For a few minutes today, Paris Saint-Germain quasi-defender David Luiz was a hero.
Allow me to frame the scene: Champions League. Round of 16. Second leg. Stamford Bridge, London. Evening. Mood lighting. Noise.
It’s the 86th minute and Chelsea is winning 1-0 at home, in front of a boisterous crowd. The finish line is clearly visible.
An out-swinging corner kick is whipped into the Chelsea box from the right. Rising to meet the ball was former Chelsea “defender” David Luiz — the same David Luiz that Paris Saint-Germain bought from Chelsea last summer for a whopping way, way too much money (50 million pounds).
A determined bullet header shot straight past Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, whose world-class reflexes didn’t even have a chance to register. He stood motionless as I began to wonder about next steps. Would Sideshow Luiz celebrate? Would he be able to control his emotions in front of his former employer’s fans, or would he follow in the footsteps of former Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck, who earlier this week went semi-batshit when he scored for his new team, Arsenal, at Old Trafford?
As Luiz wheeled away, the answer was obvious, and I felt happiness envelop my body.
“Enough with this non-celebration-in-front-of-my-ex-fans nonsense,” I thought. “You have new fans, Dave. Also, it’s a massive game, on a massive stage, and you just scored against a team managed by a man who basically thought you were useless.”
But I had doubts about whether the Brazilian had a ruthless streak in him, because prior to the first leg in Paris, Luiz told reporters, “If I score for PSG it will be nice. I want to do my best for my team but if I score against Chelsea I don’t celebrate out of respect.”
Disgusting, I know. This man, who can barely manage to maintain positional discipline on the field, was trying to act as if he could control a moment of madness. But maybe he could. Maybe this is one of those rare times that Luiz has control over his body.
But then there he was, in the 86th minute, screaming like a madman because of course that’s what you should do. That’s what you have to do. That’s why David Luiz was a hero. Temporarily. That is, until he apologized.
After the game, Luiz said, “I said I wouldn’t celebrate but my emotions I couldn’t control. Thank you to Chelsea and sorry I celebrated because I was so emotional.”
Sigh. Get out of here with that nonsense, man. David Luiz has a lot to learn from Diego Costa about ruthlessness, but at least this was a first step. Next time, David, celebrate, but drop the apology. You’ll feel better about yourself in the morning.