David Luiz keen to end his career at Benfica

‘I always said I would like to end my career at Benfica’: David Luiz will NOT see out his playing days at Arsenal as he admits he wants to return to Portugal

  • David Luiz has revealed his desire to end his career with Portuguese side Benfica
  • The Brazilian flourished with the Portuguese club before joining Chelsea in 2011 
  • And the 33-year-old says he would like to return to his former side one day
  • Luiz is soon to enter the final 12 months of his contract with Arsenal  

David Luiz has revealed his intention to end his career at Portuguese giants Benfica, as the Arsenal centre half nears the final 12 months of his contract in north London. 

The enigmatic Brazilian joined The Gunners last summer from Chelsea, but has done little to shore up a leaky defence at the Emirates Stadium. 

The 33-year-old made a name for himself at Benfica, where he played from 2007-2011 before joining the west London club. 

David Luiz has revealed his desire to return to Portuguese side Benfica to end his career 

The 33-year-old made a name for himself with the club before joining Chelsea in 2011

And Luiz has said he would like to return to Portugal to see out his career, in which he has won the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, the FA Cup and EFL Cup. 

‘I always said that I would like to end my career at Benfica,’ he told the Portuguese club’s official website via Goal. 

‘In football everything changes, what is true today, tomorrow is a lie, but my feeling is not! 

‘I love Benfica. My dream is to step on the pitch of Estadio da Luz in their colours.

‘For all that I lived and felt, for what Benfica is in my life and in my history, for everything, Benfica is bigger than any player.’

Mikel Arteta has previously spoken on Luiz’s leadership qualities in Arsenal’s dressing room

Whether or not Luiz returns to his former club remains to be seen, with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta crying out for leaders that have a proven track record to steer his side in the right direction. 

The Spaniard has said that he needs a player like Luiz to be demanding of his young team-mates in the Arsenal dressing room. 

‘That’s what I wanted to demand of him. He is a player that has won more trophies than anybody else in that dressing room,’ Arteta said. 

‘We have to use that in a very powerful way. I am very pleased with him. In the games he has played under me so far he has been terrific.

‘His attitude in training, the way he communicates with his team-mates, his desire to still learn, it’s superb. I am delighted with him.’

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How car salesman Sam Jones forged a career for himself in boxing

From belting out Sam Cooke with Tyson Fury, to signing an Olympic silver medallist and brokering his first ever deal in a five-minute meeting with… Floyd Mayweather! The crazy story of how car salesman Sam Jones forged a career in boxing

  • Sam Jones was working as a salesman at Volkswagen in Derby three years ago
  • Now he’s got his own boxing management company and manages Joe Joyce 
  • He struck his first ever deal in the sport with Floyd Mayweather back in 2017
  • Jones credits Tyson Fury’s uncle Peter for helping him forge a career in boxing 

They say fortune favours the bold, and in Sam Jones’ case that has certainly rung true.

Those who know their boxing will know Jones as the cocksure supervisor of Joe Joyce’s career and business partner of Adam Morallee, who used to work as Gordon Ramsey’s lawyer and David Haye’s boss.

But before he started his boxing management agency S-JAM with Morallee, Jones was flogging Volkswagens in Derby for a living.

Sam Jones has gone from being a car salesman to owning a boxing management agency

‘Yeah, you can say I’ve had a bit of a career change,’ Jones chuckles. 

Jones followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a car salesman but deep down he always craved for a life in the fast lane.

And in the dog-eat-dog world of boxing where those with the biggest bites and loudest barks thrive, Jones is in his element.

Instead of 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, it’s now more of a 24/7 with no holiday kind of a deal, Jones says. But he wouldn’t have it any other way.  

As a former car auctioneer and salesman, Jones has always been able to talk a good game and is living proof that a combination of the gift of the gab, a sense of destiny and some self-belief can get you far in this sport.

