The Gunners midfielder was left with a scratch on his nose which led to bleeding after Ceballos collided with Luiz in a practice match, with head coach Mikel Arteta and other staff members having to separate them.
While Ceballos branded talk of the incident as ‘fake’ on Thursday, the reported fight represents far more than a simple training ground bust-up.
Dani Ceballos (left) was in an Arsenal training ground fight with David Luiz (right) last week
The Spanish midfielder has a long history of controversial off-the-pitch moments in his career
Throughout his whole career, Ceballos’ passion that Arsenal fans enjoy on the pitch has often overspilled into controversy off the pitch.
Not only has the 24-year-old rowed with team-mates, but he’s described Catalans as ‘dogs’, mocked the legendary Iker Casillas and evoked memory of notorious dictator General Franco.
Aggression is a characteristic that Arsenal fans have often enjoyed associating with their loan midfielder ever since his stunning home debut for the club against Burnley in 2019 where he provided two assists.
Ceballos has shown passion during his time in north London – but that has often overspilled
Ceballos’ involvement in training ground bust-ups dates back to his time in Spain. At Real Madrid, the Spaniard was on the receiving this time as Real Madrid defender Nacho left a mark on the up-and-coming talent in a 2019 training session.
‘I forgive you, but you are very stupid,’ Ceballos posted after the event, having chucked a snood at him in the aftermath for good measure.
‘A tackle once in a while is never bad,’ replied Nacho. The Spaniard has heeded that advice at Arsenal – and not just with Luiz.
Ceballos (left) was on the receiving end of a rough training tackle by Real Madrid’s Nacho
One of the younger Arsenal players who has already felt the full force of the Spaniard’s nasty side is Eddie Nketiah, who was on the end of a nasty challenge from Ceballos in a harmless passing drill before the season’s opener with Fulham in September.
Just like with Luiz, both players had to be separated but all was forgiven the following week, when Ceballos started Arsenal’s win over West Ham and set up Nketiah for a last-gasp winner at the Emirates Stadium.
Ceballos (middle left) has to be dragged away from Eddie Nketiah just before the Fulham win
With Sportsmail sources claiming several Arsenal players, including Luiz, are concerned with Ceballos’ treatment of younger team-mates like Nketiah – it could be argued that the 24-year-old is fighting his way out of first-team contention rather than in it.
The midfielder does need a spark in his career after failing to make the grade at Real Madrid. The Nacho incident is a perfect summary of his time in Spain – a promising player let down by a questionable temperament.
It isn’t just team-mates the Spaniard targets, opposition players have been on the receiving end of some contentious Ceballos drama.
Ceballos failed to make the grade at Real Madrid and is looking to revitalise his football career
July 2012 – Posts anti-Catalan tweet towards Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas and mocks Iker Casillas’ manhood
May 2015 – Posts tweet saying he wants a ‘bomb’ to land at the Camp Nou for the Copa del Rey final
May 2016 – Mocks Getafe defender Cala in Real Betis colours after Madrid side are relegated
January 2019 – Real Madrid training ground fight with Nacho
September 2020 – On-pitch fight with Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah
November 2020 – Reported training ground tussle with Arsenal’s David Luiz
When the midfielder first arrived at Real Madrid, Ceballos may have received some questionable looks from some of the Los Blancos players, as the midfielder took a pop at legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
In now-deleted Twitter posts, the midfielder questioned the size of Casillas’ manhood and made derogatory comments towards the shot stopper’s wife – TV journalist Sara Carbonero.
Casillas is not the only Spanish star to be on end of an online Ceballos criticism. When Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas celebrated the country’s Euro 2012 win with the Semeyra flag, the midfielder tweeted: ‘Get out of the country, Catalans. With Franco this never would have happened.’
General Franco was a Spanish military dictator who rose to power during the Spanish Civil War, with Ceballos praising the historical figure.
And ahead of the Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao in 2015, Ceballos took to Twitter to request that a bomb land ‘on the (Camp Nou) stands and kill those Catalan and Basque dogs’.
Back on the pitch, the midfielder was caught in further controversy when he mocked Getafe defender Cala after Betis relegated the Madrid side to the second division in 2016, saying: ‘I hope you go rot in the second division and the club disappears.’
Ceballos could not help to make dig at players on social media during his time at Real Betis
His questionable temperament at Betis was noticed by senior officials at the club, according to Spanish journalist Oscar Murillo.
He told Sky Sports when Ceballos was at Real Madrid: ‘He (Ceballos) has to learn to respect his opponent. He has to improve various things to be a better professional but also a better person.
‘(Former Betis coach Gus) Poyet liked him a lot, he liked his way of understanding football. He also said that Ceballos had let him down, that he wasn’t working in training and that his attitude wasn’t right.’
Ceballos also taunted opponents and his temperament has held him back during his career
Ceballos has shown a similar lack of respect for opponents during his time at Arsenal. The midfielder was spotted telling Henrikh Mhkhitaryan on his home debut, ‘This Burnley team don’t like to play football, they just boom boom boom over the top’.
While the David Luiz row shows a developing trend in off-the-field antics, Ceballos has been presented with a chance to nail down a regular spot in the Arsenal team.
Not only has his manager Arteta accepted and moved past the incident, the midfielder’s starting chances against Leeds on Sunday have been boosted by a growing injury list.
Spaniard Ceballos could become a regular in the Arsenal side due to midfield injuries
New signing Partey will miss the Elland Road clash due to a thigh problem picked up before the international break, while Mohamed Elneny has not returned to training after being diagnosed with coronavirus on Egypt duty.
Ceballos has shown that he has what it takes to represent Arteta’s Gunners: he played 90 minutes in the FA Cup final win over Chelsea in August.
All the Spaniard is missing is the right maturity.