David Luiz knows Chelsea are going to have to find a way past the greatest goalkeeper he has played with if they are to win the Europa League final.

The Blues will come up against former team-mate Petr Cech in what will be the Arsenal star’s last game before retirement.

Luiz is determined that the Czech, who left Stamford Bridge for Arsenal in 2015 but is tipped to return as sporting director this summer, ends a glittering career on the losing side.

He said: “Pete is fantastic, a great person, a great man. The best goalkeeper I played with. One of the best professionals I had the opportunity to work with.

David Luiz of Chelsea (L) and Petr Cech of Arsenal have words after the final whistle
David Luiz of Chelsea (L) and Petr Cech of Arsenal have words


“I wish Petr could be on our side. I hope he plays a good game, but I hope we win against him.”

Despite their friendship, Luiz won’t suffer the same sentiments that clouded his last Europa League final for Chelsea .

In 2013, the Brazilian was up against his old Benfica team-mates and found it tough seeing them so dejected at the final whistle.

This time there will be no such concerns, though.

Luiz is hoping to get the better of his pal in the Europa League final


He added: “This is a totally different occasion. It’s a big London derby, big opponents, a high-level rivalry, everybody wants to win, everybody wants the best for their clubs, so we are going to try our best.

“Arsenal are doing great. It is never easy to change, especially after the many years Arsene Wenger was there.

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“Then Unai came to try to build a new philosophy and to try to gain the trust of the players, from the fans, from the club, and he has been doing an amazing job.”

Luiz played under the Arsenal boss for a few months when they were both at Paris Saint-Germain, so he knows how difficult it will be to beat him.

Luiz and Cech have a chat during their time together at Chelsea


Not least after he masterminded three successive Europa League triumphs for Sevilla between 2014 and 2016.

Luiz said: “He’s a great guy, a great coach, a great person, and in this competition especially, he knows how to win.

“That’s why Arsenal are there, that’s why Unai is there in the final — again. That’s another thing we have to realise: we have to beat Unai as well as Arsenal.

“He’s a great coach, he’s passionate. He loves his work. He likes to build teams who are spirited and play with passion, you can see that.”

Chelsea’s players celebrate after reaching the final


Luiz knows it will take a team effort to beat the Gunners and he is pleased that the modern game showcases his talents.

He added: “Now in modern football, the first attacker is the goalkeeper. We value what goalkeepers do with their feet.

“And the first defenders are the strikers — everybody has to defend and the defenders set the style of the team. I love being a ball-playing centre-half, it’s the evolution of football.

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“I remember when I started, nobody wanted me to play the ball out from the back, everybody wanted me to kick the ball long.

Unai Emery, the Arsenal manager, worked with Luiz for a short time at PSG


“It depended on the style of the coach, but now everybody understands.

“The top six in England, which has four teams in the European finals, are all teams who play the ball out from the back, play a possession game, try to create.

“Football is all about gaining time. If you put the ball up in the air, you’re going to lose time.

“That’s why we try to build from the back, to give the players with the talent the time to receive the ball between the lines and make the difference.”

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