comments on the piece in the space provided. Questions on South American football to, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.
From last week's postbag:

Q) Surely my eyes were not lying when I was watching the 2007 Under-20 World Cup. Ever Banega was the best player on show for me. Is he still lauded back home given his resurgence of sorts at Valencia? Metronomic a la Xavi and breaking up play a la Nicky Butt, he had an engine on him, too. If there is one player I'd like to see fulfil his potential and early promise, it is Ever. Do you think he'll be able to move onwards and upwards now or is it another case of moving too early and being caught in the headlights?
Abu Sayad

A) I'm a huge fan, too. I first saw him in qualifying for that tournament, in the South American Under-20s at the start of 2007. He was in my notebook within the first 10 seconds of his opening game. Then he won the Libertadores with Boca Juniors that year playing the holding role - a tribute to his versatility. He did move very early - perhaps his first experiences in Spain reveal that it was too early - but he came out the other side a while back. Though he admits that his form has dipped a bit of late, I think he's here to stay. To my mind, Banega, rather than Cambiasso or Zanetti, was the unforgivable absentee from Argentina's World Cup squad. Banega has been in the side since the tournament in South Africa and seems to gel nicely with Messi, which could be the key partnership of the 2014 World Cup.


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  • Comment number 1.

    As a Gremio supporter, I watched Lucio (at Internacional) play when he was younger than Luiz is now; they are indeed similar in style, but I think David Luiz is a lot better when it comes to technique and pace. Pace may be due to being younger, but David seems to possess superior technique even considering how young he is. The mental aspects, which are to Lucio's advantage atm, will come as Luiz gains experience.

    Brazil (historically too - at least the squads that did not win the WC) lack physical imposition and David helps with that as well.

  • Comment number 2.

    What are the chances of brazil going back to playing with a back 3 of tiago silva, lucio and luiz so as to play with wing backs like Michel Bastos/Marcelo and dani alves/maicon?

  • Comment number 3.

    He's similar to Lucio in that they're both centre-backs, and they're from Brazil.... beyond that I think the similarities are fairly scarce.

    There is another guy he plays very similarly to, both in defence and attack ..... what's his name again....

    Ricardo Carvalho!?

  • Comment number 4.

    He'll never emulate the enthusiasm that Lucio shows whilst defending! All that high five-ing he was doing with his team mates during the second leg against Barcelona in the Champions League last year. Quality.

  • Comment number 5.

    Damned with faint praise Mr Vickery, no prizes for guessing which team YOU support :-)

    As in if he had the same debut with said unamed club I suspect the verdict on his potential would have been somehwat different!

  • Comment number 6.

    He is one of the best new defenders in the world for sure - great signing!

  • Comment number 7.

    "Is Luiz the new Lucio?"

    No, but he's the new Sideshow Bob.

  • Comment number 8.

    I feel like Luiz is funny enough, actually a combination of Carvalho and Terry. He's a real footballer like Carvalho, but also has the presence and combativeness that you see in Terry. This guy is going to get a few sending-offs in his career, but once he develops a bit more guile (hopefully with maturity) he'll be a legend.

  • Comment number 9.

    Carlo really has been good in the transfer market - Ramires, Luiz, and Benayoun would be very good if he weren't injured

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Tim - great column as always. On another note, having seen Spurs linked with River Plate's Juan Jose Vea Murguia today, is it possible you could tell us anything about the player?

  • Comment number 11.

    I would suggest that David Luiz is a better player than Lucio although this depends on the 'style' of play you want to adopt. Whether for club or country his manager needs to coach into the full backs and or defensive midfielder to automatically cover Luiz when he receives the ball and starts to run forward. This will negate a gap at the back should he over run or lose the ball. It is such an important part of Luiz's game and should be encouraged as he will be successful much more than unsuccessful with his forward forays. I'm really looking forward to watching Luiz and Alex together in the heart of Chelsea's defence.

  • Comment number 12.

    Is Luiz the new Lucio?

    Well they are both over-rated, Brazilian centre-backs who believe they're strikers.. So yes, practically seperated at birth!

    Now write a decent blog, for once..

  • Comment number 13.

    luiz is a strong defender and fast, so i dont understand why he fouls so many players when he is faster than most of them. This constance of fouling will stop after a while, however with age comes responsibility and i wouldnt trust david luiz with the captains armband, Terry always has my backing.

  • Comment number 14.

    13 - number of fouls he commits - the article puts forward the idea that maybe this a balance thing.

