David Luiz at Chelsea: The highs and lows of the defender's first spell

Just two years after Paris Saint-Germain paid £50 million to make him the most expensive defender in history, David Luiz is back at Chelsea.

The Brazilian won three major trophies and the hearts of many Blues fans with a series of spectacular goals and heroic performances in key matches, while dividing English football at large with his erratic and occasionally disastrous style of defending.

Here ESPN FC takes a look at the highs and lows of Luiz's first spell at Chelsea.


1. Scores first Chelsea goal against Manchester United

Fernando Torres' blockbuster £50m transfer from Liverpool meant that Luiz was able to fly under the radar in his first weeks as a Chelsea player after arriving from Benfica in a £21m deal in January 2011 -- until, of course, Premier League leaders Manchester United visited Stamford Bridge in March.

As Torres laboured up front in unfamiliar surroundings, a dominant United seized the initiative when Wayne Rooney drilled a low shot beyond Petr Cech from just outside the penalty area on 29 minutes.

But Chelsea rallied after half-time and when Branislav Ivanovic flicked on a Michael Essien cross to the back post in the 54th minute, Luiz was there to rip a half-volley past the advancing Patrice Evra and inside the near post, with Edwin Van der Sar motionless. Frank Lampard's 80th-minute penalty then settled the match.

2. Wins the Champions League on one leg, scoring in the shootout

Luiz's first full season at Chelsea was a mess. Andre Villas-Boas was sacked amid chaos and dressing room revolt in March, with his team three points adrift of Arsenal in the battle for fourth place in the Premier League. But interim successor Roberto Di Matteo managed to salvage things with a miraculous success in the FA Cup and Champions League, and Luiz played a key role in the latter.

Having won Man of the Match for anchoring the Chelsea defence brilliantly at home to Napoli and away at former club Benfica, Luiz missed both legs of the Blues' remarkable Champions League semifinal tussle with Barcelona due to a hamstring injury that prevented him from training or even running. But it didn't stop him weathering a 120-minute barrage from Bayern Munich in the final alongside a similarly injured Gary Cahill at the Allianz Arena.

Chelsea trailed 2-0 in the shootout when Luiz stepped up to take their second kick in front of a wall of whistling Bayern fans. The Brazilian slammed the ball high past Manuel Neuer in a moment of nerveless defiance that turned the tide and helped them lift the trophy.

3. Scores a screamer against Fulham

Luiz only scored 12 goals for Chelsea, but almost all of them are memorable -- and none more so than the 35-yard thunderbolt that broke the resistance of a stubborn and disciplined Fulham side at Craven Cottage in April 2013.

Moving onto Eden Hazard's square pass just inside the Fulham half, Luiz surveyed his options and took two touches before smashing an unstoppable swerving shot into Mark Schwarzer's top corner. Not a bad way to mark his 100th Chelsea appearance.

4. Europa League heroics against Basel

By the time Chelsea faced off against Basel in the Europa League semifinals in the spring of 2013, triumph in UEFA's second-tier club competition had become the only way of redeeming a miserable campaign that had seen the sacking of club legend Di Matteo and the imposition of Rafa Benitez as a widely despised interim manager at Stamford Bridge.

Luiz, now deployed as a defensive midfielder, was again Chelsea's man for the big moment in Europe, stepping up to score crucial goals in both legs against Murat Yakin's dangerous side.

In the first leg at St Jakub Park, the Brazilian fired a low 94th-minute free-kick beyond Yann Sommer to give Chelsea a precious second away goal and narrow lead after Fabian Schar's penalty had cancelled out Victor Moses' headed opener. And after Torres and Moses put Chelsea in control in the return match at Stamford Bridge a week later, Luiz secured the Blues' passage to the final in Amsterdam with an outrageous curling shot into the top corner from all of 30 yards -- with his left foot.

5. Glory against Benfica

In recent years Chelsea have found out to their cost that Luiz tends to play well against his former clubs, but Benfica were first to pay the price. A year after producing a defensive masterclass to eliminate the Portuguese giants from the last eight of the Champions League, Luiz was again integral when the two teams met in Amsterdam for the Europa League final.

Partnered with Cahill in defence in the absence of an injured John Terry, Luiz was forced to show diligence as Benfica dominated territory and possession for long periods and Chelsea struggled without the drive and invention of Hazard, who also missed the match due to a hamstring problem.

