At the highly impressionable age of 15, David Luiz watched from Brazil as his country lifted the World Cup. The venue for the game where they beat Germany was the Yokohama International Stadium.
Now, a decade on, David Luiz is one win away from becoming a world champion in a different competition, but in the same Japanese stadium. Standing in his way is the team he supported as a boy. He has been looking back a decade and forward a few hours with the official Chelsea website…
Does it mean something to play the game in the stadium where your country triumphed in 2002?
Of course! I remember the final and Ronaldo scored and I celebrated like crazy. It was a special moment in my life because I support my country and I could see my country win the World Cup. Now I have the opportunity to play for a big club and in a final in the same stadium and this makes the final more special.
I will say thanks to God for everything because my life is special, first my health and after that many things like my football and my family. I just say thanks because I am so happy at the moment and now there comes one more opportunity to be happy in the future.
Can you remember where you watched the final?
I was in Sao Paulo with my family in a small flat in the lounge, they got out the banners and flags and popcorn. I was with my sister and my mum and my dad and friends and Ronaldo scored two goals and it was a fantastic moment. All the people came out and went to the street in celebration, and in Brazil it is the passion that is more than other countries. In Brazil when you are born you want to be a professional in football. The girls in Brazil love football as well.
Was Ronaldo your idol?
It was a great team, not just Ronaldo. Rivaldo was also special, so were both midfielders, Emerson and Kleberson, and Ronaldinho. All three defenders were good. Anderson Polga played in that World Cup too and he is at Corinthians now. He was on the bench for their semi-final this week.
That Brazil side was managed by Luiz Felipe Scolari, someone we know at Chelsea, and now he is back as your new national manager.
I have never met him. One time I did an interview, I think in my first year at Benfica, and this guy gave me a question – which coach do you like? – and I said Scolari. Now I have the opportunity to work with him, if I do my job well here at Chelsea and have the opportunity to play in the national team. Scolari is an experienced coach, he did well with Brazil in this World Cup, he did well in Portugal when they came second in the Euros.
And [Carlos Alberto] Parreira is there as well. As coach he won the World Cup in 1994 when Roberto Baggio missed the penalty. Now Brazil have two good coaches who work together because Parreira is the director.
All the European players at Chelsea say the Brazilians keeping telling them how big the Club World Cup is.
In South America this is a dream. It is a dream for me since I was almost a baby and I never imagined I would play a final in the Club World Cup. Now I have an opportunity to play this final and the people love this competition because it is an opportunity for the clubs in South America to play against clubs in Europe. All the people always say the big clubs are just in Europe but now comes the opportunity for the clubs in South America to show their football.
So I think now comes a difficult game against a big club. Corinthians have great players and a great coach and a good philosophy of football. They are the most tactical team in Brazil at the moment and they have an amazing support, as you can see from the semi-final.
I think for the final there will be 30,000 supporting Corinthians and it shows how important the people take this competition but it is good, I like it when you can play against these big clubs in a big game.I love these moments because the big games make you more experienced, more happy and more a good player if you play well.
Chelsea’s Brazilians will be speaking to Chelsea TV in the build-up to today’s final, from 10am UK time, There is also a match preview from Rafael Benitez. Live coverage of the game is on the channel in the UK and Ireland with full repeats during the day.