Arsenal’s Gabriel Paulista to Surpass David Luiz in Brazilian Defense


Gabriel Paulista has had quite the rise in prominence. It wasn’t all that long ago that he was thinking about quitting football because no one had faith in his abilities and he had no money to continue playing the sport that he loved. “I had many people telling me that it wouldn’t work,” he told

However, in a span of just three years, he went from being voted the best defender in the lesser-known Brazilian league to being a future star at one of the best teams in the world.

Now, he’s threatening the Brazillian national team’s starting XI.

David Luiz is a much more popular Brazilian defender who also made the transition from Brazilian club Vitoria, where Gabriel Paulista was raised, to the big show. Now, he’s the 40 million pound goat of PSG’s champions league season.

Frequently touted as a “Playstation” defender, Luiz’s defensive abilities have long been questioned. Gabriel Paulista is a much more complete defender, or as his academy director at Vitoria called him in an interview with FourFourTwo magazine, a “defensive defender.” His pace and intensity were also spoken of highly by his former manager, whose Vitoria side has a knack for churning out prominent defenders.

The former manager of Vitoria had similar praise for the young Brazilian, saying that he played Gabriel Paulista all along the back line and took a lot of flak for it, but he ended up looking brilliant because Gabriel Paulista has no weak points as a defender.

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Gabriel Paulista has the undying praise of his former manager and former academy director, but now he also has the praise of one of the most highly respected managers in the world in Arsene Wenger, whom Paulista referred to as a father-figure. Arsene Wenger backed Gabriel Paulista to become an Arsenal great along the back line. Coming from a guy that coached the likes of Sol Campbell, that’s some pretty high praise.

So Gabriel Paulista has all the verbal backing he could ever want. The next order of business is securing a starting spot on the Arsenal back line and the Brazilian back line. But should he already be starting in the Brazilian defense over David Luiz?

Let’s compare David Luiz’s season in Ligue 1 this year with Gabriel Paulista’s most recent full season, last year at Valencia (stats on per 90 minute basis, provided by Squawka).

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Defensively, Gabriel Paulista is already superior to Luiz. While Luiz is more of an offensive threat, when it comes to stopping opposing attacks, his countryman is better. Even in the area of aerial superiority, an area that Luiz is renowned for, Gabriel Paulista proves more effective.

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The star power behind David Luiz is what’s keeping him afloat as one of the “best defenders in the world” as he was apparently worth 40 million pounds compared to Gabriel Paulista’s 13 million. But in the end, it’s Paulista who’s season stats against guys like Ronaldo and Messi are superior to Luiz’s stats against a much lesser Ligue 1.

It’s time for Dunga to continue the meteoric rise of Gabriel Paulista and give him David Luiz’s spot in the national team back line.

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