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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Claudio Lopez

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

Claudio Lopez was born in Rio Tercero, Argentina, on July 17, 1974.


Source Wikipedia

He started his footballing career with Estudiantes but debuted professionally with Racing Club where he played 116 games with 25 goals as a left-winger in four years. In 1996 he moved to Europe and signed for Valencia. It was a marvellous team full of interesting players. In 1999 they won the Copa del Rey and the SuperCopa and in 2000 played in the final of the Champions League losing to Real Madrid.


Lazio that year had encountered the speed of Claudio Lopez in an infamous night in Valencia in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Without their star defender Alessandro Nesta, Claudio Lopez went through the Lazio defence like a hot blade through butter. The Biancocelesti lost 5-2 and in the return match could not go beyond a 1-0. To think that when Valencia were drawn everybody was happy!!!


Claudio Lopez in that match was phenomenal, scoring two goals. He immediately became a target for President Sergio Cragnotti and the club signed him in the summer of 2000 after having won the double, scudetto and Coppa Italia.


His first game for the Biancocelesti was the Super Coppa against Inter. He was devastating, delighting fans with his speed and making them dream of the future thanks to a good partnership with centre forward Hernan Crespo. After winning the Super Coppa however, Claudio Lopez suffered a bad injury against Brescia on November 1, and missed most of the season. He returned in 2001 scoring his first goal in the Serie A on August 26 in the home game against Piacenza. When he came back he was still a great player but not as devastating as what we had seen in the game against Inter and previously with Valencia. He did well, and sometimes one did see the old magic, but it was another Lazio. Under Roberto Mancini the team reached a Champions League qualification in 2002-03 and won the Coppa Italia in 2004.


But things were changing. Lazio were deeply in debt, Cragnotti was forced to resign and sell the club, then bought by Claudio Lotito. The first thing Lotito needed to do was to cut costs, so a number of players had to leave. Some, like Stefano Fiori and Bernardo Corradi, were sold to cover previous debts. Claudio Lopez as a consequence was sold to América in Mexico. He stayed there three years winning a championship as well as the CONCACAF Champions League. In 2007 he returned to Racing Club. His contract ended in December so in March 2008 he announced that he had signed for Kansas City Wizards in the MLS. Two years later he joined Colorado Rapids. On May 19 2011 he announced that he was going to retire, but he still wanted to work in football. As such he became sports director for his last team.


Claudio Lopez has 54 caps with Argentina with 10 goals. He participated in the 1998 World Cup scoring a goal in the quarterfinal defeat against The Netherlands. He also played in the 2002 World Cup where Argentina were eliminated in the group stage.


Claudio Lopez played and scored for Lazio. He was an incredibly fast left-winger, very talented, who knew how to play. He had one major flaw: he did everything with his left foot, the right one was used only for walking. I really think that he never came back quite as good as he was before the 2000 injury. But the player who did come back was still top class.


Lazio Career

Season

Toal games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

UEFA Cup

Super Coppa

2000-01

23 (7)

16

-

6 (5)

-

1 (2)

2001-02

38 (12)

29 (10)

1

8 (2)

-

-

2002-03

47 (17)

34 (15)

4

-

9 (2)

-

2003-04

36 (4)

27 (4)

5

4

-

-

Total

144 (40)

106 (29)

10

18 (7)

9 (2)

1 (2)

Sources


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