    2 - i think a back 3 is very unlikely, at least in the short term. Mano Menezes is very much a back 4 man

  • Comment number 15.

    12 - Lucio is over-rated? He has plenty of medals to put on the table, and he's been a winner over a consistent period of time. What else do you want?

  • Comment number 16.

    I believe Sidnei, also from Benfica, will be joining his former team mate in the Brazil squad in the future, WC2014? Who knows, could be possible!

    Sidnei is only 21 and already rock solid at the back alongside Luisão, another Brazilian International defender who was key in David Luiz's development and will also be for Sidnei.

    Luisão has been called for the latest Brazil squad too.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi Tim,

    I listen to the World Football Phone-In every week on the podcast and love it. I am half French and can confirm to you that we do indeed put the accent on the first syllable in "Miami". Thought you may want to know! I did laugh at that conversation!

    Charles, in Helsinki

  • Comment number 18.

    I really think Luiz could end up as a defensive midfield player, and he has all the attributes to be brilliant in that role.

    The one certainty is his ability and natural talent, the uncertainty is his personality and how quickly he will mature as a player.

    He could become one of the world's greatest players if he can turn this uncertainty into certainty.

  • Comment number 19.

    10. At 6:37pm on 07 Mar 2011, Zapsta wrote:

    Hi Tim - great column as always. On another note, having seen Spurs linked with River Plate's Juan Jose Vea Murguia today, is it possible you could tell us anything about the player?


    I second that request. All I can tell so far is that he's apparently an 'attacking midfielder', which really doesn't give much away.

    From what I've seen of Luiz so far, he doesn't really seem to warrant comparisons with such an extraordinary player as Lucio. That's the sort of thing you really have to earn, and so far I've not seen anywhere near enough from Luiz to be convinced he's in the same league. The only indicator is his price tag, but coming from Chelsea that's really pretty meaningless.

  • Comment number 20.

    lol at the question beneath the article - nicky butt in the same sentence as xavi and considered the benchmark for players who break up play!

  • Comment number 21.

    this river plate starlet linked with tottenham - i'd never heard of him, and can't see much at all on him in the argentine press.
    I presume he'll be in action soon i the south american under-17 championships in ecuador, so we can have a look then - but past experience has shown that there's a long way between u/17 and senior level, and a lot can happen in that journey.

  • Comment number 22.

    Perhaps it was the 1982 WC, I remember Ron Atkinson pointing out that despite our associating Brazil with samba football, they could be as brutal as anyone, and I would put David Luiz in this bracket. Quality finish against United that the expensive strikers on show would have been hard pressed to execute as well, perfectly getting on top of a high, awkwardly bouncing ball that was taking an age to drop, with Evra closing him down, undeterred, powerfully threading it through the eye of a needle into the corner, and then in the next instant, very visibly, to everyone except the ref, stick out a head high elbow to halt Rooney's progress. Not sure how long he'll be able to get away with that, and seeing as City's next league game is at Stamford Bridge, I might make a point of highlighting it on a McNulty blog. It'll be interesting to see how he gets on against Carlos Tevez. What are the odds on them both getting sent off in a Billy Bremner Kevin Keegan moment?!

    I was in Shizuoka for that Lucio error that let in Michael Owen in 2002, and I seem to recall he was prone to the odd one for Bayern around that time too, but I thought he was superb in SA, almost Socratesesque, though not as elegant, where it looked like he'd matured. I don't remember him putting a foot wrong, and he seemed to know exactly when to carry the ball into midfield himself, a la Alan Hansen. If anything, he seems more of an animal than Luiz, but controls it better. Perhaps Luiz is the more cultured footballer, but I suspect John Terry would appreciate Lucio more in the here and now.

  • Comment number 23.

    He puts to bed the claims that English football is too physical for foreign players

  • Comment number 24.

    I wonder whether Luiz could play in the holding midfield role?

  • Comment number 25.

    Tim, what's the situation with Diego Buonanotte right now? I know he was involved in a car crash which kept him out for a while, but he's back now and appears to have been overtaken by Manuel Lanzini and Erik Lamela. Do you think he's fully recovered physically, or does he still hold psychological scars?

    How good do you think Lamela and Lanzini are?

    Also would you say that River are now looking good to survive the threat of relegation that was hanging over them?

  • Comment number 26.

    Hey Tim,

    As you can see here:,

    my son Luiz posted exactly the same thing, i.e, a post about exactly the same issue in his blog two weeks ago.

    It would be cool some kind of acknowledgment for him, who is only starting a career as a sports writer.

