Since his arrival in France (Doha more specifically, where he was unveiled) Lucas Moura has set Paris Saint-Germain fans’ minds alight with some sublime football. Having arrived for the massive sum of €45million, he was expected to need time to adapt to Ligue 1 and be introduced gradually to the first team. Less than two months into the New Year, the Brazilian is already a key part of the team.
Impressive in his league form, particularly against Toulouse, the 20-year-old has arguably captured the imagination most with his performance in PSG’s Champions League first leg victory over Valencia. His explosion onto the European scene comes sooner than expected, but as the capital club’s project continues to progress ahead of time on the continent coach Carlo Ancelotti deemed him ready for European football.
In the league, he has developed surprisingly quickly in a league that is famed for its tactical focus and physical style of play, particularly in defence. Moura has adapted in less time than originally thought necessary and so Ancelotti has already made him a key player. The Brazilian international may not have scored yet, but he has provided three goals in five games and his style of play has fans salivating.
His debut against Ajaccio at home was not perhaps the most eye-catching of debuts, but that was more because of the nature of the game than Moura not being influential. Ancelotti picked a team that would represent an average top-flight French match experience, preparing the Samba star for the remainder of the season.
Despite finishing goalless, Moura was outstanding and made some darting runs, probing constantly for openings in the Corsica defence and going for goal. Going off with a cramp after 85 minutes following his energetic performance was a sign of things to come.
The next game, away to Bordeaux, he was even better. PSG were struggling for large parts of the game to break down their hosts, but it was the Brazilian who made the crucial breakthrough. Picking the ball up in the middle of the attacking third where he had deployed himself despite starting on the right, he brought the ball inside before playing a beautiful threaded pass into the path of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored his 19th goal of the season (now 21).
His third league game against Lille followed a brief 15-minute cameo against Toulouse in the Coupe de France when the game had already been won. Once again, like Ajaccio, les Dogues frustrated PSG for large parts of the game but Lucas was always at the fore for the hosts. Played wide on the right again, he cut inside and spent the majority of the match in a more central role where he appears more dangerous.
The capital club’s next match against Toulouse away was a perfect example of that. In his first start in a central role alongside Ibrahimovic, and his best for PSG so far, Moura was devastating. He provided two assists as Ancelotti’s side romped to a 4-0 victory and looked lethal every time he touched the ball. His crossing, inch perfect, provided two brilliant goals and the interchanging between Ibra, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore was the most fluid it has been in his time in the capital.
Against Bastia it was a similar story to the Ajaccio match, but Moura didn’t let it stop him continuing to acclimatise to French football. The hosts eventually won 3-1 with the Brazilian having left the field with 15 minutes remaining up 2-0, but it was Moura who provided the second. Julian Palmieri ended a trademark darting run in the Corsicans’ penalty area and Ibrahimovic dispatched the resulting spot-kick, bagging his 21st goal of the season.
It was against Valencia though where he arguably showed his true worth, a virtuoso performance in the first 45 minutes where PSG seized control of the tie. Moura was electric on the right hand side, outflanking his opponents—often in tight and compact spaces—running at them with searing pace and providing Pastore’s crucial second goal after bamboozling the home defence. Unfortunately his game was ended early with an ankle injury that has since kept him out of action.
The early signs are good though. Moura has been a fantastic addition to the team and despite his arrival forcing Ancelotti into changes that were not wholly necessary, the Brazilian is a talent that PSG cannot do without right now. He has yet to add goals to his repertoire in the capital but let’s not forget that he has only played five league games. As he continues to adapt to French football on and off the pitch, Paris will surely see the continued blossoming of one of football’s brightest young stars. With Champions League football to aid his progress, Moura will be PSG’s key man next season, if he isn’t already.