David Luiz has joined an elite group of players to have featured in three European finals for Chelsea, but is the first to have picked up a trio of winner’s medals.
Our 4-1 win over Arsenal in this season’s Europa League final was the third continental showpiece of the Brazilian’s two spells with Chelsea, starting all three and ending on the winning side every time, a record no other Blues player can match.
His first European final came back in 2012, as we defeated Bayern Munich in their own stadium to lift the Champions League trophy for the first time in our history. Having rushed back from injury to take his place in the line-up for that match, he played an important part in our victory.
It was the Brazilian who stepped up confidently to score our first goal of the decisive shoot-out, settling nerves after Juan Mata had missed our opening effort, paving the way for Petr Cech and Didier Drogba’s heroics.
A year later, David Luiz moved to midfield under Rafa Benitez’s management, as we took on the Brazilian’s former club Benfica in the 2013 Europa League final. Again we took the victory, thanks to Branislav Ivanovic’s late header, but David Luiz’s biggest contribution had come in the previous round, with important goals in both legs of the semi-final against Basel.
An honourary mention should also be given to Gary Cahill, who received his third European winner’s medal in Baku, having played alongside David Luiz in both the 2012 and 2013 finals, but was an unused substitute against the Gunners.
There are, however, three other players who have featured in three European finals for Chelsea, but they also fall just short of David Luiz’s feats by virtue of having only won two of them.
Petr Cech, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard were all part of the Chelsea team which lifted the Champions League and Europa League trophies in consecutive seasons in Munich and Amsterdam, Lampard wearing the captain’s armband for both finals, but were defeated in Moscow in 2008, when we lost the Champions League final to Manchester United in a penalty shoot-out.
Lampard did get our goal in that 1-1 draw, though, before both he and Cole scored from the spot in the shoot-out, while Cech kept out Cristiano Ronaldo’s effort, but John Terry and Nicolas Anelka’s misses sealed our fate.
John Mikel Obi was also involved in our 2008, 2012 and 2013 finals, being an unused substitute twice, either side of starting our Champions League victory, which just happened to be one of the best individual performances of his 10-year Chelsea career.