David Luiz’s top moments including Neville U-turn and Fergie’s ‘diving swan’ dig

David Luiz, after over 300 appearances at Chelsea and Arsenal, is set to pull the curtain down on his career in English football.

Ahead of the final two games of the season, Mikel Arteta confirmed that the Gunners would not be extending the Brazilian’s contract, who will now become a free agent.

“We already had a big decision to make last year when we had to extend his contract during the Covid world, the pay cuts and everything,” the Arsenal boss said.

“We managed to extend that for one more season. He’s given his best: I tried to help him as much as I possibly could and the club did as well. After some conversations, we decided it’s the best way to do it now.”

Luiz faces a race against time to face Brighton today, but even if he doesn’t, he will leave a lasting legacy in the Premier League and the English game in general.

Here are some of the most memorable moments from one of the game’s biggest characters in recent years:

An instant cult hero

David Luiz became an instant fan favourite after his 2011 debut for Chelsea

Signed for £25million from Benfica in January 2011, Luiz instantly became a favourite within the Chelsea fanbase.

He made his debut in a derby against west London neighbours Fulham and showed the combination of flair and steel that would make him a mainstay for years to come.

Luiz also displayed his first glimpse of the dramatics, where after a superb 90 minutes – which earned him Man of the Match – he carelessly fouled Clint Dempsey in the box conceding a penalty.

Petr Cech would save the spot kick and spare his blushes, but it provided a glimpse of the up-and-down nature that would define his game for the next decade.

From Playstation to ‘perfect’…and back again

Gary Neville once described Luiz's style as a "player being controlled by a 10-year-old on a Playstation".
Gary Neville once described Luiz’s style as a “player being controlled by a 10-year-old on a Playstation”.

It didn’t take too long for Luiz’s defensive deficiencies to rear their head and Gary Neville was always a particularly vocal critic.

He once infamously said that the central defender plays like he is being “controlled by a 10-year-old in the crowd on a Playstation.”

That’s a phrase that long lived with Luiz, but such was his form upon his Chelsea return in 2016, Neville described him as fitting into Antonio Conte’s team “perfectly”.

The U-turn didn’t last forever though, after Project Restart when he was sent off for Arsenal he laid into him.

“I have no words really,” he said. “I’ve said everything I’ve got to say over the last few years. He never learns, he’s so rash.

“You’ve just got to let him go. We’ve seen so many times he’s been unable to let the first mistake go and that second one… off you go.”

“A diving swan”

The Brazilian left Sir Alex Ferguson furious with his 'diving swan' act
The Brazilian left Sir Alex Ferguson furious with his ‘diving swan’ act

“The ref has been bought by the fact Luiz is rolling about,” Sir Alex Ferguson said in the aftermath of Chelsea’s win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Luiz had managed to get Rafael da Silva sent off in the closing stages, when after a coming together, the United defender kicked out at the Chelsea man.

He went down in agony, forcing the referee to dismiss his compatriot, but what was missed by the on-field official was Luiz’s cheeky smile at the Sky cameras.

“He [Da Silva] retaliates but Luiz quite clearly elbows him twice, then rolls about like a diving swan and that convinces the referee,” Fergie continued.

“He was smiling. It’s bad. What kind of professional is that?”

Calling a child a ‘liar’

Luiz's personality made him a true Premier League icon
Luiz’s personality made him a true Premier League icon

It was perhaps his personality off the pitch that endured him to supporters an neutrals alike and this is the first Luiz moment away from the game itself.

As part of a charity event that raised more than £71,000, Luiz and fellow Brazilian Oscar were playing table football with two excited fans.

When they were asked the score, Oscar’s little teammate suggested they were winning. Luiz, ever the competitor took exception to that, repeatedly shouting ‘Liar!’ across the table.

Grand Theft Auto Cobham

Luiz went for a spin across Cobham in a buggy
Luiz went for a spin across Cobham in a buggy

Under Rafa Benitez, Luiz enjoyed some of his best football at Chelsea, but he clearly was given some additional privileges.

In a video that emerged back in 2013, Luiz was seen at the wheel of a buggy at the Blues’ Cobham training ground.

With Yossi Benayoun and £50m man Fernando Torres in the back, he whizzed across training pitches, narrowly missing teammates.

After slaloming through the keeper’s training drill he completed a nifty handbrake turn before coming to a stop.

David Luiz Cam

Luiz was caught watching the game, before staring directly at the camera, leaving fans in hysterics
Luiz was caught watching the game, before staring directly at the camera, leaving fans in hysterics

If his two spells at Chelsea were hit and miss, Luiz’s two seasons at the Emirates have been a rollercoaster.

He’ll depart the Emirates with an FA Cup and Community Shield winners’ medal, but of his 73 appearances, there have been plenty of error-strewn ones.

In just two campaigns he has been dismissed three times, the most memorable of which came against his former side.

Back in January 2020 he was given his matching orders during the 2-2 clash at Stamford Bridge.

After being sent to the away dressing room, BT Sport cameras managed to capture Luiz watching the remaining minutes on a small screen.

And in an Inception style twist, Luiz turned to the camera with the screen still on display, meant viewers were watching Luiz, looking at Luiz, with Luiz in the corner.

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