Our series of player profiles on the top performing defenders from La Liga 2017/18 sees us examine Lucas Hernandez, the Atletico Madrid youth system prodigy whose approach to the game is entrenched in the philosophy of the club.
Of strong footballing stock, with his father having played centre back at the likes of Marseille – as well as having had a short stint at Atleti himself – and his younger brother Theo a burgeoning talent at arch rivals Real Madrid, Lucas has arguably arisen to a position as the cream of the crop of a family with a proud pedigree.
Having made his debut in the December of 2014, playing the full 90 minutes in a 3–0 away success over CE L’Hospitalet in the Copa del Rey, the defender has slowly consolidated his place as a trusted member of manager Simeone’s team.
The 2017/18 has arguably been his breakthrough season for the academy product, who has been at the club since joining at age 11 in 2007, with him amassing 27 league appearances for the side – playing at both left back and centre back across the campaign.
Of those 27 appearances, 24 have been from the start, with him being part of a back line that has kept a clean sheet on 18 appearances – conceding just 13 goals.
Lucas has also shown the combative style of play usually associated with Atleti, having conceded six yellow cards this season. If he can keep that down in the next campaign then he could easily leapfrog his tally of 80 points come the next season.
Having emerged as a strong contender in Didier Deschamps plans as he plans for the World Cup ahead, Lucas’ strong season could yet end with future glory as they dream of being crowned champions in Russia.
At just 22 years old, the fact that the Frenchman has achieved a third placed position in the race for the best La Liga defender highlights his immense maturity and understanding of the role for a player so young.
With regular game time under the guidance of Diego Simeone and alongside the seasoned Diego Godin, it would appear that Lucas has all the tools at his disposal to develop into one of the best defenders in world football.
Thought he appears loyal to the club whose academy has given him everything thus far, it would not be a surprise to see him in high demand in the not too distant future.
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