David Luiz: 'I can't wait'
Fresh from putting pen to paper on his five-year, €49.5m transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, Brazil star David Luiz has said he cannot wait to play with his new teammates at the capital club once the World Cup is over.
The deal for Luiz, 27, to move from Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain was struck back on May 24 - the player wanted to go into the world cup without transfer speculation hanging over his head, despite the transfer window's not yet having opened - but on Friday the deal was clinched when the Brazil stopper signed on the dotted line.
"PSG is happy to announce the arrival of Brazil international David Luiz from Chelsea FC for a duration of five years," read the official statement on Paris Saint-Germain's website, to whom the flamboyant defender gave his first interview upon signing for the French champions.
'A new stage in my life'
"Right from the first contact I had with Paris Saint-Germain, I was very happy," Luiz told PSG.fr. "They're a great club with a long history and fantastic plans. They have wonderful infrastructure and a lot of fans. This is a new stage in my life, and I can't wait to play with my new club so I can show what I can do. I'm impatient to play alongside my new teammates - my Brazilian compatriots for sure - but also the others."
Luiz will not be short of homeland comforts at his new club, where fellow Brailians Thiago Silva, Maxwell and Lucas Moura - not to mention Brazil-born Italy international Thiago Motta - will be sure to extend him a warm welcome and help him acclimatise to France and Ligue 1.
"The fact that there are numerous Brazilians already at Paris Saint-Germain will be a great help, there's no doubt about that," he said. "They're great players but also great friends. The feeling among us is very good and we'll be able to utilise this to help Paris Saint-Germain achieve good results. Everyone wins!"
In particular, Luiz has developed a strong understanding with PSG and Brazil captain Thiago Silva, alongside whom he will constitute the first-choice central defensive pairing in Laurent Blanc's side.
"We met each other when we started playing together in the national team, and we created an affinity and friendship," Luiz explained. "Thiago Silva is a great friend and a great player. Having the chance to play alongside him in Paris is a real joy. We get along well both on the pitch and off it, so it will be easy for us to spend a lot of time together for both club and country."
However, it wasn't just the ties with his compatriots that convinced Luiz to make the move to Paris, with a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic also playing a role in his decision.
Zlatan's ten cents
"I knew Zlatan already. I first met him when he played for Inter and then when Chelsea met PSG (a 3-1 win for the French club in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final on April 2, 2014)," Luiz recalled. "At half-time, in the tunnel, we spoke a lot. He was one of the decisive factors in my decision to move to PSG. He always told me he would like to see me playing for his team. In that match, we got into several challenges with each other and he spoke to me a lot. We sledged each other a fair bit!"
Once the World Cup - where Luiz and Thiago Silva won the opening match 3-1 over Croatia on Thursday - has finished, the former Benfica centre-half will make his move to Paris, where the Champions League (2012) and Europa League (2013) winner with Chelsea is hoping to take his career to the next level.
"I hope we win everything, that we go all the way in every competition we enter," he said simply. "I want to be champion of France and win all the cups, but most of all the Champions League, which is every player's dream. You can be sure that we'll do everything we can to give the Paris fans the chance to celebrate a European title."