Could David Luiz take over as Chelsea's captain next season?

The Brazilian defender has impressed both on and off the pitch in recent months, should he be given the armband next season if John Terry leaves the club?

Rafa Benitez will no doubt be prepared to take plenty of criticism for his decision to omit both John Terry and Frank Lampard from his side in the FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City, but even if he should have thrown on at least the midfielder at some stage, it is an indication of the reduced importance of the two players.

Even when Chelsea have had injury problems at centre back this year, Benitez has often declined the opportunity to play John Terry, and even if he does not leave the club this summer, it is likely he will play a significantly less integral role in the team from now on.

In his place David Luiz has shone for the team for most of the season, putting aside the frequent criticism he receives for over-elaborate play at the back to become one of the key men in Chelsea's team. Luiz is not just a fine player, he is a vocal leader on the pitch, and helps drive the side on even when they are behind in matches.

This was evident yesterday, were Luiz did everything he could to help Chelsea reassert themselves in a match Manchester City had taken complete control of, and the Brazilian was also clearly pushing his teammates on as well. There is still the occasional defensive mishap, but the number of qualities Luiz brings to the side, especially in his ability to link with their midfield, far outweigh these deficiencies.

His reaction to the tackle from Sergio Aguero was also impressive, saying that although he would like an apology from the Argentinian for his two footed stamp, he understands what five seconds of anger can lead to on the pitch.

Luiz has never shied away from a challenge, coming to the Premier League as the type of defender who will always face criticism in England, and his importance to Chelsea's success last season has sometimes been underplayed. However long John Terry remains at the club, Chelsea might already have found an excellent replacement for their captain.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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