Nothing brings the Parc des Princes to its feet faster than Lucas Moura taking off.
Blessed with incredible speed and technique, Lucas is Paris Saint-Germain’s latest in a storied succession of tricky Brazilian wingers. Capable of playing multiple positions on the pitch, he has versatility in droves and has endeared himself to the Parisian faithful through sheer ability to entertain. His lack of end product—excruciatingly illustrated in the above video—is frustrating to watch. But despite his inconsistent play, Lucas recorded 10 assists in the 2013-14 season. He followed that up with seven goals in the first half of the 2014-15 campaign, even as the team as a whole struggled.
Unfortunately, 2015 has been frustrating for the Brazilian speedster. The most gutting casualty of a disastrous 2-2 draw with Caen in February, he underwent surgery following a long-term injury, halting his breakout season just as the winter break brought the team back together. Javier Pastore, Marco Verratti, and a resurgent Edinson Cavani stepped up to lead the team to three trophies, but the Brazilian had to be content to watch from the sidelines, with Laurent Blanc understandably not wanting to aggravate the injury further. Not that that’s harmed his status with the fans.
The mutual love between player and club has resulted in a new contract deal until 2019, and all Moura must do for Paris is recapture his early season form.
I am very happy! For me, playing here is a source of great pride…My dream is to become a part of the Club’s history. – Lucas, on contract extension
The real sting, though, comes at an international level. Despite earning a respectable 31 caps for Brazil, Lucas was often derided for his woes in front of goal. Those criticisms aren’t unfair—four goals in 31 appearances is hardly a good return for a player of his quality. After his exclusion from the 2014 World Cup squad, Lucas did all he could to impress and new manager Dunga took note. First called up in October, when he would go on to win his first Player of the Month award, he picked up a short-term foot injury that put him out of action just long enough to miss out on another international cap.
His long period of absence after his surgery essentially undid all the work he had put in to regain his place in the national side. Despite returning to fitness near the end of the season, Lucas had no time to prove himself with his international teammates. He must watch his Brazilian compatriots, including best friend and PSG teammate Marquinhos, play on without him at the Copa America. A cruel and unlucky turn of events for the Parisian No. 7.
Lucas must not allow this turn of bad fortune to affect his spirits. Dunga has already noticed him; if he plays like he can, if he stays fit, his place in the 2016 Copa America squad is waiting for him.