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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Giovanni Lopez

Giovanni Lopez was born in Rome, on May 23, 1967.


Giovanni Lopez is first from left standing. Source Wikipedia

He started his football career with Lodigiani's youth sector (Rome' s third club at the time).


His professional debut came in 1985 for Varese in C1. He made 8 league appearances but the "Bosini" were relegated. Over the next three years he played 104 games in C2.


In 1989 he moved south to Fidelis Andria in C1. He stayed two seasons playing 62 games for the "Federiciani".


In 1991 he joined Vicenza in C1. He stayed six seasons. In his second, the "Lane" won promotion to Serie B and in his fourth, under Francesco Guidolin, to Serie A. There followed a 9th and an 8th place in the top tier but above all a historic Coppa Italia triumph, beating Napoli 3-1 on aggregate. Lopez was captain of a team including; Gabriele Ambrosetti, Massimo Beghetto, Domenico Di Carlo, Giampiero Maini, Roberto Murgita, Marcelo Otero, Maurizio Rossi, Luigi Sartor, Fabio Viviani and former Lazio, Alessandro Iannuzzi. Lopez played a total of 191 league games for the "Berici" with 11 goals.


In 1997 he joined Lazio as back up for Alessandro Nesta. He was sad to leave the Biancorossi but Lazio was home as he was a lifelong fan. As a manager he found the newly appointed Sven-Goran Eriksson. Lopez played alongside Nesta, Paolo Negro, José Antonio Chamot and Alessandro Grandoni. He played 23 league games, 5 in Coppa Italia and 6 in the UEFA Cup. Lazio fought for the Scudetto before collapsing in April but reached the UEFA Cup final (0-3 Inter) in Paris and above all won the Coppa Italia (Milan 3-2 on aggregate). So a solid season for Lopez who won his second consecutive domestic cup and would then win a third as Lazio also won the Supercoppa in August (Juventus 2-1).


Despite his good season, with the arrivals of Sinisa Mihajlovic and Fernando Couto, he moved to Napoli in the autumn of 1998 after playing an extra 9 games for the Biancocelesti (4 in A, 2 in Coppa Italia, 2 in Cup Winners Cup plus the Supercoppa).


Napoli were in Serie B and had Renzo Ulivieri as manager (Vincenzo Montefusco for last 3 matches). The Partenopei finished a disappointing 9th and Lopez played 27 league games.


The following year Walter Novellino arrived as manager and the Azzurri were promoted in 4th place. Lopez played 22 league games and 7 in Coppa Italia. His teammates included past and future Laziali Stefano Lombardi, Francelino Matuzalém and Massimo Oddo.


Despite promotion the following year, in 2000, Lopez was back in Serie B with Torino. The Granata came straight back up first under Gigi Simoni (1-8) and then Giancarlo Camolese (9-38), both former Lazio. Lopez however only made 2 league appearances and 5 in the Coppa Italia. Toro's squad included former Lazio Mauro Bonomi and Giorgio Venturin.


He stayed with "Il Toro" another two seasons but, mainly due to injuries, only played 2 Coppa Italia games. Torino came 11th and then in 2002-03 were relegated to Serie B again.


In 2003 he returned to Rome and joined his first club Lodigiani in C2. He played 24 league games and the Biancorossi finished 10th.


He retired at 37 and two years later went into coaching.


In 2006 he took over at Cisco Roma (former Lodigiani) after being assistant for a while. He then spent two years in the youth sector before another year as head coach in 2008-‘09.


In 2010 he was back at Lazio as assistant to Edy Reja for two seasons. For the record Lazio had two solid 5th and 4th places.


In 2013 he spent a season as head coach with Vicenza in Lega Pro (3rd tier) with a 5th place finish but then promoted to Serie B due to other clubs' financial irregularities. He stayed on the next season but was sacked after 11 games.


In 2015, from October, he was at Lucchese in Lega Pro but was replaced in February, while the "Pantere" then finished 13th. He returned to the Rossoneri from Lucca in March 2017 and finished 9th and then lost to Parma in the playoffs. The following season he took Lucchese to 12th place, a point short of the playoff zone.


In 2018 he joined Viterbese Castrense in Serie C (formerly Lega Pro) but only lasted two games. He was then called back in August 2019 but then sacked in November, leaving the team in 6th place.


In 2020 he returned to Lucchese for a third time. He was replaced three games from the end, with the team second bottom.


In December 2021 he was called up by Pistoiese in Serie C. He lasted only three games with the "Olandesina" and was replaced in January.


In January 2023 he was back at Viterbese in Serie C but was unable to avoid the "Tusci" from being relegated to Serie D.


From 1 July 2023 Lopez is the new manager of Albinoleffe (Bergamo) in Serie C. It is fair to say he has not made a major breakthrough as a manager yet.


As a player he was a defender who could play centre-back and full-back. He is 1.81 and 73 kilos and was a solid tackler, good in the air and could play the ball out from the back. He also was a useful freekick and penalty taker, especially at Vicenza where he had his best years.


At Lazio he only stayed a year but it was a positive one. He played for the club he supported and won two trophies. He played a total of 43 games in Rome. It was however the period in which Lazio were growing into a major force in European football so despite him being a good club player there was the need to move up a notch in the level of defenders.


Lazio Career

Season

Appearances

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Cup Winners Cup

UEFA Cup

Super Coppa

1997-98

34

23

5

6

Jun-Oct 1998

8

4

2

1

-

1

Total

42

27

7

1

6

1

Sources


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