It’s fair to say David Luiz is not your run of the mill Premier League player. Whether it’s bouncing around the football pitch or throwing himself into our photo shoot, the 24-year-old from São Paulo manages to mix a feet-on-the-ground humility with a natural star quality that makes him pretty hard to ignore. And not just because of that Sideshow Bob hair.
Signing for Chelsea in January from Benfica for £23m, he was named man of the match in his first full start. Only a few weeks later, he was awarded Premier League player of the month for March after popping up all over the pitch, making breaks and scoring goals with the flair of an attacking midfielder. Not what you’d expect from a centre-back, but then he is from Brazil. He's suffered criticism for his swashbuckling style during Chelsea's recent run of results but is not likely to quell his natural instincts. Perhaps he's a frustrated midfielder? "That's up to the manager," he tells us, admitting he used to play in midfield back in Brazil.
Luiz is a little eccentric, too, as witnessed by YouTube videos of him theatrically mocking his teammates’ post-match interviews. It’s an attitude that’s helped him settle in, despite not speaking any English before he got here. Predictably enough, the English players at Chelsea haven’t proved to be the most helpful of language tutors. “The first word I learned was ‘geezer’,” Luiz says, in Portuguese. “At first, they’d only teach me swear words, but now I’m starting to tell the difference.”
Photographs by Tom van Schelven
Fashion by Gareth Scourfield
(Top picture - Brown vintage leather bomber jacket, £1,475; tan corduroy vest, £215; red and green checked cotton shirt, £95; black and purple striped silk tie, £70; blue denim jeans, £125; all by Polo Ralph Lauren)
Grey and red wool jumper, £251; white cotton shirt, £240; navy, red and white striped silk tie, £108; grey wool trousers, £364, all by Dolce & Gabbana
Brown leather jacket, £490; beige cotton chinos, £200, both by Nicole Farhi. Red and blue checked cotton shirt, £100, by Hackett. Navy and yellow striped silk tie, £70, by Polo Ralph Lauren. Yellow leather belt, £95, by D&G. Brown leather high-top trainers, £75, by Lacoste. Red cotton socks, £12, by Falke
Red quilted jacket with fleece material, £1,824, by Moncler Gamme Bleu. Green, white and red checked cotton shirt, £95, by Gant. Green silk tie, £70, by Hackett. Beige corduroy trousers, £160, by DKNY. Brown leather lace-up boots, £155, by Levi’s