David Luiz bade an emotional farewell to his Arsenal teammates ahead of their 2-0 win against Brighton on the final day of the season, addressing the squad at London Colney on Saturday to thank them for their efforts during his time at the club.
Luiz joined Arsenal from Chelsea for £8m in 2019 and, despite his mixed fortunes in north London, he earned the third FA Cup winner’s medal of his career last year. By all accounts he leaves as a well respected member of the squad.
After a season of inconsistent form and persistent injuries, it was announced earlier this month that Luiz would leave at the end of his current one-year contract.
Speaking after Luiz’s departure was confirmed, Mikel Arteta said: “He is a player that has won everything in football and has earned every right to do so because of who he is as a player and as a person. I had the privilege to work with him for 18 months, which I really enjoyed.
“We got on really well, we had some great moments together. He has been really helpful, someone that we really like and appreciate so much, so I just say thank you to him and wish him the best of luck in his next chapter because I am sure, knowing David, that he will have many more to come as a player and, in the future, somehow related to the game.”
While saying his goodbyes to his teammates, Luiz gave some insight into what he intends to do when his playing days come to an end. “If, in some moments, I did something bad with you guys, sorry, but it was always my intention to give my best for you guys,” he said.
“It was always my intention to help you guys. I think you guys understood a bit that I am a collective person, so my happiness is to see others happy. So I try my best.
“Thank you so much. I hope to see you soon guys. I’m going to play for a few more years and soon I’m going to be a coach, so maybe someone from here is going to be my player! I don’t see a lot of parts for young players!
“But for sure it’s great. It’s never easy when you finish a cycle but it’s always great because God has the best for us.
“I just say to you guys, especially the young guys, enjoy it because football goes so quickly. One day I was the youngest in the changing room, now I’m the oldest… we love football, that’s why [we play].
Though he wasn’t included in the squad which faced Brighton, Luiz came out onto the pitch at the end of the match and was given a standing ovation by those in attendance.
Cedric Soares was among the players to pay homage to Luiz on social media, tweeting: “My friend. I wish you all the best on the next steps in your career @DavidLuiz_4!
“It’s been a pleasure playing with you and learning so much along the way.
“Football is a wonderful thing that gives us so much and, in our time together, blessed me with someone I can call a brother.”
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