David Luiz insists that he is keen to return for another spell at Benfica, the club that gave him his big break in European football.
Luiz was just 19 when he joined the Aguila from Vitoria on an initial loan move, with only a handful of professional appearances under his belt.
The defender nevertheless did enough to convince Benfica to sign him permanently in the summer of 2007 and he went on to spend four years in Portugal before switching to Chelsea for a fee of €25 million.
Record transfer fees, a hatful of silverware at Chelsea and PSG and more than 50 Brazil caps have followed, but he still remembers his days with the Lisbon side fondly and recalled that he was reluctant to leave in the first place.
“I was scared to leave Benfica, scared to start a new story,” the current Arsenal defender revealed in an interview with SporTV.
“So Rui [Costa], the director of football, pulled me aside and talked to me. I was scared to bring my story at Benfica to a close, my love and the pleasure I had for living in that country and playing for Benfica.
“I told [Costa], ‘I don’t want to go, I want to stay, I want to stay.’ Rui told me something that touched my heart: ‘The doors will always be open for you. You need to show off your football to the whole world.’”
Luiz turned 32 on Wednesday and is entering the final stage of his career, and pulling on Benfica’s famous red shirt again is definitely part of his plans.
“I never lost my connection with Benfica, I have that in my heart, everybody knows I want to come back,” he explained.
“I want to wear the Benfica shirt again and feel that sensation. The day I come back to the Estadio da Luz it is going to be very special, one of the greatest feelings of my life.”
Luiz has been a fixture in the Arsenal first team since completing a move from the Blues last summer, racking up 32 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions and hitting the net twice.