Lucas Moura is a 19-year old player who is currently at São Paulo. He usually wears shirt number 7 at both his club and also at Brazil’s national team.
He started his career at Marcelinho Carioca’s youth academy, and quickly got nicknamed Marcelinho due to supposedly looking like the former Corinthians player. He spent the next years at Juventus-SP and Corinthians’ youth setups before joining São Paulo in 2005.
He shined for the first time in a big tournament in 2010, when he was part of the São Paulo team that won Copa São Paulo de Juniores, the most prestigious youth tournament in Brazil. His success in that tournament enabled him to be promoted to São Paulo’s senior team.
The young star eventually got tired of getting called ‘Marcelinho’ and requested to be called just ‘Lucas’, as Marcelinho Carioca is one of the biggest idols of São Paulo’s arch-rivals Corinthians.
He quickly became known as ‘Lucas Moura’ as he started to get called up for Brazil’s national team, where Lucas Leiva from Liverpool was already a regular part of the team.
His first big competition at Brazil’s national team was the South American Under 20 Championship in January 2011, which Brazil won. He was one of the key players in that team alongside Neymar.
He got his Brazil’s senior team cap in March 2011, in a match against Scotland. He scored his first international goal in September, in a game against Argentina for the Superclásico de las Américas trophy, where only home-based players were eligible to play.
He has been regarded as an important player for São Paulo since then, and is arguably the most promising player to come from São Paulo’s academy since Kaká.
Lucas Moura is not a tall player (only 1.73m or 5’8’’) but is fairly strong for someone of his height, which allows him to handle more physical players better than expected.
He is right-footed and is a very versatile player, being able to play as an attacking midfielder and as a right winger, but currently prefers to play as a forward.
His main qualities are his speed and his dribbling skills, which help him anticipate and overcome defenses, making him an effective forward at São Paulo. as his finishing is also pretty good although could be improved. These qualities and the fact he is relatively strong despite being short could prove useful in more physical leagues such as the English Premier League.
Lucas also has good passing skills, but he seldom takes advantage of that ability, preferring to dribble rather than to pass, also annoying teammates and fans alike.
This poor decision making has been criticized by most of his previous coaches, who however failed to fix the problem. He also does not try long shots as much as he perhaps should.
He also needs to improve his consistency and his concentration, as he often disappears during games, especially in important ones such as playoff games and derbies.
These issues have lead many São Paulo fans to regard him as a choker and some pundits went as far as to comparing him to the likes of Denílson and Lulinha, both of which were expected to achieve far more than they did.
Despite all the problems mentioned above, he has been showing evolution, as for example he originally relied mainly on his speed, eventually learning how to use his dribbling skills as well. It’s also important to take into account that he is still only 19 years old, and thus is still somewhat raw.
And unlike Ganso, for example, he is not an injury prone player and does not get involved in any problems or controversies off the pitch.
Once he can improve his mentality on the pitch, he will be set to become one of the top Brazilian players, and will be comparable to Neymar, who already shows maturity on the pitch despite being only 20 years old.
But right now he is still behind not only Neymar, but also Oscar, who is a more complete, decisive and consistent player than Lucas.