Chelsea defender David Luiz has revealed how close he was to leaving the club this summer had it not been that the Blues brought in Maurizio Sarri to replace Antonio Conte.

Under Conte in the Italian coach’s first season at the club, Luiz was an integral member of his squad and was clearly one of the most important players as he progressed to pick up the Premier League.

However, only a few months into the next season, Luiz became a fringe player in the squad with the younger Andreas Christensen preferred in the middle of the three-man defence.

Luiz enjoyed only 10 Premier League starts, partly due to his niggling injuries but even when fit, Conte did not see him capable of playing him in the role he flourished in the previous season.

His imminent end to another stint at Chelsea – after he was sold off to Paris Saint Germain in 2014 – was very close, but Sarri’s arrival meant the Brazil star could return to the starting line up again and relaunch his Blues career. He admits that has kept him happy.

“I learned a lot, sometimes you have to be patient, sometimes you have to take care of your body, sometimes you have to learn from outside to be good in the future. So for me it was great.

I got time to take care of my body; many times I was on the pitch in pain, and I never refused to play one game. It was good to rest and be fresh.

If the manager had stayed the same, of course, everybody knows maybe I had to move clubs. Now I am here and so happy.”