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David Luiz helping Chelsea challenge for Premier League title through faith in Jesus

In January 2011, Chelsea signed Fernando Torres for a reported fee of £50 million. That transfer sent shockwaves across the world of soccer. It was a British record at the time. Liverpool fans were incensed for losing their star striker. Chelsea fans couldn’t be happier for having a new goal machine in their team. But Torres continually failed to rise to the occasion at his new base. In fact, he went 903 minutes without scoring a goal. Then David Luiz laid hands on Torres in prayer and the goals began to flood in.

Luiz is no prophet or pastor — just an everyday believer in the finished work of Christ Jesus. The defender says his Christian faith gives him the belief that he can go out and perform and improve as player.

“It gives me strength and inspiration,” Luiz said in 2011.

Born to Christian parents in Diadema, Brazil, in 1987, Luiz began his soccer career with his local São Paulo youth team in 1999. His rise to prominence, however, began with Vitoria — a team he joined as a 14-year-old trying to follow the footsteps of his soccer hero, Ricardo Kaka. It was at the Salvador-based team that scouts from Benfica spotted Luiz and earmarked him as a talent to be poached. In 2008, he signed a €1.5 million contract with Benfica after a successful season-long loan spell with the Portuguese outfit.

Luiz enjoyed a successful four-year spell at Benfica and won the League once. He also won the League Cup three times. Then he moved to Chelsea. It cost the London club €25 million to acquire Luiz’ services in 2011. Though the road wasn’t always smooth in terms of fitness and injuries, it can be said that Luiz enjoyed plenty of success at Chelsea. He helped the Blues win the Champions League and Europa League within his first two years at the club and scored 12 goals.

Luiz changed clubs again in 2014 when Paris Saint-Germain paid £50 million to pry him from Chelsea. At the time, it was the highest fee ever paid for a defender. Again Luiz enjoyed marked success in France with PSG. He won the League twice, the Coupe de France twice and the Trophee des Champions twice.

In August 2016, Luiz returned to Chelsea for a second spell. The Blues had to pay £34 million to buy him back from PSG. Success continued to trail Luiz as he played an active part in helping Chelsea win the 2016-17 Premier League title. The following season, Luiz won the FA Cup with Chelsea.

This season, Luiz is playing a major role in Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the Premier League. He hasn’t missed a game in Chelsea’s eight League matches this campaign.

It can be agreed that Luiz is indeed blessed. His all-action style, vision and profound ability to shoot free kicks has endeared him to fans. However, while Chelsea is counting on a fit Luiz for a successful season, Luiz is putting his trust in Jesus to make it happen. Luiz believes it’s all been mapped out.

“Everything in life belongs to God. Our purpose has already been mapped,” Luiz said in 2014.

Luiz is staunch member of Atletas de Cristo (Athletes of Christ). The organization is a nonprofit comprised of Christian athletes, mostly from Brazil. It was founded in 1984 and enjoys the membership of soccer icons such as Kaka, Edinson Cavani and Neymar.

There is a big task ahead of the 31-year-old Luiz this season. He has to stay fully fit and help Chelsea fight for another title. But with his strong belief in Jesus, it’s easy to envision more success for the Brazilian as he approaches the twilight of his glittering career.

Kingsley Ukpai is a Christian soccer writer in Nigeria. His work has been featured in Howler Magazine and a few soccer blogs in the UK. HandsForWriting.com is his blog, where he writes about soccer, technology and Christian life. Follow him on Twitter @kingemeka1.

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