    Thank you,

    Jose Luiz

  • Comment number 27.

    @GigBuffon I believe Buonanotte will always hold psychological scars, he killed his friends in the accident didn't he?

  • Comment number 28.

    I think his progress will depend a lot on who he partners at centre-back. It will take a few seasons to fully accustomise to fufill his true potential, John Terry - who has his critics - will be the perfect foil for him to learn from the odd error.

    At national level however, you will know more than me Tim - a lot more - I'm unsure who he will partner:

    Thiago Silva is a bit like Luiz for me, a lightweight version albeit but similar in style in that they both like the ball at their feet, go forward often, and possess great technique for the position they play.

    Luisao, perhaps the best option to play against, does what all good defenders do - defend. Not the best with the ball at his feet but like I said very intimidating, good in the tackle and in the air - your stereotypical centreback.

    I'm assuming Lucio is retiring soon, well in the next year or so however I think it will be his choice as I wouldn't want to be the manager to drop him.

    Henrique, Juan, Alex...I don't think they are top level.

    What about Breno? Was eagerly watching his progress. Had all the attributes to be one of the top top center backs and a fixture in the Brazil squad for a generation or two, do you know whats happened to him?

    Great blog as per Tim.

    P.S. Will you be hitting Wembley for the friendly against Scotland?

  • Comment number 29.

    Both Dirty fouling stinkers. So probably a yes.

  • Comment number 30.

    26 - laudable of you to defend your son and all that, and I wish him all the best, but I've never heard of him and certainly didn't read his blog (or anyone else's) before writing mine - so there's not the slightest need for any 'acknowledgement.'

  • Comment number 31.

    Luiz is a rich man's poor imitation of Fabricio Collocini!

  • Comment number 32.

    No way he is overatted. blackpool made him look ordinary at times today

  • Comment number 33.

    Great blog Tim!

    David Luiz has really looked fantastic since he joined Chelsea. He doesn't seem as brutal as Lucio though! Plus he has better hair. I look forward to seeing whether he can develop and perhaps usurp Terry as Chelsea's first choice centre back.

  • Comment number 34.

    I have to admit that I was sceptical when I saw that you were going to do an article with a player comparison theme, however you filled it out with enough facts and recollections to keep it interesting.

    As for Banega, I agree with you that his abscence from the World Cup was one of Maradona's biggest mistakes. I see his departure as a key factor in the remarkable decline of Boca Juniors from a near decade long reign at the pinnacle of South American football to the bottom half of the Argentine Primera.

    Had he not left Boca "too soon" I'm sure the team would be in a much better position now. Had he continued in the form he was in back in 2007 even for another couple of years he would have benefited from much more big game experience. How could Maradona have left him out of the World Cup squad had he been the most obvoius star of the one team that Diego could never have ignored?

    Having said that Boca were pragmatic when they chose to cash their chips after Valencias $18m offer for an 18 year old player with only 40 odd games worth of experience and no goals, given the possibility that he could subsequently have suffered a career threatening injury or dip in form at any time.

  • Comment number 35.

    cf #11, 18, 24, at first sight Luiz seems to cover a lot of ground and has attacking ability, perhaps he might emerge as a better midfielder rather than a centre-back.

  • Comment number 36.


    Buonanotte has been sold to Malaga CF where he will play for Ingeniero Pellegrini and with Invisible Demichelis, the best looking non defender in the game. He will travel at the end of the current Clausura, June 2011. I personally think that he does not carry a lot of psychological scars regarding that accident... he is a bit of trouble in the change room, yet he will do well in La Liga because size is not that important in Spanish football.

  • Comment number 37.

    What were Bayern thinking when they let Lucio go? He's easily been the best defender in the world since Maldini retired. Bayern have struggled without him, while Inter won everything with him.

  • Comment number 38.

    # 37 - Lucio left Bayern only because of Louis Van Gaal. It was one of Van Gaal's conditions to move to Bayern. Van Gaal HATES Brazilian players since he met Rivaldo at Barcelona. In fact, Rivaldo still played at Barcelona when Van Gaal demanded his departure.

  • Comment number 39.

    # 37 - In 2006 Beckenbauer (then working at Bayern) was asked which Brazilian player he would like to have playing at the German WC team. His answer was Lucio.

  • Comment number 40.

    # 31 - Luiz is a rich man's poor imitation of Fabricio Collocini!


    # 31 - Only in your dreams!
    Their only similarity is their hair.
    In that case, Luiz would rather shave his head!!!

