Football - Luiz determined to be a star not a sideshow

David Luiz has spent almost two years at Chelsea playing the joker.


But the defender insists it is now time for him to adopt a more grown-up role and lead the club into a new golden era, starting with victory at the Club World Cup.

Luiz has found himself one of the most easily caricatured footballers around, with his zany `Sideshow Bob' hair and equally cartoonish personality on and off the field. It has also made the 25-year-old Brazil star an easy target for criticism, something he has repeatedly laughed off in his almost two years at Stamford Bridge.

But he has admitted for the first time that he has found some of the jibes levelled at his erratic performances hard to take, despite maintaining he would not let them break him as a player.

And he insisted he was now ready to fill the void left by the injured John Terry, an absence that coincided with one of Chelsea's worst winless runs in Barclays Premier League history.

Luiz said: "I was captain at Benfica at 21. I know my personality is to be a natural leader.

"So I know now that, at this moment, with the team's leaders of many, many years out of the team, I need to take responsibility of the team myself and try and help the young players.

"I don't have a problem with that in bad moments. I always say my shoulders are broad and I can take that extra responsibility.

"I love it. I want it. I prefer to take it on myself to help the other guys, who can go and play with their heads clear and calm.

"I can play with this added responsibility. I enjoy it. I know my personality and I know what it's taken to get me here at Chelsea. It's just another moment to be strong.

"One day, when I have kids, I'll tell them that, even when their life is not easy, they can still do anything they want. That is the way to approach things."

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