However well the first team at Baiano side Vitoria are doing in the pro game, the club never seem to stop churning out talented young players from their youth ranks. Chelsea’s David Luiz is just one example of that, with the Sao Paulo state native heading to Salvador in his teens. And, having switched positions from midfield to central defence, he was handed his first opportunities with Vitoria during a period in which the club were relegated to Brazil’s third tier.
The rangy youngster took full advantage of his chance, to the extent that he caught the eye of scouts from Lisbon giants Benfica. Taking him to Portugal in 2007, initially on loan, Luiz soon convinced the powers-that-be at Estadio da Luz to offer him a permanent deal.
Forming a redoubtable backline partnership with compatriot Luisao, Luiz’s defensive ability – whether in the centre or at left-back – his abundant class and trademark buoyant hair-style all helped make him a huge fans’ favourite with Os Encarnados.
After the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ and the end of the Lucio-Juan central-defensive pairing, Luiz and Thiago Silva quickly and ably stepped in to fill the gap for A Seleção.
Nor was he slow to fit in at Stamford Bridge following his January 2011 move. The fans swiftly won over by his early buccaneering displays, Luiz continues to shine for the 2012 UEFA Champions League winners, whether at the back or as a holding midfielder.