Former Chelsea defender David Luiz has revealed a brutal encounter with Blues owner Roman Abramovich in which he was quickly dismissed after a face-to-face meeting. The tale is from before the 2012 Champions League final, in which Chelsea beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Luiz had been sidelined for a month with a hamstring injury but played through the pain to help his side to glory.
The Brazilian came through the full 120 minutes and even had enough energy to bury a penalty in the shoot-out.
However, before the match he crossed paths with Abramovich and was sent on his way in brutal fashion.
“Roman Abramovich spoke to me on the day of the game and asked, ‘How is your leg?’ I told him, ‘It does not matter, I play with my head and my heart’,” Luiz reflected.
“He said, ‘Go away, I don’t want to see your face, I am so nervous!’ I said to him, ‘Don’t worry, we will win’.
“But it could have gone badly wrong. Imagine if I’d been forced off after 10 minutes, or I made a mistake for a goal because I could not run? It was a big, big decision.”
Luiz continued: “I was the only Brazilian in this game, that meant a lot. I had many things in my head trying to block out the pain — the dream, the love, the adrenalin.
“After the game, with the trophy, no one cared about my leg, not even me. It was only in the middle of the night when the adrenalin wore off that the pain returned.”
Nine years have passed since that incredible night in Munich in which Didier Drogba’s netted a dramatic 88th-minute equaliser.
But upon further reflection, Luiz is unsure if he should have even featured.
“I perhaps should not have played, but some special people encouraged me to take that step, to play even though I was not fit,” Luiz said.
“They told me not to be scared. There was big pressure after that.”
Luiz has since moved across London to Arsenal and is unsure what his future has in store following offers from the Middle East and South America.
He added: “The offers so far, they did not touch my heart. I want to stay at a high level. Maybe that will be in the Premier League.”
Arsenal have a number of options at the back and Ben White’s £50million arrival from Brighton has pushed Luiz further down the pecking order.