THE BUSY BRAZILIAN
If David Luiz lines up in Donetsk this evening, the defender will be appearing in his fourth consecutive match in a different country around Europe, all within two weeks.
The defender will of course not be alone after a double-header of international fixtures and a Barclays Premier League game at Tottenham before tonight's test in Ukraine. His Brazilian colleagues Oscar and Ramires will be in the same boat, while Petr Cech, Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic have all done extended time around the continent too.
For the Brazilian contingent, there were friendlies in Sweden and Poland prior to the weekend, and yesterday's four-hour flight east to Donetsk to contend with. David Luiz admits the travelling takes its toll, but points out is par for the course for an elite footballer.
'This is the life of a professional player, especially when you are in an international team. It is the top level and you have to be happy with it but you need to rest a lot to play well in all the games,' summarised the former Benfica man.
'Sometimes it is difficult but I am only 25 years old, so I can do it. I sleep a lot when we travel, and I rest between matches when I am at home.
'The legs can be heavy sometimes, and it can be difficult when you are playing against fresh players at the very top, so of course you have to rest in your free time.
'Then, when the game comes the excitement of it and the adrenalin help you to come through, and you can still focus on the matches, even though it is physically hard, especially in the Premier League. Now I can control myself better than before, I am more mature and it doesn't affect me in the games.'
If selected to appear at the Donbass Arena tonight, David Luiz could be facing a few familiar faces. Shakhtar boast as many as eight Brazilians in their squad, and fielded four in their last European outing against Juventus, a 1-1 draw in Turin. The Chelsea squad knows well what our hosts are capable of, and what the aim is come 9.45pm local time.
'Tomorrow is an important game in the group. Both teams are at the top and we want to keep our position,' he said. 'We are away so we know how difficult it will be and we cannot give the other team anything if we want to do well in the game.'