If you watch Champions League, follow Tottenham Hotspur or Brazilian players in international football, you probably recognize the name Lucas Moura. Before he was a pro player, he played futsal at home in São Paulo and thereby learned crucial ball skills and fundamentals he uses today.
Just yesterday in Amsterdam, those fundamentals were put to the test as his team was on the brink of elimination in the Champions League Semifinal against the formidable Dutch club Ajax.
With the absence of star forward Harry Kane, some thought that Spurs lacked the striking power they needed to contend with the energetic, youthful and composed setup of Ajax.
However, in stepped Brazilian Lucas Moura at center forward, and in an incredible display of tenacity, perseverance and game sense, he led the line for Spurs, bagging a second-half hat trick to come from behind and get Tottenham to the Champions League final.
FourFourTwo, a major international football website, posted an interview with Moura, who was then a player at French club Paris Saint-Germain. In this interview, Moura talks about playing futsal in his childhood:
"When I was a kid I used to train at home, dribbling around tables and chairs. I spent days in the yard with my brother and cousin. I’ve always been passionate about football and found it easy to learn new skills, especially as I’m used to playing in tight spaces. Most skillful players started out playing futsal and I am no exception. You learn lots of things – quick thinking, quick feet, quick passing. If you can transfer this onto the pitch, you’ll give yourself a great advantage.”
The full interview can be found here: https://www.fourfourtwo.com/us/performance/skills/lucas-moura-dribble-brazilian-way
photo credit: Evening Standard
Lucas Moura definitely needed to navigate some tight spaces to get by the stingy Ajax defense, especially to score the 96th minute winner between the pincer of two defenders, as you can see in the match highlights from Bleacher Report below:
Lucas Moura said that he always dreamed of playing in a Champions League final, and in part thanks to his ball skills and footwork in tight spaces he honed in his childhood home and in the streets of São Paulo, he made his dreams come true.