Having won the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea FC in 2012, David Luiz is eager to repeat the trick. First, though, the Blues must account for a Club Atlético de Madrid side in fine fettle.
"Everyone wants to play in a Champions League semi-final; it's a very important game," said the 26-year-old, a defender who has been employed as a holding midfielder for much of this season. "It's a dream from my childhood to play in a final; I did it two years ago but I am still hungry. Chelsea have a great team, we managed to get here and now let's hope we can get through to the final."
One of the greatest challenges for the English club, shorn of the suspended Branislav Ivanović, will be keeping at bay Atlético forward Diego Costa, scorer of 34 goals in all competitions this term. That said, there was no hint of trepidation on Luiz's behalf. "Tomorrow is not a match between Diego Costa and David Luiz. Diego will be hoping to win this duel, as will I. We have a plan for the match, as will Atlético," he said.
José Mourinho's team have jewels of their own, including former FC Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker Willian, who has come of age since the turn of the year. "Willian is a great player and a very good friend of mine. He has shown the world just how good a player he is," Luiz said of his compatriot. "He has managed to return to the national squad. He could be a very important player for us."
Another duo in the limelight are returning striker Fernando Torres and keeper Thibaut Courtois, now in his third season on loan at Atlético from Chelsea. "I am happy for [the reception] Fernando Torres received. When we saw that reaction he got at the airport we were all very happy," Luiz explained. "Thibaut Courtois is [also] a great player. He has done everything to be here and to be playing."
Saturday's costly 2-1 defeat by Sunderland AFC left Chelsea five points off the Premier League summit with three games left, but Luiz insists the players remain psychologically strong. "I wouldn't say there are [mental] gaps in our team. Our idea is always to play with intensity," the Brazilian said. "The thing is that football is always measured in results. I don't think there are [mental] gaps. I am really happy with the attitude of our team; maybe not always with the results, but with the attitude."
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