He has only been in the game for little over three years but already has built up an impressive stable and works with Olympic silver medallist Joyce, heavyweight prospect Guido Vianello and British super-middleweight champion Lerrone Richards.

After speaking to Jones for only 45 minutes, it is no surprise that he has made this venture work. During our conversation he is articulate and funny as he talks about everything from his previous life working at Volkswagen to eating fish finger sandwiches on coronavirus lockdown, buying suits in Zara and dressing up in leopard print shorts for Prince Naseem fights.

But the story of how he brokered his first deal in boxing and more importantly, who with, is as extraordinary as any and is why he is where he is today.

‘I was talking to Savannah Marshall when I first tried to enter the business and I realised I had an opportunity to tie her up because she wanted to turn pro. I remember thinking I need to do something really out of the ordinary,’ Jones tells Sportsmail. ‘I thought I’m going to get hold of Floyd Mayweather and told people what I planned to do.

Jones’ company represent Olympic silver medallist Joe Joyce among other fighters

‘Can you imagine that? That’s like your Mrs saying: “I’m going to try and get hold of Beyoncé.” It’s that kind of madness. I saw that Floyd was coming over to the UK for the Gervonta Davis, Liam Walsh fight and I knew that I needed to meet him, even if it was for five seconds because I knew about selling so I knew I could do that if I got hold of him.   

‘I got put in contact and they set up a meeting. So, I went to the Savoy Hotel in London, and I got put into a room with his PR and they were like he’s going to give you five minutes of his time. He walks in and first thing he said to me was that I needed a new watch. He was wearing this big shiny Hublot and I was wearing some kind of Casio and he was like: “Before you come to Vegas you need a God dam new watch”. He was playing with his phone the whole time I was talking but I pitched everything to him and at the end he said he was interested.’

Jones was concerned it would fizzle out but then came an unexpected call.

‘One night at 3 O’Clock in the morning, I got a Facetime call. 

‘I remember thinking who the hell is this because I didn’t have his number at the time. I answered and it was Floyd. I was like “Are you f***ing s***ting me?” Can you imagine, I’m just a normal bloke working at Volkswagen and I answer it and Floyd Mayweather is on the screen. Floyd said: “We are very interested; we are going to sign Savannah” and told me that she was going to be on the undercard of his fight with Conor McGregor. And that was my first deal in boxing.’

Talk about running before you can walk.

Jones didn’t earn a penny from that deal though or from his entire first year in the sport but he always saw a bigger picture, even after burning through his life savings travelling around with Joe Joyce, who became his first proper signing after he turned over. 

Jones completed his first deal in boxing with Floyd Mayweather over a Facetime call

Savannah Marshall made her pro debut on the undercard of Mayweather vs Conor McGregor

Joyce remains the best-known fighter on Jones’ books but their journey together came close to getting off on the wrong foot.

‘We went out to Las Vegas to prepare Joe for his debut against Ian Lewison,’ Jones explains. ‘And Joe had quite a bad injury to his bicep, he suffered a hematoma when he was training. I was the one who opened the window in the gym and he still blames me to this day, he says the gym was cold, his body wasn’t warm so the muscle in his bicep went and this was a week before his debut. 

‘I remember thinking on the way to the ring: “Oh God, I hope nothing goes wrong here”. This was my first big night in boxing, I know I had the Savannah thing but this was my first big night and I kept thinking “Can you imagine if Joe loses his debut against Ian Lewison and it’s my fault because of the injury”. It wouldn’t have been the best start but thankfully Joe done the business.’

Jones has helped steer Joyce to the cusp of the world scene and has ambitions to do the same for all of his fighters. He is particularly excited though by the future of unbeaten Italian heavyweight Guido Vianello.

Jones pictured celebrating with his fighter Kody Davies after he won at York Hall in September

His best night in boxing was when Guido Vianello made his debut at Madison Square Garden

‘He has everything. He’s good looking, he can talk and he can fight. I discovered him because we brought him over for sparring,’ Jones says. ‘The first time he sparred Joe he was all over him and I remember Joe getting really mad that this young kid had come into his gym and set about him a little bit and have two tasty spars with him.

