2017 has been a tough year so far for Santos playmaker Lucas Lima.
A regular in the Brazil squad under previous coach Dunga, an injury halted his momentum and a loss of form saw him dropped from Tite’s squad for March’s World Cup qualifiers.
But on Friday the no.10 returned to the international setup after being included in the squad for June’s Brasil Global Tour double-header against Argentina and Australia in Melbourne.
Undefeated in the Libertadores, the Peixe cruised into the knockout stage and much of their fine form owed to a resurgent Lucas Lima.
The standout performer of Dorival Junior's side South America’s Champions League, the 26-year-old provided his team five assists and was crucial in almost every one of their group-stage matches.
Nobody on the continent has created as many goals as Lucas Lima in the Libertadores and only the age-defying Pablo Escobar of the Strongest (19) has created more chances than Lima (18).
Back in the squad and with central midfield one of the areas of the team that Tite is still hoping to improve, Lucas Lima will have a vital opportunity to prove his worth to the squad in what will be two experimental friendly matches for the five-time world champions.
That he was selected ahead of Flamengo’s Diego, who joined the squad for March’s qualifiers, will be a huge boost of confidence for Lucas Lima.