No sooner had the New Year arrived when Paris Saint-Germain were already unveiling their long-awaited new signing Lucas Moura in Doha, Qatar. A sign of modern day football perhaps, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower, Thiago Silva had place Concorde and now Moura had the Doha Museum of Islamic Art. Moura's claims though were enough to rival even Ibrahimovic's self-confidence.
"All Brazilian players have the dream to become the best player and I am no different," claimed Lucas Moura. "I will fight to achieve this ambition and to become number one!"
"I'm glad to know that the coach is counting on me," he continued at the ceremony. "Football is my life and I will do everything to achieve our goals and make the fans happy. This is a great challenge that awaits me here."
The Brazilian's arrival has been coming since the capital club made the announcement back in August that they had broken their own club record transfer fee (previously held by Javier Pastore) to land the 20-year old from Sao Paulo for 45 million euros. The move snatched Moura from under the noses of Manchester United, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson irate. However, it was more likely jealousy given the lavish amounts of money that Europe's new powerhouse are able to throw at tremendous talents such as the attacking midfielder.
Less known though is the deep attachment that many Brazilians have forged with PSG over the years, and it appears that the club's long association with some of the finest Samba stars in the past is what won Moura over. That and the astronomic offer put on the table by Leonardo and Qatar Sports investments to ensure that they got their man.
"Big names like Ronaldo and Ronaldinho are my idols," claimed Moura. "Brazilian players have made a huge impact on the history of this club and I hope to do the same. I talked a lot with Rai, he advised me to concentrate on my football and to quickly learn French."
PSG's new arrival will sport the number 29 shirt until the end of the season and coach Carlo Ancelotti will get his first chance to field the new star in Wednesday’s prestigious friendly with Lekhwiya while the side are currently on a mid-season break in Doha. The significance of the signing has not been lost on the club in the time it has taken him to arrive from Sao Paulo. Moura has been widely regarded as one of world football's hottest properties for a number of years now; his presence at the club has the potential to take PSG to another level if he can fulfill his considerable promise.
When Nasser Al-Khelaifi arrived in Paris in the summer of 2011, he boldly claimed that he wanted the club to find the "next Lionel Messi". In Moura they may just have found the man capable of running closest to the Argentine for the title of world football's greatest talent, and not least because the Brazilian has already compared his style of play to that of the Barcelona maestro. Al-Khelaifi was delighted when PSG captured the 20-year-old's signature and praised the club's ambition for luring the Brazilian.
"I want to thank Leonardo, Jean-Claude Blanc and the entire leadership of the club because it was not easy to sign Lucas Moura," he said. "Paris Saint-Germain will build a European club among the best in Europe and the World."
Then, in a barb no doubt aimed towards Ferguson and United, he followed up with this:
"Lucas Moura is one of the best players in the world. It is normal to spend these sums of money like the biggest clubs elsewhere. Jealousy is normal, but I hope that the club's supporters are satisfied with the investment."
There is no doubt that Moura's arrival is cause for celebration, but make no mistake, this is Al-Khelaifi's moment. This is the player QSI have been waiting for since they took over the club and now that they have him, this will be the signing that matters most. Moura is the one who can really quantify the progress that the French giants have made since the initial euphoria surrounding the arrival of Pastore.
The Brazilian is prodigiously talented and skillful, not to mention fast, and his success on the pitch will likely depend on how quickly he settles down. Pastore's arrival was expected to be the key moment of the new era at PSG, instead it only served to usher in a host of other talented players. But more so than Ibrahimovic and Silva, Moura will be the player whose fortunes define the success, or failure, of QSI's ambitious project.