PSG Star Lucas Moura Deserves Shot at Brazil Recall

Christopher AtkinsContributor IOctober 6, 2014

Paris Saint Germain's forward Lucas Moura of Brazil run with the ball on the field during his League One soccer match against Caen, in Caen, western France, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
David Vincent/Associated Press

Paris Saint-Germain have endured a miserable start to the new league season by their own high standards, having won just three of nine Ligue 1 games to date. Marseille have extended a seven-point lead at the top of the division, and Laurent Blanc's position as manager is becoming increasingly untenable.

However, that is not to say that all within the PSG ranks are not performing. Centre-backs David Luiz and Marquinhos have struck up a terrific partnership at centre-back that will trouble even the great Thiago Silva to separate. Italian Marco Verratti, too, is continuing to develop well.

However, it is the efforts of another Brazilian in Lucas Moura that perhaps attract the least attention. The former Sao Paulo man may not be rewriting the record books, but he is the only non-central striker or centre-back to have scored for the club in league action this year, marking on three occasions.

Lucas excelled against Barcelona
Lucas excelled against BarcelonaDean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Indeed, Lucas' goal tally matches that of Uruguayan Edinson Cavani as second only to the mighty Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has five to his name.

He was sensational against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League just last week, giving the much-praised Jordi Alba a torrid time in the left-back position. To top it off, the Brazilian was voted his club's Player of the Month in September, per French football writer Robin Bairner:

As form goes, Lucas cannot be said to be as disappointing as he once was. He is now a regular starter and, indeed, one of the club's top performers.

There are areas of his game to still work on, including his finishing, but there can be no doubting his work-rate or ability to influence big matches. He has often stepped up for PSG when most required.

Felipao was right not to take Lucas to the World Cup, as astonishing as that sounds after Brazil's poor showing. He had disappointed on recent outings with the national side—the vast majority as a substitute—and was not battering on the door with his PSG performances.

However, looking forward to Brazil's coming challenges, it is hard to persist in omitting him from the squad. Is Robinho going to offer the side more? Not based on the last five years, while contention will continue to surround the inclusion of Diego Tardelli.

Robinho is a favourite of head coach Dunga
Robinho is a favourite of head coach DungaMiguel Schincariol/Getty Images

When 32-year-old Kaka called to replace the injured Ricardo Goulart earlier this week, Lucas could have been forgiven for believing his progress is not being monitored—in spite of teammates Marquinhos and David Luiz's recent call-ups.

Managing a national side is obviously a very different task to forming a club unit, but some of Dunga's selection decisions have been highly questionable over the past few weeks. It is difficult to say that he is picking a side based on merit when the likes of Robinho, Romulo, Elias and Juan Jesus are called up ahead of players currently performing at a much higher level.

Lucas can only continue to impress. If he keeps making his case on the Champions League stage, then it will become increasingly difficult to overlook his claims. After all, he has been one of the most high-profile names in Brazilian football since shining for the country's Under-20 side in 2011.

Dunga will face World Cup runners-up Argentina in Beijing next weekend in a game that could define how the early period of his second spell as coach is defined. It is a game in which he may well regret not giving himself the option of Lucas' pace and directness from the bench, given that his game plan remains almost entirely counter-attack based.

The head coach has plenty of critics within the media, and Lucas' omission will doubtless be a stick with which to bash him should Brazil's results take a turn for the worse in months ahead.

Brazil may not have the level of talent they have been able to call upon in previous years but are choosing to leave out some of those who have proven capable of influencing games at a high level.

It is a decision that is hard to understand, but it should motivate Lucas to continue his good form and prove his critics wrong long term.

He is a potential and proven match-winner against any opponent and is at the very least deserving of another chance to demonstrate as much in Brazil colours.