David Luiz was part of the Chelsea side which memorably lifted the Champions League in 2012, and the Brazilian sees no reason why the current side can’t emulate that feat next month in a stadium he knows ever so well.
The Blues take on in-form Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon Stadium tomorrow in the first leg of our semi-final, well aware it will take an impressive display to limit the threat of Diego Simeone’s side, the current La Liga leaders, and head back to London with a positive result.
David Luiz missed the semi-final two years ago through injury, but saw his team-mates defy the odds to overcome Barcelona. With this season’s showpiece taking place at the home of his former club Benfica, the Estadio da Luz, he needs no extra incentive to help the Blues progress to a final against Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.
‘I want to be a champion at the Estadio da Luz but first we have a match tomorrow and hopefully another match in the future,’ he said.
‘We are all enthusiastic, playing in a semi-final is important for all. Atletico have great history and have won many titles. It’s a dream to play in a semi-final, I was lucky enough to play [in the final] two years ago and I’m still thirsty for it. Everybody has a dream, tomorrow will be a great game and I’m privileged to play in such big matches.
‘I think we have a great team, we’ve managed to reach the semi-final, we all want to win and let’s hope we can get to the final.’
Jose Mourinho’s side secured our place in the last four by overturning a 3-1 deficit from the first leg against Paris Saint-Germain, with David Luiz outstanding in the 2-0 win at the Bridge, displaying unbelievable energy and desire in midfield as the game flowed from end to end in the closing stages.
‘My opinion is that we played a great match in Paris, there were one or two moments in that game when they made the most of our mistakes and scored but we managed to win in the return game at Stamford Bridge.
‘Our idea is to play well with intensity but football is always measured in results. We always work in the same manner and what I’m always happy about is the attitude of the team.’
Atletico are blessed with talented players throughout the side and, as well as being on course for the Spanish title, they saw off Barcelona in the quarter-finals, progressing 2-1 on aggregate.
In order to succeed here tomorrow we will need to cut off the supply lines to striker Diego Costa, a player David Luiz knows well, and one who has scored 34 goals this season.
‘Tomorrow is not a match between Diego and David, it’s between Chelsea and Atletico. I really like him and he’s a good friend but I hope Chelsea win the match,’ the Brazilian said.
‘He wants to win, like me, and tomorrow will be a great match. What’s the key? We have a plan but my boss didn’t speak about it so neither will I.’
The 26-year-old also had some kind words for Branislav Ivanovic, who misses the game through suspension.
‘I’m very sad he can’t play, he’s a great player and helps us a lot. He’s a great friend and likes to play big matches but we have other great players,’ he explained. ‘We know the left wing is very important for Madrid with Koke and Costa.
To still be involved in Europe’s biggest competition, particularly taking the strength of the quarter-final line-up into account, is an achievement in itself, and one that shouldn’t be lost on the players.
Once again, the Blues are the last remaining British side in European competition, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Recent history dictates you should never back against us when it really matters, and David Luiz is confident we can book a third consecutive European final.
‘Jose Mourinho knows the team he has and he knows what he has to do to win,’ said the Brazilian.
‘Our idea is to win every match, we’ve had a great season and now we are reaching the time when crucial details make a difference.’