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Sites & Languages

Sat 11 July 2020, 12:45|Tottenham Hotspur

He’s scored in derbies for Sao Paulo, PSG and Brazil - and Lucas Moura would love to make his mark in the north London derby on Sunday.

Born and bred in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Lucas’ first derby experiences came for home-city club Sao Paulo against Corinthians and Palmeiras - he scored in the city’s King’s Clash in September, 2010 - before making a spectacular entry into international football a year later with a goal on his debut for Brazil in the South American Classico against Argentina in September, 2011, helping the Seleção to win the Superclasico de las Americas.

His performances earned a move to Europe and Paris St Germain, where he scored in Le Classique against Ligue 1 rivals Marseille. He won the lot with the Paris club, including four successive titles and three successive doubles of Ligue 1 and Coupe de France, beating Marseille in the final in 2016.

Giovani Lo Celso was born and bred in Rosario, Argentina, and also played for his home club Rosario Central in the huge Clasico Rosarino against Newell's Old Boys. Still only 24, Gio has tasted his home derby, plus the Seville derby, El Gran Derbi, in La Liga playing for Real Betis against Sevilla and, like Lucas, the Le Classique between PSG and Marseille and Argentina against Brazil. Capped 21 times, he's played three times in the Classico.

Derby day is back in north London on Sunday (4.30pm). It’s an historic clash as Arsenal visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time. It’s also Jose Mourinho’s first NLD.

In this special feature, Lucas and Gio talk about their derby experiences so far...

Lucas on... derby week

“The feeling is very good. I think every player loves to play games like this. We know when you play a derby it’s a different competition. It doesn’t matter the position in the table, it doesn’t matter what you were playing for, the only thing that matters is to win the game. We all know how important the game is for the fans and the Club. It’s good, good for the fans, the atmosphere is amazing, especially when we are fighting directly against them for Europe, so this game will be special, we’ll prepare well and give our best. I like everything involved in these games. I like the day before, I like to be in my room at the Lodge thinking about the game, I like when we go to dinner and we speak about the game, I like being in the bus going to the stadium, I like every single second, every single minute before the game and then the game is what we’re waiting for. Then, if you win, it’s the best feeling. Let’s go, let’s fight and let’s get three points.”

Lucas on... Sao Paulo and PSG

“Derbies in every country are the same. Of course, some more than others, but the feeling is amazing, the fans become crazy! It’s good. Like I said, every player loves these games, it’s a chance to change your status. Crazy days! Come one day to Sao Paulo v Corinthians and you will see! PSG against Marseille, that’s a big, big derby as well, and an unbelievable atmosphere when you play in Paris or Marseille. I’ve had the opportunity to play in a lot of derbies, and to score, and it’s amazing.”

Lucas on... Brazil v Argentina

“I have very good memories about this game! The feeling was very good because I was very young, I scored for the national team against Argentina in my country, and it was amazing. I’m so happy for this and to have the opportunity to play in games like this, to score, I will keep that in my heart forever. It was crazy! My family was very happy, my friends were crazy, it was good. After the game everyone spoke about this, the goal, the win and it changed my status and everyone after that everyone looked at me in a different way. It’s an opportunity for players to show their talent. This game was very important for me.”

Gio on... Clasico Rosarino

“I had the chance to live the Rosario derby. Since I’m a fan of Rosario Central, that’s something special. I lived it in a very special way. We know how passionate the people are in Rosario. In Seville, the derby (Real Betis-Sevilla) also has a lot of passion. It’s a common topic of the city two weeks before the game. I think every derby has something special.”

Gio on... derby days

“I think in Argentina the derbies don’t have that much rhythm. You have to fight a lot, the games have more breaks and there’s a lot of time that goes without game play. In Spain, there is more space. You can see more build-up football, and here in England there is a lot of space and rhythm. The matches are open and both teams have opportunities. I played a couple of minutes of this season’s first north London derby. I think we deserved the win, but in the end it was a draw. Now we are looking forward to the game on Sunday. We need the win so we can improve in the table.”