Luiz wasn't the hero this time -- Ivanovic's towering header secured the trophy after Oscar Cardozo had cancelled out Fernando Torres' opener from the penalty spot -- but the Brazilian's performance was worthy of silverware.


1. Embarrassed by Hernandez in 36 seconds

Chelsea clawed their way back into the Premier League title race in the final weeks of the 2010-11 season, winning eight of nine matches between March and April to set up a showdown with United at Old Trafford at the beginning of May. But within 36 seconds their momentum was gone -- due in large part to a horrible mistake from Luiz.

United worked the ball quickly into the feet of Park Ji-Sung after clearing a long Chelsea free kick and broke forward. Javier Hernandez had drifted into the space between Terry and Luiz, whose poor body position left him unable to get any more than the lightest of touches on a pass through to the lethal Mexican. Petr Cech was helpless and easily beaten.

The normally amiable Ancelotti seethed on the touchline at Luiz, who responded with a bemused shrug. The Brazilian was substituted at half-time and Chelsea rallied after the break, but the damage had been done. United won the match 2-1 and eventually claimed the title by a nine-point margin.

2. Gary Neville's "10-year-old on a Playstation" remarks

Luiz's erratic positioning and decision-making was already a hot topic in English football when Liverpool visited Stamford Bridge in November 2011. The Reds ran out 2-1 winners, capitalising on numerous Chelsea defensive mistakes as the Villas-Boas' reign sank further into the mire.

The most costly errors were actually made by Luiz's teammates -- John Obi Mikel was dispossessed by Charlie Adam for Liverpool's opening goal; Glen Johnson escaped the attentions of Florent Malouda and Ashley Cole to score a late winner -- but it was Chelsea's flamboyant Brazilian centre-back who attracted the brunt of Gary Neville's criticism in Sky Sports' postmatch analysis.

"Whenever I watch him play, to me David Luiz looks like he's being controlled by a 10-year-old in the crowd on a PlayStation," Neville said, though later admitted he had overstepped the mark.

3. Shoulder charge on Jake Reeves

Luiz has never been a man to shy away from physical confrontation on the football pitch -- a fact that Brentford youngster Jake Reeves found out to his cost during an FA Cup fourth round replay at Stamford Bridge in February 2013.

Chelsea were 4-0 up and coasting into the fifth round when Luiz cut across Reeves during a tussle for the ball in the 86th minute and slammed his shoulder into the 19-year-old's face, giving him a concussion and forcing Brentford to finish the match with 10 men.

After the match visiting manager Uwe Rosler revealed that Luiz -- who was booked rather than sent off by referee Neil Swarbrick -- had visited the Brentford dressing room to check on Reeves and apologise for his actions.

4. Rafael's smiling nemesis

In May 2013, Chelsea were camped deep inside their own half, attempting to see out a 1-0 lead in the 89th minute at Old Trafford, when the ball ran towards the corner flag. Luiz beat United's famously hot-tempered right-back Rafael to the ball, using his arm and body to forcefully keep his fellow Brazilian at bay as he shielded possession and killed the clock.

What happened next left United and Ferguson incensed. Rafael petulantly kicked out at Luiz, who fell screaming to the floor and buried his face in the turf before shooting a mischievous smile as he waited for his opponent to receive an inevitable red card from referee Howard Webb.

Ferguson fumed and Luiz reportedly told teammates that his smile was for the United fans calling him 'Sideshow Bob' and worse as he lay on the ground. Chelsea won the match, so most of their supporters would probably class this episode as a high point.

5. Scores own goal against Paris Saint-Germain

Luiz became well acquainted with the giants of Ligue 1 well before his own move to Paris, courtesy of their dramatic two-legged battle with Chelsea in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in the 2013-14 season.

His first trip to Parc des Princes will not evoke warm memories. Luiz endured a horror show as Chelsea collapsed in the second half in Paris, after Hazard's 27th-minute penalty had cancelled out Ezequiel Lavezzi's early opener.

The Brazilian gave away a free-kick with a needless tackle on Blaise Matuidi in a dangerous crossing position on the left flank, and then contrived to bundle Lavezzi's teasing delivery into his own net at the back post. Javier Pastore's solo effort in injury time earned PSG a 3-1 win and ensured Chelsea would head back to Stamford Bridge with a mountain to climb.

Climb it they did, thanks to goals from Andre Schurrle and Demba Ba, but Luiz's performance at Parc des Princes did nothing to convince a sceptical Jose Mourinho of his long-term worth and the Brazilian left west London for Paris the following summer.