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Paris Saint-Germain defender David Luiz (32) in action during the Guinness International Champions Cup game between Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

Conte says Luiz can become elite

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes that new signing David Luiz can become one of the best defenders in the world.

Luiz, 29, rejoined Chelsea on transfer deadline day at a cost of £34 million. Luiz spent the past two seasons at French giants Paris Saint-Germain where he picked up two domestic trebles. Conte is convinced that the Brazilian international has the capabilities to be one of the best defenders in the world.

“At 29, he is at a fantastic age to become one of the best defenders in the world,” Conte said. “You can always improve and I’m seeing great commitment from him. He wants to play for Chelsea. This is a great opportunity for him also to improve. I repeat: he has good characteristics to become a fantastic defender.

“It’s important to remember when I started at Juventus, with Chiellini, Bonucci and Barzagli, the defence had been conceding a lot of goals. I remember that, before my arrival, many people told me: ‘They are no good, these defenders. No good.’ But then I started to work with them, I found a great commitment and attitude. Through the work, now we are talking about three of the best defenders in the world in Chiellini, Bonucci and Barzagli. But remember, when we started in that first year at Juventus, it wasn’t like that.

“I see David Luiz’s qualities in the middle, between [those of] Bonucci and Barzagli. He has good technique and good personality, like Bonucci, and likes to play football. Also, I find a good potential physically, like Barzagli’s.

“I don’t like to speak about the past. Now I’m the coach of David Luiz. And, also, I have a great responsibility to improve him and these [defensive] aspects. If someone thinks that this player loses his concentration during the game, I won’t be happy but my task is to improve him in that aspect. I want to work with him. David is a mature player but, if he must improve in some aspects, I’m here for this reason.

Luiz made 81 Premier League appearances for Chelsea during his first stint with the club.

Conte says Luiz can become elite

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