An SL Benfica player for four years, Chelsea FC defender David Luiz said he has since become "more responsible and wiser" as he prepares to renew acquaintances with his old side.
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David Luiz should know better than most what Tuesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg means to SL Benfica and Chelsea FC.
A Benfica player for four years before his move to west London in January 2011, Luiz admits he will "return to a place where I was very happy" when Chelsea visit the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in the Portuguese capital. Impressive in possession since joining the Blues, centre-back Luiz also looks to have put a handful of erratic defensive displays behind him, turning in one of his best performances in the second leg of their round of 16 tie against SSC Napoli.
"I moved to another league, to another challenge in another football country, so I am older, more responsible and wiser, but the character and the professionalism are still the same," said the 24-year-old Brazilian international at Monday's media conference. "I am pleased to return to a place where I was very happy, but the past doesn't matter now.
"The pressure is huge for both clubs. I know what the atmosphere and the fans are like here but we have the experience to deal with it. People know the love I have for Benfica – I will always love this club – but I am a professional and will do my job to help my team."
Benfica finished well adrift of FC Porto in the 2010/11 Portuguese Liga title race following Luiz's departure and, having drawn 0-0 at SC Olhanense on Friday, are third in this season's top flight – albeit two points off the summit. "The coach [Jorge Jesus] is the same, so is the philosophy of work, so I think they are at the same level now," said Luiz.
"It will be a great match played by two great teams. I will meet my friends and that's the way it's going to stay until kick-off, but after that each of them will do his work. I expect to be saluted by the fans but once the match starts things will change, the fans will support their team and no player is bigger than Benfica, so that's normal."