    But Tim's blog is quite interesting for bringing into debate the replacement of Lucio at the next WC. Lucio has been a very consistent defender. Therefore, Luiz will have a long way proving himself.

  • Comment number 41.

    Could the v. many English fans and particularly journalists (including the BBC producer who promoted the blog) take note that 'Luiz' is not his surname? His full name is: david luiz moreira marinho. So, he should referred to as David Luiz or Moreira, or Moreira Marinho.

  • Comment number 42.

    Tim ––– I agree with your opinion of Banega, in terms of playing the holding position, I've even seen Valencia play him almost as a Full-Back, even Andrea Pirlo, the quintessential Deep Field Playmaker would have to turn his head all the way around and ask the Argentinean what he's doing back there. Banega & Messi's two-man act versus the Republic of Ireland last fall should be required viewing by all and proof positive that Messi doesn't need Xavi to thrive in an Argentinean jersey.

  • Comment number 43.

    41 - When it comes to Brazilian footballers there doesn't seem much point playing by normal rules of surnames - pointless pedantry. He was David Marinho in the 2007 World Youth Cup. If he now chooses to play under the name of David Luiz, then D Luiz becomes an acceptable shorthand.

  • Comment number 44.

    What is it with this 'new this' and and 'new that'? I'd like to think
    of Luiz as his own man, and I think it's insulting to both Luiz and Lucio to refer to one as the new other. It seems that there is a lack of originality, with everyone being a
    new version of someone else.

  • Comment number 45.

    44. At 05:20am on 08 Mar 2011, Allen_g wrote:
    What is it with this 'new this' and and 'new that'? I'd like to think
    of Luiz as his own man, and I think it's insulting to both Luiz and Lucio to refer to one as the new other. It seems that there is a lack of originality, with everyone being a new version of someone else.

    - - - - - - -

    I don't think Luiz or 'david luiz moreira marinho' as we have been warned, would mind too much about being compared to a defender such as Lucio. Players need a benchmark to look up to when playing and gives them someone to surpass, you often hear players stating who their idols are and they dream of being in their hero's shoes, so if Luiz is compared to a successful compatriot then he won't mind, he could do alot worse, such as being compared Collocini, which would surely make some people wind their necks out in disagreement so you can't win.

    Being compared to an experienced league, european cup and world cup winning player is no insult.

  • Comment number 46.

    David Luiz is ultimate modern type of defender,that is, as good as indefending as well as in attacking. He is the new 'PELE' of defenders. Period.

  • Comment number 47.

    If you go back 7 or 8 years to when Lucio was just coming into his prime, he was one of 6 central defenders that were head and shoulders better than everyone else. They were:

    Lucio 25
    Cannavaro 29
    Nesta 27
    Ferdinand 24
    Samuel 25
    Terry 22

    Is Luiz in this class? At the moment, definately not. Frankly, he's not better than Alex at present because he can't tackle and for a central defender this is pretty fundamental.

    I actually feel his game is better suited to playing the holding role in midfield - the position he was playing for Sao Paulo before they released him as a junior.

    Chelsea have completely wasted another £75m of RA money during the winter transfer window on 2 players that are simply not good enough for where us Chelsea fans want to go. Look at the squads of Barcelona & Real Madrid and there is an amazing difference in quality.

    Lucio will be remember as the greatest Brazilian central defender - Luiz won't be remembered.

  • Comment number 48.

    #47 Sami Hyypia was better then than Ferdinand or Terry could ever hope to be.

  • Comment number 49.

    Sorry, I forgot that Liverpool fans live up in the clouds :)

  • Comment number 50.

    At 48. Hyypia was good. Very good, in fact. But he wasn't that good.

    Back to the topic of the piece, I think that David Luiz is a fantastic defender. Rather than compare him to Lucio, I would compare him to Ricardo Carvalho, and like the Portuguese David Luiz is very comfortable on the ball, takes no prisoners and seems tough both mentally and physically. Everyone was talking about the Torres deal but I think Chelsea pulled one out of the bag here: I think they've signed a (potentially) world class centre half that other clubs will be looking very enviously at for the next 7 or 8 years.

  • Comment number 51.

    Is Luiz the new Lucio?

    No. He's better

  • Comment number 52.

    David Rolls an egg down the hill at Easter

  • Comment number 53.

    I'd argue that Gary Cahill of Bolton Wanderers is a better player.

