LUCAS MOURA had such small feet as a child that his parents could not find any boots to fit him.
Broken, and with his dreams in the balance, the only way he was able to play properly was when a friend with the same size shoes kindly gave Lucas his so that he could play.
Incredibly, those boots, the first pair the Spurs star ever owned, have been kept by dad Jorge and now sit in the trophy room he has dedicated to his son in his Sao Paulo home.
It is no surprise that Jorge calls the tiny Umbros, no bigger than the picture frame next to them, a “relic”.
The laces are frayed at the end, the leather at the front tattered and the white stitching ragged and coming away from the seam.
Lucas’ feet were so small that we could not find any to fit him. These were given to him by a friend because he was the only other person with feet the same size.
Lucas Moura's dad Jorge
They have the look of being used by a child obsessed with the game – and destined for great things.
Moura’s remarkable journey will reach a peak on Saturday night if Tottenham beat Liverpool in the Champions League final in Madrid.
But some 5,200 miles away, at Jorge’s home in the wealthy Sao Paulo neighbourhood of Brooklin, sits a reminder of the hardships his son went through in order to reach the top.
Jorge, a former civil servant, explained the significance of the boots.
He said: “These are the first boots my son Lucas wore to play football on a pitch.
“Lucas’ feet were so small that we could not find any to fit him. These were given to him by a friend because he was the only other person with feet the same size.
“His friend had the same size shoe and he donated them to Lucas.
“These boots are a relic and they are locked with me, something I will always have.”
Just as eye-catching, by the steps at the back of his house near the swimming pool, is a huge mural dedicated to Lucas, who joined Spurs from Paris Saint-Germain for £25million in January 2018.
He is shown sliding on his knees and celebrating, his face a picture of emotion.
The painting used to show Lucas in a PSG shirt but was changed when he moved to Spurs.
TRIBUTE TO HIS TALENT
A message in the top right corner reads: “I want. I can. I will.”
Jorge said: “The painting is a tribute we made as a way of showing all the dedication and professionalism that Lucas always had throughout his career.
“Words are a guide for us, for him.
“Always chase after dreams, never give up even when you face adversity and go after everything with your head held high. That’s what makes you a true champion.”
Moura, who scored a hat-trick for Spurs in their amazing comeback against Ajax in the Champions League semi-final, is a hero in his hometown.
And his dad Jorge is looking to add another trophy from the final in Madrid.
Jorge added: “Every trophy I have here has a special meaning, a reminder of every part of our life, of the life of Lucas.
“He keeps many at his house in England too and I have many here in Sao Paulo.
“We keep them as a souvenir of affection.
“All the trophies and medals have a very big meaning for all of us, but the one from the final of the Copa Sudamericana in 2012 is extra special.
“Sao Paulo won and the goalkeeper, Rogerio Ceni, a legend here, gave the captain’s armband to Lucas for when he was to lift the trophy. That means a lot.
“Rogerio is a great idol of Sao Paulo, so it was a celebration and a reason for a lot of people – Lucas, me – to have great glory.
“When I look at the trophies I feel very proud of my son. It shows that everything we’ve done, everything we fight and fight for, has worked.
“As a parent, I feel very proud of the person that he has become – not just the footballer but also the man he is away from the pitch. It is a source of pride for our whole family.
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“Now to win the Champions League would be something magical, a beautiful moment for all of us. Our family will be there in Madrid to pass on all the support to him.
“He has struggled a lot to get to this position, a Champions League final. But all that work would be crowned with the title.
“It would be historical for the club, for him… and, if Spurs win, I’m sure we’ll celebrate a little too much in Madrid!”