May 30, 2014 / 10:07 PM / 3 years ago

Brazil bank on best friends for firm World Cup backbone

Brazil's national soccer team player David Luiz smiles during a training session in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro May 29, 2014. The Brazil national soccer team's training camp, in preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, began on May 26, in Teresopolis city. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

TERESOPOLIS Brazil (Reuters) - Brazil are betting on defensive partners and best friends David Luiz and Thiago Silva to protect their sterling record at the back as they go into the World Cup finals next month.

The two men have formed a formidable partnership under coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. Brazil conceded three goals in their five Confederations Cup games last year and have won seven of their eight matches since, giving away only three more.

The pairing is one of the reasons Brazil are favourites to win a record sixth World Cup and David Luiz said part of their understanding is because the two men, who will play together next season at Paris St-Germain, are close friends off the pitch.

“Thiago is a great friend, a great player and I get along very well with him,” said David Luiz, who left Chelsea to sign for the Paris club earlier this month. “We met at the national side and since then we’ve always kept in close touch.

“Now I am going to have to spend more time with him than with my family,” the 27-year-old told a news conference at Brazil’s training camp outside Rio de Janeiro.

“It’s not often that we get a chance to play alongside such a quality player like him, much less such a nice guy. It’s very easy to deal with a colleague and a friend like him.

“I was very happy at Chelsea, I won big titles, made greatfriends and I gained respect there,” David Luiz added, “but I think it was time for a change and to begin a new period in my life in Paris after the World Cup.”

“We know that this partnership can help us both, but if David and Thiago aren’t ready to run then it’s worthless,” he said. (PSG and Brazil) will have two players who will give their all.”

Both players could be rested for at least one of Brazil’s last two warm-up games next week against Panama and Serbia. But David Luiz at least, said he wants to play. “Training is a pain,” he said. “All of us want to play in these two friendlies and I hope Felipao (Scolari) picks me.”

Writing by Andrew Downie in Sao Paulo; Editing by Rex Gowar

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