World Cup news

David Luiz in line for Brazil captaincy

March 20, 2013
By ESPN staff

Chelsea defender David Luiz has backed Thiago Silva to be handed the captaincy for Brazil's international friendly against Italy on Thursday but admits he would relish the opportunity to lead his country.

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Brazilian national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is believed to be eager to hand the responsibilities to either Luiz or Silva for the upcoming matches against Italy and Russia, as well as next month's World Cup qualifier against Bolivia.

Luiz, 25, has asserted his position with the Selecao after a breakthrough season as both a midfielder and a defender for Chelsea, although he was quick to deflect praise onto his compatriot Silva.

"I do not know who it will be. I think both have to keep the spirit of leadership within the team. The most important thing is the team and all players have to try their best," Luiz said.

"Thiago Silva and I have a great friendship off the field too and I'm sure whoever is the captain will do the best for the team. I'm happy with his return, he deserves to be in the Brazil national team. He had some problems with injuries, these are the worst times for a football player, but now I'm happy for him."

Luiz has warned his side to be cautious of Italy's attacking threats, with AC Milan duo Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy expected to line up for the Azzurri.

Having played against former Manchester City striker Balotelli, Luiz believes the 22-year-old poses a significant threat for Brazil.

"I've had the opportunity to play against Balotelli. He is a great player and I hope he doesn't have good day against us," he said.

Although there will be no points on the line in the friendlies, Brazil midfielder Oscar believes it is an opportunity for Scolari's side to gather some confidence and momentum heading into June's Confederations Cup.

"It's a very important match, it's a preview of the Confederations Cup, because we will face them there. It is important we have a great match," Oscar said.

"I think all players have to be playing at a high level. This is what is happening to us here at Chelsea. The friendly is important for us to build our rapport. It will be good to face Russia and Italy to have great games and get confidence too."