Champions League final: Why Lucas Moura must start for Tottenham

Lucas Moura has been Tottenham’s unlikely heroes in the Champions League this season. The Brazilian kept his team’s hopes of winning the European title with crucial goals and decisive performances.

Moura etched his name into Spurs’ folklore with three second-half goals to seal a remarkable comeback against Ajax in the semi-final. It was the 26-year-old who struck against Barcelona at Camp Nou and grabbed that vital away goal in Eindhoven.

Moura’s goals against Ajax took him to 15 for a season that he began brightly with two in the 3-0 win at Manchester United and the 26-year-old has emerged as the perfect example of the hunger and focus that Mauricio Pochettino has cultivated in players who are not automatic choices.

Without the ex-Paris Saint-Germain winger, perhaps the English side wouldn’t have made it to Saturday’s final in the Spanish capital. Moura, though, risks missing out at the Wanda Metropolitano showdown owing to Harry Kane’s return.

Pochettino has a tough decision to make. He gave nothing away on Friday. “It’s not going to be easy to take a decision,” he said.

“We are going to take the best decision to try to win. It’s so painful when this type of game arrives and you can only use 11 players from the beginning.”

Moura has been starting since Kane hurt an ankle ligament in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals. The versatile 26-year-old Brazilian was deployed in different positions; as an attacking midfielder and focal point of his team.

Moura is direct and could take advantage of Liverpool’s somewhat sluggish defence. His unpredictability is an asset to the North London side. Alongside Son Heung-min, you never know what to expect in the final third, kinda like these mouthwatering Champions League odds with njbets.

The pair offered goals and guile in the absence of their injured talisman. Son’s movement was aided by the equally mobile Moura. They cut through teams, capitalised on mistakes and then cause panic behind.

Moura is relishing the prospect to featuring is his maiden Champions League final. Whether from the start or an impact sub, the Brazilian won’t really bother.

“All of this is a dream and now I have the opportunity to play in the final and to win the competition I have always dreamt about,” Moura told UEFA.com. “Without a doubt it’s the best moment of my career.”

This isn’t unfamiliar for the 26-year-old. Moura had been an important part of the PSG squad when he arrived from Sao Paulo in 2013 for £40m, particularly in the previous campaign – Unai Emery’s first – making 53 appearances and scoring a career-high 19 goals.

Then, Emery bombed him. The manager had to accommodate the big-money signings Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, but it was still remarkable to witness the speed of Moura’s descent from hero to zero. Over the first half of the season, Moura played six times, each as a substitute. In total, he was on the field for 80 minutes.

Although Kane offers an imposing physical presence, Moura should be rewarded for all his hard work.

Written by Toby Prince

Follow Toby on Twitter @prinzToby

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