DAVID LUIZ DEPARTS

David Luiz has today completed his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

The Brazilian signed for the Blues from Benfica on the final day of the 2011 January transfer window, the same day we acquired the services of Fernando Torres.

He made his debut as a late substitute at home to Liverpool, before making his first start in a goalless draw at Fulham soon after. An acrobatic overhead cross deep in the opposition half in the game at Craven Cottage provided Chelsea supporters with a glimpse of his flair and technical abilities, and there would be far more examples during his time at the club.

Major highlights of his first season as a Chelsea player were two important goals, both scored against the Manchester clubs.

His first for the club came against Man United at the Bridge in an eventful midweek contest. Trailing 1-0 to a Wayne Rooney goal, David Luiz fired us level with the sweetest of strikes before Frank Lampard netted the winner from the penalty spot. Soon after he set us on our way to an important 2-0 victory against Man City, expertly heading home from a Didier Drogba corner.

Injury sustained on international duty led to him missing the start of the 2011/12 season, Andre Villas-Boas having now taken over from Carlo Ancelotti, but he returned to the side in September, scoring his first Champions League goal for the club against Bayer Leverkusen and subsequently establishing himself as a regular at the heart of our defence.

The second half of that season is one that will live long in the memory of all Chelsea supporters, and David Luiz more than played his part.

Roberto Di Matteo was now at the helm and, in one of the Italian’s first matches in charge David Luiz was outstanding alongside John Terry as we overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Napoli to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals.

Unfortunately he picked up an injury in our 5-1 FA Cup semi-final win against Tottenham Hotspur which ruled him out of the final, as well as both legs of our Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

However, following an intense rehabilitation programme he was passed fit to play in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich and did brilliantly to come through the entire 120 minutes, with the Blues under pressure for long spells. He went on to score in the penalty shoot-out as we lifted the trophy for the first time in our history.

The following campaign began with the Brazilian a regular, and in the FIFA Club World Cup in December, Rafael Benitez, who had replaced Di Matteo, deployed David Luiz in a central midfield role for the first time at Chelsea. His defensive qualities enabled him to offer protection to the back four, while his unquestionable talent on the ball provided a useful option in the opposition half.

In April 2013 he scored three times in quick succession, including in both legs of our Europa League semi-final against Basel, and a goal in our 3-0 win at Fulham was a stunning effort from 35 yards.

He also started in the Europa League final, against his former club Benfica, as we tasted success on the European stage for the second consecutive season.

In David Luiz’s final season at the club, under Jose Mourinho, his involvement was limited early on due to injury.

He came back into the side and played in the centre of defence at times, although some of his best displays came when he was used in midfield, as he was in wins against Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal.

David Luiz’s final appearance for the club came as a second-half substitute against Norwich City, the penultimate game of the 2013/14 campaign.

He ends his time as a Chelsea player having made 131 starts and 12 substitute appearances. He scored 12 goals during his Stamford Bridge career.

The Brazilian leaves with the best wishes of everybody at Chelsea Football Club and we would like to thank him for his fantastic service.

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