“It looks like Lucas Beraldo is already a Parisian, that he’s a player from the training center,” Luis Enrique enthuses. Said Beraldo is however not a titi, far from it. Its express adaptation is simply exceptional. “It’s great that he adapted so quickly, he has personality and enormous qualities and above all, he adapts well to our idea of ​​the game. It’s extraordinary… Logically, however, it’s the “exception because it takes time to adapt, especially when you change countries or continents,” whispers the 53-year-old Spanish technician, already under the spell.

He is not the only one. Recruited last winter in São Paulo, his training club, the young (20 year old) Brazilian defender has impressed since his arrival on the banks of the Seine. Luis Campos had a hollow nose. A native of Piracicaba, near São Paulo, Beraldo made his professional debut in May 2022, during a Copa Sudamericana match against Ayacucho (1-0), launched into the deep end by former Brazilian international goalkeeper Rogério Ceni. However, it was not until the following season, in 2023, that he established himself in the first team under the orders of Dorival Júnior. In the end, he played 52 matches in all competitions under the colors of São Paulo (1 goal), winning the Brazilian Cup in 2023, the first in the club’s history. A trophy that he won alongside a certain Lucas Moura.

“He is one of those who helped me the most in São Paulo. He brought me a lot. He is sensational because he wants to help everyone and I am one of those who benefited from it. He helped me in this decision to come to Paris, he told me a lot of good things about the club, the city. He was decisive in my choice. He told me that it’s extraordinary, that I would grow by going there, that I would take off,” the neo-Parisian recently explained on Free Ligue 1.

The Parisian leaders can thank Lucas, 31, at the club from January 2013 to January 2018, for the decisive pass. It was still necessary to pay €20 million to snatch him from the Paulista team. Talent has to be paid for. And there is no shortage of them. Even if it wasn’t obvious right away… Faced with an avalanche of injuries in defense, particularly in the middle, Luis Enrique was quick to use Beraldo. Arriving in Paris at the start of the winter transfer window, on January 1, he started against the amateurs of Revel (9-0) not even a week after his transfer, at the beginning of January, in the 32nd round of the Coupe de France.

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The first of his… 13 matches with PSG. Maybe 14 if he continues against Nice this Wednesday (9:10 p.m., beIN SPORTS and France 3), in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France. Who would’ve believed that ? If some may have doubted the merits of his recruitment, it is because “Lucho”, who “likes players who sacrifice themselves for the team”, put his new defender in every way, including in a position… left rear. He did it again in the first leg against Real Sociedad (2-0) on February 14. “You don’t put Lucas Beraldo left back in the Champions League when that’s not his position,” squeaks former Parisian Greg Paisley, beIN SPORTS consultant. He doesn’t have the body’s orientation, there are things that are obvious,” he swears, having played as a left-back. And continued: “As a central defender, on the other hand, I really like it. He is calm, serene, he restarts cleanly. There is this speed deficit, it will be up to him to compensate in anticipation. With Luis Enrique’s playing philosophy in this position, I love it, he doesn’t put caramels in front, he puts the ball down as soon as possible, he will play short…”

Lucas Beraldo is indeed perfectly suited to Luis Enrique’s game. When he had to start again in San Sebastian last week, it was as a center back. And this time, he gave the full measure of his talent. Solid and calm on the defensive level, he is capable of delivering excellent balls in the long or short game. Everyone has in mind his bright opening at the start of the action which brings Kylian Mbappé’s second goal against Real Sociedad. The kind of pass that changes everything. It is not given to everyone to have the vision and the technique. He has both.

“I feel really good, but it’s not just me, it’s the whole team that has done their role very well. Everyone managed to execute well what the coach proposed to us,” said the person concerned in the club media, referring to “a dream come true” in terms of playing in the Champions League. Many have also highlighted his attitude at the time of the C1 anthem, all smiles, eyes towards the sky, happy like a kid. Nothing suprising. This is even why he inherited his nickname, “Joker”. “It’s because I burst out laughing before every match. It’s the mental work that I do to come home more confident and have a better performance,” he says, adding that he “always thanks God before each match.” If he continues this way, he will have the opportunity to smile and say thank you before many kick-offs with Paris…

And not just with PSG either. A U20 international so far, Lucas Beraldo has been called up to the Brazil team for the March gathering. A first for him. The new coach knows him well, it is Dorival Jr, his coach in São Paulo. This will be an opportunity for him to continue learning alongside the man he already saw as his “idol” before arriving in France, Marquinhos. “I see it every day now! I learn a lot with him and being at his side,” smiles the young defender, who relies on “Marqui” and the other Portuguese speakers (Danilo, Ramos, Vitinha) in Paris. Spanish speaking, he can also communicate directly with Luis Enrique.

To see if said Luis Enrique will give him as much playing time when the infirmary empties. Nuno Mendes is already out. Danilo too. There remain Marquinhos, who is also out until the international break as we learned on Tuesday, Milan Skriniar and Presnel Kimpembe. There will always be minutes to take here and there knowing that the ex-coach of La Roja is a fan of perpetual turnover, just to involve as many players as possible. Turnover which notably allowed Lucas Beraldo to be ready against Real Sociedad in the Champions League.

“It’s true that I really like Beraldo in the center, it’s perhaps his ideal position, but if the team needs him as a full-back, he is open to that option. In fact, even an attacker could play defender for me if we need one at a time, explains Luis Enrique. I need 23 players who say to me, “Where do you want me to play, coach?” And that’s the beautiful thing when you create a team, a group, that the players play where we need them and do things a little differently,” insists the former coach of the Barça, Roma and Celta Vigo, praising the “good job of Luis Campos in recruiting a player like him”. And added: “Despite his young age, his adaptation is incredible, it looks like he has many years as a professional behind him.” On the PSG side, we can only hope that the other Brazilian recruit from last winter, Gabriel Moscardo, will follow the same trajectory. Injured at the time of his signing, the 18-year-old midfielder ultimately remained in the incubator at Corinthians, on loan. He will join Beraldo in Paris this summer.