  • Comment number 54.

    in my honest opinion andrea ranocchia is the closest thing to a new lucio i've personally seen. Sure I'm biased (as an inter fan) but he's fantastic on the ball (played as a striker I believe as a kid for a lot of the time), shows the same passion and commitment to every tackle and every 50/50 that Lucio does, and has much better composure than David Luiz does - esp for his age.

    Not too far off on the price as well - though I bet no one's ever heard of him here!

    Destined to be one of the greatest Italian centre backs ever.

  • Comment number 55.

    #47 David Rolls - Although I don't agree with Bigheavyballbag about Hyypia, I am not sure that I would put either Ferdinand or Terry in the top 6 defenders in the world at that time. I feel that it is a case of English players being overhyped by the media being transferred for too much money because of the hype that surrounds the Premier League

  • Comment number 56.

    " 47. Lucio will be remember as the greatest Brazilian central defender -Luiz won't be remembered."

    I don't get it, he's only 23 and somehow you know his future career and that he won't be remembered?

    David Luiz has all the right qualities to continue improving, and I hope he does.

  • Comment number 57.


    Nesta is the man i'd take from this list as the best Centre Back of this generation.

    Terry I'm unsure is in the same class as the others, certainly not in the class of Roberto Ayala who has not been mentioned.

    There are players who fall under the radar. Carvalho is an awesome Centre Back and has been for the majority of the last decade. Then you have to consider Ronny Johnsen who for me was massively underrated during his prime.

    I would not rate Hyppia in this class, i'd have him somehwere amongst Jaap Stam and Sol Campbell, as players who were defensive rocks but could not generate play from the back.

  • Comment number 58.

    55. At 10:34am on 08 Mar 2011, Howler317 wrote:
    #47 David Rolls - Although I don't agree with Bigheavyballbag about Hyypia, I am not sure that I would put either Ferdinand or Terry in the top 6 defenders in the world at that time. I feel that it is a case of English players being overhyped by the media being transferred for too much money because of the hype that surrounds the Premier League


    Out of interest, who would you put in the top 6 central defenders in the world in the 2002-2006 era?

    I would have: Cannavaro, Nesta, Lucio, Ferdinand, Thuram, and Carvalho.

    I suspect that Rio's selection will cause controversy, but you just have to look at England's record defensively at major tournaments with and without him, in addition to his achievements at Man Utd. I also rate Carvalho as a superior defender to Terry...

  • Comment number 59.

    I am a Benfica fan, and despite living in England, I still follow Benfica.

    For a long time now I felt that Luiz could go on to become a world class footballer, such is his skill on the ball, his pace and desire.

    However he was very young, still is in fact, especially for a centre back, and I felt that he still had much to learn, which is ok as he's got time on his side. He still makes far too many mistakes, his timing can be awful at times, and despite his pace he can sometimes let people past him due to a lack of concentration. Does this have to do with a lack of balance? Perhaps, I just think he's still learning the game.

    I always knew that he would leave for a big club in Europe, but I felt it would be good for him to stay for Benfica for a few years under the calming influence of Luisão, who whilst not being amazing is indeed a good leader of men and his positional sense superb, all qualities he could impart to Luiz. To be fair, Luiz did stay at Benfica for the best part of three years, and he has come a long way, but it may still be too soon for him.

    After all, to anyone that follows portuguese football will know, he had a dreadful start to the season, the fans got on his case and he got more and more upset and prone to errors, which to me shows that mentally he is still not quite that strong. And that is the great difference to Lúcio, an incredibly confident player, very resilient. But, Luiz can still be very good for Brazil, the potential is all there, to be his own player.

  • Comment number 60.

    Got the ability to become an absolutely top defender at Chelsea. However I agree with earlier comments that he's not really stocky-rock-hard like Lucio.

  • Comment number 61.


    Don't know if you saw the full Chelsea / Man United game last week and although Chelsea won, with a good goal from Luiz he was very suspect at the back.

    Playing the right hand side of the centre backs he failed to cope with the movement of Hernandez and Rooney. Dropping off when he should be tighter to his man and being too tight when he shouldn't have committed himself.

    It might be a case of the Chelsea team getting used to Luiz but when he broke forward I didn't feel there was adequate cover for him and gaps were created. The second half was a reprive for Chelsea but possibly covered up Luiz's weaknesses of which will need to be addressed in the Premier League.

  • Comment number 62.

    @59 paulo_ac

    Off topic:

    You might want to google Planet Benfica, it could be right up your alley if you haven't seen it already ;) And I agree on your points about David Luiz fellow Benfica fan!