‘We thought: “Oh my God this kid is really talented, if he was looked after a little bit, he could be amazing.” So, we went to Rome twice to meet Guido’s family and then we signed him and got him a deal with Top Rank.

‘Guido made his debut at Madison Square Garden on the [Vasyl] Lomachenko undercard. And that was my best night in boxing, because he’s like a baby Guido and to see him walking to the ring – not many people from Italy get these opportunities – and his whole family was there. It was serious. On a personal note that was my biggest achievement.’  

Not bad going for a salesman from Derby, but Jones has had some help along the way. 

‘I have to say that Peter Fury has played a massive part in my success,’ he adds. ‘I knew him through a friend and he has almost been like an advisor to me and is responsible for most of my contacts I have now in boxing. Even when Joe was being promoted by David Haye, I would ask Peter if this fighter was the right opponent for him.

Jones credits Peter Fury (right) for helping him forge a career for himself in boxing

‘I’m always grateful to Peter and that’s how I met Tyson. I remember singing Sam Cooke songs with Tyson Fury two or three weeks before he fought Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf. He’s a proper character is Tyson. I spent a lot of time with him in that camp and I consider him a friend now.’

Nights at Madison Square Garden and singing with Tyson Fury would have felt a world away during those days working in the Volkswagen car lot but Jones always believed he was capable of achieving more.

‘I was always a very good salesman,’ he says. ‘But I had a problem with authority if I’m honest. I was never happy in one job. I became just unemployable so I took a gamble and it paid off. I’m my own boss now, I work with my own fighters and run my own company.

‘It’s been a mad few years but if I can do it then anyone can do what they want to. I’m just an opportunistic salesman who got lucky.’

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New percentage pay deal on cards for cricketers as cash crisis looms

Cricket Australia may offer players new percentage-based deals rather than fixed salaries in coming weeks as the governing body considers a proposal to re-configure its contracting system in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

Cricket in Australia has been largely shielded from the effects of the coronavirus outbreak so far, although the winter Test series in Bangladesh and limited-overs campaign in England are unlikely to go ahead and the cancellation of the Indian Premier League will cost some players millions.

Pat Cummins was the highest earner on CA’s contract list last year.Credit:Getty Images

The players agreed to ride the highs and the lows of cricket’s finances when they secured 27.5 per cent of agreed revenue streams in 2017 following a bitter industrial dispute with CA.

According to the 2019 CA annual report, the men’s and women’s players shared in $104.5m in the preceding year – but players would forgo about $80m if Virat Kohli’s men couldn’t tour here this summer, with a cancelled India series forecast to cost CA $300m.

The Australian Cricketers Association confirmed it had informally proposed a percentage-based retainer option to CA to help deal with the uncertainty around COVID-19 and streamline the process of players’ pay being adjusted.

“The players have committed to the revenue-share model in good times and bad. The players will hold up their end of the bargain,” ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said.

“We need further information from CA about its revenues and contingency planning, that we hope to receive when available. We know this is challenging but we are working through this together as part of our partnership model.”

CA says it has used a percentage system to pay players previously in years when collective bargaining agreements have been negotiated, but the circumstances this time around are very different.

“I think there’s a fair bit of water to go under the bridge from a cricket sense,” Australia’s Test captain, Tim Paine, said on Tuesday when asked about the impact of coronavirus on the game.

“But certainly if things happen similar to what’s happened in football and other sports we’ve certainly got to do our bit to make sure that the game survives and remains healthy for years to come.

"If it comes to that I’m sure [pay cuts are] something that the players will look at but there’s bigger issues going on at the moment around the world than how much our sportsmen are getting paid.”

Cummins is likely to keep his spot at the top of the CA contract list, with Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon and Paine occupying the the other leading positions.

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