The 25-year-old Santos playmaker is set for his Selecao debut in September and is desperate to make another big impression on coach Dunga after starring in the Copa do Brasil
If you check the stats, Lucas Lima recorded neither a goal nor an assist in Santos's 2-1 Copa do Brasil victory against Corinthians in August. Others had scored the goals, others had played the final passes but, for anyone watching the game, there could be no doubt over who had masterminded the victory.
Thankfully for Lucas, Brazil coach Dunga had a close eye on the game – he was sitting in the stands. Santos's two goals that night were a perfect example of what the Brazil coach that hopes his new call-up can bring to the Selecao.
The first goal that evening arrived when Lucas held off a maker deep in midfield and made his way across the pitch, seemingly going nowhere, before sliding a wonderfully weighted, 40-yard pass inside the full-back for Geuvanio to cross for Gabriel. Victory was sealed when Lucas brought down a ball in midfield and instantly slotted an equally clever pass, this time with his weaker right foot, through for Marquinhos Gabriel to square for Ricardo Oliveira.
"I hope I have made an impression," he said after the game. "I have been able to help in the best way, because today the whole team was brilliant."
Few were more brilliant than Lucas. The 25-year-old was a something of a surprise call-up for September's Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour double-header against Costa Rica and USA but he has certainly been making himself known at home.
Born in Marilia, Sao Paulo, Lucas Rafael Auraujo Lima starred in this year's Sao Paulo state championship, inspiring Santos to their first title since 2012. He is now leading their charge through the Copa do Brasil, through which the club can secure a return to the Copa Libertadores.
He is attracting interest from elsewhere in the world, too, impressing scouts from a number of European club including Porto and Lyon, and admits that the time will soon come to bid farewell to Santos and make the trip abroad.
"I decided to stay in Brazil to get into the national team and, thank God, I made it," he says. "If I stay the at Santos until the end of the year then I will want out, just because of my age."
A left-footed, diminutive playmaker, he has been schooled at a club that has a tradition of producing creative midfielders like Diego, and Paulo Henrique Ganso. Able to operate behind the striker and in a deeper role, he already has 12 assists in all competitions – just one away from Ganso's best-ever return of 13 in the 2010 season.
"The main feature of my game is my dynamism in midfield. I am very happy when I make passes to create goals," said the player who started his career at Inter de Limeira in 2011. He joined the Internacional in 2012, where he made 16 appearances before a loan spell with Sport which saw him grab nine goals in 49 games. After failing to establish himself as a regular first-teamer he moved on to Santos in 2014 and hasn't looked back.
"I know how just important he is the midfield," Santos coach Dorival Junior told Terra. "He always makes the difference and is decisive with his final ball."
His club form has earned him his chance at the big time and now he has a chance to show the national team. "My goal is to show my potential with the Selecao," he said. "I'm going there to show my worth, at every training session and in every game. From there, we'll see what happens."
Lucas has already impressed Dunga against the Corinthians, also known as O Timao ('the big team'), and, having been included in the first team in Thursday's training session, now he must prove himself as part of the biggest there is.