    Sorry for the plug Tim! Our team is full of South Americans as you may know. Our usual attack is compromised of 4 Argentines and a Paraguayan. (Aimar, Salvio, Gaitán, Saviola and Cardozo)

  • Comment number 63.

    Decent topic.. the only thing I disagree with is your suggestion that a balance issue may cause his clumsy fouls.. but you acknowledge that Luiz is very comfortable with the ball at his feet.. enough so to score a cracking volley.. surely if his balance is good enough to handle the ball well it should be good enough to defend if thats his job first and foremost..

    Slightly off topic but the question raised about Banega has brought to mind a player currently at my team.. Beram Kayal is one to watch in the holding role over the next year or two.. he has been a stand out and is still young. Bias may be at play here but I feel he may go onto a really big club if he bides his time and develops further..

  • Comment number 64.

    Luiz looks to be the complete modern centre-half, and looks well worth the money which chelsea have spent on him. He has all the qualities which a centre-half should have, big, strong, great reading of the game, good awareness. But what he has that most centre-halfs don't have with the exception of lucio and pique is the ability to pass the ball and pick out players and start attacks, almost like a defensive playmaker, he has the qualities to play through balls from the back and can spot a pass which is something we don't teach in Britain, we teach defenders to clear the ball as early as possible and knock it long. He also has pace which is now an extremely valuable quality for a centre-half and is almost something which you are expected to have in the modern game. People always compare defenders who look like they can pass the ball to rio ferdinand, but i can't remember the last time i saw rio play a blinding pass that switched the play or opened up the opposition and he rarely comes forward with the ball which shows how far behind in what we consider to be the modern centre-half, they should be able to dictate the play from the back which is something luiz does.

  • Comment number 65.

    Thoroughly interesting blog.

    Although in the context that it's used, I'm pretty sure it's 'complimentary' rather than 'complementary'.

  • Comment number 66.

    #64, agree about that passing comment. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember Rio starting moves from the back with well thought out passes, but they were very pre-meditated, not so spontaneous, like with Luiz and Pique, if not Lucio. They put a lot more pace on their passes, which requires greater accuracy, but the benefit is the pace on the ball can take out often more than one opponent. This is the beauty of Barcelona. Overall, I'm pretty happen where Man City are at the moment, but I get frustrated with players like Patrick Vieira and Shaun Wright-Phillips when they forfeit the advantage of the overlap with lazy-looking, underhit-into-the-ground bobblers that the team mate has to wait for, if the defender hasn't already intercepted it, often when the distance involved is only a metre or two. Sorry to sound like Warren Barton, but one of the first things I was taught in football was to deliver the ball how you would expect it to be delivered to you. I fail to understand why a player can't pass the ball straight and true, not to mention in a team-mates stride!

  • Comment number 67.

    To be honest I don't find many similarities between Lucio and Luiz.

    For me it's much more obvious the comparision between Lucio and T.Silva. Both have very similar manner of play focused on anticipation rather desperate tackles. Both are very good when driving forward, making runs with the ball, both have powerful long shots and are very good at headers.

    However IMO few things distinguish T.Silva from all brazilian defenders (starting back from the big Julio Cezar, who played for Juventus some 20 years ago). He is incredibly intelligent and self-controlled player, so solid, clean and almost faultless in his play. Lucio i.e. since his B.Leverkusen days is well known of producing some spectacular blunders with regularity, although excellent defender for rest of the time. I saw Luiz in some of his recent games and must say that it's unlikely he would be much different from the rest of the brazilan defenders as we know them in this aspect.

    Though probably it is preamture to judge Liuz definitively so far. I've seen some of him in Benfica and Brazil watched Chelsea - M. utd. as well. The boy has talent for sure. How good he will be is another question.

    Rumours were that AC Milan, having many different kind of relations with the Brazilian football (which I'm sure I don't have to explain to you Tim), followed Luiz for some time. Conclusion made by the technical stuff was he is not suitable for Milan and Rossoneri interest finished there.

    At the moment I would say Milan have by far the best brazilian defender and would stay that way for the foreseeable future.

  • Comment number 68.

    David Luiz has a long way to go before he matches Lucio. Lucio is class personified. The way he has played for Brazil and continues to play for Inter every week. His skilful defending is very good and the way he brings the ball out of defence is incomparable. Hopefully Luiz can match Lucio's record in quick time. Mano menezes can do a lot worse than have the experienced players back. The Brazil team looked like a bunch of novices in the last friendly against France. As regards the argument that he needs to use players playing in Brazil, well that is a recipe for disaster. They don't have the experience needed to play top-level football. He will need his best Europe-based players for the preparation of the WC 2014.

