Premier League

Lucas Moura sends Tottenham to the Champions League final

Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura

For much of the 21st century, simply touching the Champions League was viewed as success for Tottenham Hotspur.

To reach a final was unthought of. It wasn’t even worth thinking about. Stay in your own lane and just focus on breaking into the top four, alright?

It made the manner of Spurs’ 2019 remarkable breakthrough sweeter. “It was impossible, so we did it,” Moussa Sissoko said post-match. “We had heart, and Lucas Moura,” commented Christian Eriksen.

Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura

Eriksen hailed Lucas post-match / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Lucas Moura’s signing from Paris Saint-Germain was seen as an ‘opportunity’ by Tottenham, according to former manager Mauricio Pochettino. “We are a club where we sign opportunities…we are in different positions and different realities,” the Argentine claimed in January 2018 upon his arrival.

The notion was that Spurs could not compete with the rest of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ in the transfer market – he pointed to Manchester United’s acquisition of Alexis Sanchez and Manchester City’s of Aymeric Laporte that same month in the same interview – and Lucas was the prize that just so happened to fall into their lap.

The Brazilian’s stock had fallen a fair bit after he left hometown club Sao Paulo for PSG in 2013 for a rather seismic £38m. He arrived in France as a wonderkid, but left it as a ‘what if’, remembered mainly for highlights that rarely stretched beyond a few seconds and being a good friend of Neymar.

Tottenham didn’t have anyone like Lucas in their squad upon his arrival, sorely lacking a traditional winger capable of stepping up when their trademark DESK – Dele Alli, Eriksen, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane – weren’t all available.

The opportunity’s opportunity came in the 2018/19 season, his first full campaign in north London, the beneficiary of an injury crisis which touched nearly every player. He’d go on to hit double digits of goals in the Premier League, including an emphatic brace in a 3-0 win at Manchester United – which broke Jose Mourinho’s brain with demands for ‘respect’ – and the first-ever hat-trick at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Lucas’ impressive year became unforgettable in Amsterdam.

UEFA Champions League"Ajax v Tottenham Hotspur FC"

Lucas hauled Tottenham into the final / VI-Images/GettyImages

2-0 down on the night and 3-0 down on aggregate, Tottenham were on the verge of exiting the Champions League at the semi-final stage after three halves of football against Ajax.

Despite the Premier League’s riches bleeding down to Spurs, no one would have begrudged them for…

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