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Thu Apr 24 05:50:31 SAST 2014

Chelsea's Luiz inspires world’s best amateur footballers

Mazola Molefe in Barcelona | 25 August, 2012 09:390 Comments
David Luiz of Chelsea looks on during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Villa Park on August 12, 2012 in Birmingham, England
Image by: David Rogers / Getty Images

CHELSEA and Brazil international defender David Luiz has used his rags to riches story to inspire 100 of the world’s best amateur footballers.

The 2012 Champions League winner with the Blues joined the Stamford Bridge club from Portuguese side Benfica in January 2011 for a €25 million fee, and is now looking ahead to his debut World Cup in his home country.

Luiz told footballers at The Chance, a talent search competition by Nike for unsigned players aged 16-21, that he has remained humble despite his price tag and his weekly wage at Chelsea.

“I know what it is like to be rejected by a club because it happened to me when I was 14. But I got my second chance and I believe I have used it well,” said the central defender.

Luiz was born in Diadema, a city in Sao Paolo 25 years ago and admitted to have a poor family background.

“It doesn’t matter how much money I make. The first step is to always remember where you come from and support your family. That is how I continue to be successful and now I play for one of the best clubs in the world, the Champions of Europe Chelsea,” the curly-haired player said.

The 100 teenagers Luiz was inspiring in Barcelona were cut down to 52 during the Chelsea players’ visit to Spain, where he also watched Barcelona beat rivals Real Madrid 3-2 in the Super Cup first leg semifinal at the Nou Camp.

And there will be more cuts by the end of the weekend, with two South African youngsters – Teboho Tsotetsi and Melusi Zulu – confident their names will be called out.

Nicholas Mynhardt has since been left out of the 52 and will have to support his compatriots from the sidelines.

Luiz is also looking to his first World Cup, having just started to impress then Brazil coach Dunga before the 2010 soccer showpiece in South Africa.

But he was not selected.

“Its every player’s dream to be at the World Cup and even more important for the player if it is in your own country,” said Luiz.

He has been praying to get a chance to earn more caps for Brazil (he has 11 so far) and was on Thursday named in coach Mano Menezes’ squad to face Bafana Bafana in Sao Paolo on September 7.

The match is the official handover of the 2010 World Cup hosts, South Africa, to the next country that will stage the tournament, Brazil in 2014.

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