  • Comment number 69.

    Tim, on 41, 42 (copied below). You are then agreeing that 'Luiz' is not correct and it is not pointless pedantry.

    43. At 03:44am on 08 Mar 2011, Tim Vickery - BBC Sport wrote:
    41 - When it comes to Brazilian footballers there doesn't seem much point playing by normal rules of surnames - pointless pedantry. He was David Marinho in the 2007 World Youth Cup. If he now chooses to play under the name of David Luiz, then D Luiz becomes an acceptable shorthand.
    complain about this comment

  • Comment number 70.

    On the ball yes, defensively no where near Lucio yet.

  • Comment number 71.


    I believe Man Utd have already been linked with Kayal, hope he stays though, he would be perfect for Utd!

  • Comment number 72.

    luiz isn't the new lucio......
    lucio is the previous luiz!

  • Comment number 73.

    I agree with people that say this guy is going to be as good as Terry and Ferdinand. I think he is a tough footballing centre who enjoys the physial side of the game and won't be intimidated.
    I hope we don't jinx him, but it is safe to say this guy has all the attributes of a good leader and he will learn alot from John Terry in particular. Carlo may still gain some credibility if Chelsea finish the season strongly. We have to conced that he has had to rebuild and did extremely well last season, may be we expect too much, too soon and too often.
    I think it will take Ramires, Luiz and Torrestime to settle and I think younger players such as MacEachran and Van Anholt and possibly Sturridge will emerge from the lower ranks. Luiz is perhaps the perfect player to galvinise the newer members of the squad and he seems to be at the very heart of Chelsea.

  • Comment number 74.

    He's very good, but I think him being forced to the right-side of defence is hurting him, in his Benfica days he used to play at left-side or even left fullback sometimes (iirc).. do you agree tim?

  • Comment number 75.

    Being compared to an experienced league, european cup and world cup winning player is no insult.
    That's fair enough , but he isn't the new Lucio anymore than Messi is the new Maradona. I guess it's the phrasing I find disagreeable.

    46. At 09:14am on 08 Mar 2011, Mkaya wrote:
    David Luiz is ultimate modern type of defender, that is, as good as indefending as well as in attacking. He is the new 'PELE' of defenders. Period.

    As for this, it is tantamount to implying that Luiz is the greatest defender of all time. It would have sounded better if you'd used perhaps Bobby Moore or Beckenbauer as an example since Pele wasn't recognized for his defensive qualities; please get a grip. Luiz is good, but he's not that good - yet.

  • Comment number 76.

    I really dont think that Luiz can be the new Lucio. They are very different players. English cetre-backs are all the same, and that is probably why there is a tendency to make mistakes like these. The thing is that Chelsea needed a "new Carvalho". Good on the ball and someone that could make JT look like an outstanding player. David Luiz used to play as the centre-back on the left, and that allowed Benfica to have a very offensive left-back. Bosingwa and Luiz on the right side and JT and ACole on the left side will make a balanced back-four.
    The key is to find someone suitable to the anchor man role. Chelsea is still trying to find the new Makelele.
    The big problem with Luiz is that he was over protected in the Portuguese league. In England, if you are not English (if it was Skrtel making that tackle on Nani he would have been sent off), you wont have the backing of the refs. He will have to control his temper. If he does that he can become the new Carvalho of Chelsea's defense. But he will never be Lucio. It is like comparing David Batty and Roy Keane.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    With regards to Lucio being recalled to the Brazil squad for the upcoming friendly against Scotland, surely this is a step backwards and David Luiz needs to be persevered with if he is going to be first choice for the next several years, yes Lucio should be in the squad for the Copa America, but everybody knows what he can do and other players need to play.
    I've only seen David Luiz play 1 game and that was against Man United last week he fitted in quite well but made a few mistakes, but remember that was only his 2nd start and 3rd game for Chelsea, it looks like he is now a guaranteed starter for Chelsea and this can only help his chances to become Brazil's first choice centre half.

    If you have time time check out my blog at

  • Comment number 79.

