Neymar, Kane, no Zlatan: Lucas Moura names best XI of players he has played with

Tottenham's Lucas and Son.

Lucas Moura has enjoyed an illustrious career for club and country, starring for Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham and Brazil throughout his peak.

Emerging as the shining star from Sao Paulo in the early 2010s, it was PSG who saw off interest from Manchester United and others to sign Moura in 2013.

Since then, the Brazilian has blossomed into one of the most reliable and effective wingers in European football, sweeping up silverware in France before moving to Spurs in 2018, where he remains today.

Life at Tottenham has become slightly more difficult in the last few seasons with other attackers featuring more prominently than him, but Lucas has always remained an incredible servant and can always be called upon to put in a stunning performance when needed.

We need not look past his heroic hat-trick in the Champions League semi-final second leg in 2019, that put Spurs within agonisingly close reach of European football’s most coveted prize.

Does Moura have a future at Tottenham?

But, with Tottenham only strengthening further and signing fellow Brazilian counterpart Richarlison from Everton, Moura only seems to be falling further down the pecking order, following Antonio Conte’s arrival as manager.

However, having someone as ridiculously capable as a 29-year-old Moura – a four-time Ligue 1 winner in his own right – as a mere squad option is surely attractive to Conte, who would benefit massively from keeping the Brazilian around, considering his ability and popularity with the fans.

Moura watches over play for Spurs
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 28: Lucas Moura of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the Premier League match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium on December 28, 2021 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

While speculation rumbles on surrounding his future as Spurs gear up for the new season in the transfer market, Moura has been looking back on his career so far with Brazilian outlet TNT Sport, and those he has shared it with.

Moura was recently tasked with crafting an XI out of the greatest footballers he has played with during his career, and also had to pick the best manager he had worked under. Considering his journey so far, he’s hardly short of star-studded options.

But, the XI he has crafted is incredibly interesting, and perhaps rather telling about the true talent of some individuals. Let’s take a look.

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Moura’s XI of the best players he’s played with

A graphic of Lucas Moura's XI of players he's shared a football pitch with
Lucas Moura’s XI of players he has played with is fascinating

A lot to unpack here, as you can probably tell. So let’s start from the back, with footballing cult hero Rogerio Ceni standing between the sticks. A surprising start, considering Moura has spent the last four seasons playing with World Cup winner Hugo Lloris.

Ceni scored an astounding 131 goals during his career as a goalkeeper, though, developing a reputation as a free-kick and penalty expert. What was also impressive was his longevity, as he played over 1200 professional games and won 20 major honours. A fine selection regardless.

It’s no surprise to see Marquinhos and Thiago Silva in front of him. The duo – also Brazilian – have played with Moura for club and country, but the trio were most successful together during their time at PSG, dominating domestically throughout the 2010s.

Controversial omissions in midfield and attack

The midfield three is where things get very interesting. Mousa Dembele was selected by Moura, a player who often flies under the radar but was absolutely insatiable during the peak of his powers at Tottenham. They only actually played together for one year, as Dembele left for China in January 2019. If that doesn’t tell you just how highly regarded he is by fellow professionals, then nothing will.

Thiago Motta occupies the second midfield spot, with Moura picking himself as the third and final midfielder. A bold option from the Brazilian maestro, with the likes of Casemiro, Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi all up for grabs. He backs himself, though, and for that we have to hold our hands up and say ‘fair play’.

Neymar, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min make up Moura’s front three, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani both missing out. Insane, again, but you can understand why he went with his current Tottenham teammates.

Lucas Moura and Zlatan Ibrahimovic stand over a dead ball
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 12: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) and Lucas Moura of Paris Saint-Germain look dejected as Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City scores their first goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg match between Manchester City FC and Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium on April 12, 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Kane has continued to find dizzying new levels despite not getting a move away from Spurs that he desired, while Son has quietly blossomed into one of the most lethal forwards in Europe.

Add the unrelenting flair, nauseating knowledge of trickery and attacking IQ of Neymar, and that’s an attacking force that could put life on Mars.

Moura’s love for Jose Mourinho

Finally, Moura selected a manager to watch on from the touchline. Having made a Champions League final under Mauricio Pochettino and knowing of the rave reviews we hear about the Argentine, you’d assume he was a shoo-in. But no, he actually selected Jose Mourinho, who managed Spurs from 2019 to 2021.

Their decision to hire Mourinho to replace Pochettino looks stranger by the day. It was clear Tottenham never seemed fully committed to booking a ticket on the chaos train that comes with him, which consequently was a recipe for a sour ending.

Mourinho delivers instructions to Moura
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 04: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur talks with Lucas Moura of Tottenham Hotspur during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on March 04, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

And while it did end in tears for Mourinho at Spurs in a forgetful two-year stint, there were a number of players who thrived under him, notably Moura, who looked completely revived in a more central role with more tenacious instructions.

Mourinho is now thriving in Serie A once again, winning the inaugural Europa Conference League with Roma. Who knows, if Moura decides he wants a new challenge, phoning up his old boss and reuniting in Rome could be the ideal next step.

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