Chelsea defender David Luiz insists the risk of returning to English football has already been overtaken by the reward of a Premier League title and prospect of a domestic double.
Brazil centre-half Luiz was a pivotal figure in Chelsea’s back three as Antonio Conte’s side were crowned champions after chalking up a record 30 victories in a 38-game top-flight season.
Eyebrows were raised when last summer Chelsea shelled out around £34m to lure Luiz away from a trophy-laden spell with Paris Saint-Germain, who he had joined two years earlier following a mixed spell in west London.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville infamously described Luiz as playing as though a 10-year-old boy was controlling him on a PlayStation, although the 30-year-old was happy to gamble – and slash his wages.
“I was winning in Pars,” said Luiz. “I went to Paris for two years and won all the titles in France. I had a great life and great credibility with the club, I had everything.
“I took a risk to come back to a country that was not too happy with me. They always criticise me a lot even though I’d won the Champions League and Europa League. That’s why it was a risk.
“But then I love a risk. If you don’t take risks in your life then you never feel something new. I don’t always like to have an easy life. That’s why I took the risk and today I am very happy because I made the right decision.
“And if you want to know about the money, I cut my salary to come back here.”
Despite misgivings in some quarters over his return to Chelsea, Luiz disputes the notion of having a point to prove to his detractors, who questioned whether he was tactically disciplined enough to succeed in the Premier League.
“I had to take a risk to feel something good for me, not the others,” he added. “To play 10 years consecutively at big clubs is not easy and I try to give my best every season.
“I try to improve myself as a person, as a brother, as a son and as a friend everyday. If you don’t think in this way, if you don’t want to learn, one day everyone will pass you so I try to improve every day.”
Victory over Arsenal in Saturday’s FA Cup final would see Chelsea join Manchester United and the Gunners as the only teams in English football to win a league and FA Cup double on more than one occasion.
The Wembley clash represents Arsenal’s last chance to salvage an underwhelming campaign, which could be Arsene Wenger’s last at Emirates Stadium, having failed to qualify for the Champions league for the first time in 20 years.
Luiz, who missed the 2012 FA Cup final through injury, remains wary of the threat posed by Arsenal, despite them finishing 18 points behind Chelsea in the league.
“We know we’ll play against a fantastic team and fantastic players in good shape," said Luiz. "They have fantastic players and an amazing coach so we need to be in our high level to win this final.”