    Lucio is Lucio, and Luiz is Luiz. I hate it when people try to compare players with others in this way Tim. How does a team move forward if the upcoming players are always compared to the older players in this manner? We might as well in tis country compare the likes of Lampard & Gerrard to Gazza and Best, were would this have gotten us, from a set of losers to another set in the national team!! Or where people compared David Bentley to David Beckham, where is the former now?
    Each player is an individual who bring their own identity and we should see them as that. I don't think that yourself Tim will be happy to be compared with your colleagues at the BBC in such a way, as many others will not like to described as living/working under the shadows of their colleagues. For football to grow and develop, new players will have to be given the opportunity to present their identity and style to the game, and the time it takes them to mature into the game is part and parcel of what makes the game interesting

  • Comment number 80.

    He's the new Sideshow Bob

  • Comment number 81.

    I dont think my comment was worded very well.. Yes, they are both good players and Lucio has won a decent amount of medals BUT whenever an english team play Inter the commentators cant wait to praise how amazing Lucio is! When the truth is he is no better (and some may say not as good) as the likes of Vidic, Ferdinand, Terry who dont get the ridiculous praise simply 'cause we see them every weekend!

    Proff of this is when one of the players come to England; like Arshavin. Commentators drooling over him against England for Russia, he moves to Arsenal and the praise carries on for a couple of weeks until they see he's just the same standard already at the club and it dies down!

    That was my point anyway, you can praise him as much as you want but give it a few weeks and it'll be on to saying whether he deserves a place ahead of the likes of Alex and co (excluding Terry obviously)..

  • Comment number 82.

    "I would put neither Ferdinand or Terry in the top 6 defenders in the world at that time. I feel that it is a case of English players being overhyped by the media being transferred for too much money because of the hype that surrounds the Premier League."

    Terry has been picked for the EUFA 11 more times than any other player in the past 10 years. A team picked by his Club managers. Messi also rates him as the best defender of recent times, but then again what do players and managers know

  • Comment number 83.

    Oops, That shold read "Club managers" rather than his club managers.

  • Comment number 84.

    Like the picture at the top. Luiz is a blinkin' good footballer we don't make many centre half's who can play football. Anyone who doesn't rate him is a United fan. With a bit of discipline he'll be right up there no doubt about that.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    Tim, I was watching Luiz play the other week and I thought exactly what you just said in this article, INCLUDING the question and answer about Ever Banega. With that in mind, would you please credit me, my son and my extended family on your blog please?

    Sorry, I couldn't resist - what an idiot that guy above is!

  • Comment number 88.

    I must admit, when I got home today I did not expect to read 'a la Nicky Butt' in a complimentary fashion...

  • Comment number 89.

    lucio is one of the best cb in the world, luiz isnt fit to lace his boots!

  • Comment number 90.

    best defenders I saw playing were Mauro Galvão and Gamarra (from Paraguay).

    these guys knew all the shortcuts... even when they were older, they would replace speed with knowing "the shortcuts" on the pitch... they would always be there on time, doing CLEAN perfect tackles.

    @RobGuima: after this Grêmio vs Caxias match, I definitely will need a heart replacement!

  • Comment number 91.

    12. At 6:50pm on 07 Mar 2011, AllanB wrote:
    Is Luiz the new Lucio?

    Well they are both over-rated, Brazilian centre-backs who believe they're strikers.. So yes, practically seperated at birth!

    Now write a decent blog, for once..

    WHAT?! Easily the best blog on bbc footbal.Keep up the good work Tim.

  • Comment number 92.

    lol.. Lucio is average at best so Luiz will automatically become an average player if you are making this kind of comparison

  • Comment number 93.

    Oh look, another Tim Vickery blog where someone is referred to as the new someone else....

  • Comment number 94.

    Was a superb goal against Man U - I think he plays with a certain desire and passion that certainly will suit Chelsea.

    I think Chelsea has [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]found a potentially great centreback in Luiz. He will certainly learn a lot from John Terry and could replace him in the years to come, although that is a tall order!

  • Comment number 95.

    Just wonder how many games he'll miss each season, seen him twice and he's very rash in the tackle, got away with it so far-but for how long?

  • Comment number 96.

    Yes Luis looks like he has class, but just like Lucio, and the Brazil team when they are actually getting the run around and look like losing, he resorts to dirty tactics.
    So yes Luis is the new Lucio!

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    93 - don't know if you noticed, but the idea of 'the new' in the article was to launch a comparison between two players of different generations who play in the same position - something i see as entirely valid.

    a while back we had someone posting on here who seemed incapable of following a simple line of argument. In 'Dances with Wolves' style I gave him a name - Incapable of Following Simple Line of Argument.

    Perhaps you're the new version of him.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    Luiz is ood, but he's nowhere near Lucio's class. Yet. Good purchase, but you expect that for £27m!!!


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