Lopo with Deportivo in 2014
|Full name||Alberto Lopo García|
|Date of birth||5 May 1980|
|Place of birth||Barcelona, Spain|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|2006–2011||Deportivo La Coruña||151||(7)|
|2014–2016||Deportivo La Coruña||56||(4)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 6 November 2016.
His physical style of play results in him being one of the most booked players every season in Spanish football. He spent 16 years of his career – youth years accounted for – at Espanyol, twice winning the Copa del Rey.
Born in Barcelona, Catalonia, Lopo spent the bulk of his professional career at local RCD Espanyol, where he started to play when he was ten. Soon the coaches noticed his defensive skills and, in April 1999 (aged eighteen), he made his debut in La Liga against Real Zaragoza, thus becoming the first player to have represented the club in all categories. His breakthrough came during 2001–02, when he only missed five league matches and scored his first goal (in the first league round and against Zaragoza) but also received his first red card, during a 0–2 away loss against city rivals FC Barcelona.
Lopo would remain a starter at Espanyol under several coaches (Juande Ramos, Javier Clemente, Luis Fernández and Miguel Ángel Lotina) until his departure, gaining in the process a reputation as a superb but excessively rough defender. In 2002–03 he was given 14 yellow cards in twenty-three matches, including two in a 2–5 loss at Racing de Santander. The following season, after agreeing to a three-year extension, he was presented with 15 yellow cards (including three sending-offs) and one red; between 2004 and 2006 he received another 21 yellow and two red cards, although the numbers somewhat decreased in the subsequent years.
With two Copa del Rey trophies conquered with the Pericos, in 2000 and 2006, Lopo rejected the club's offer for renewal of contract and signed for Deportivo de La Coruña. But although he was out of contract, Espanyol eventually started a court case against Deportivo to get financial compensation (an amount of €5.6 million was mentioned) for having educated the player in its youth system. Espanyol's claim was based on an agreement between most Spanish clubs, although the Galician side was not a part of it as its board never confirmed it. Lopo was considered as one of the best Spanish central defenders available when he was signed on a free transfer in May 2006; other clubs showing serious interest were Valencia CF, Villarreal CF, Manchester United and Newcastle United, but the stopper decided to follow the footsteps of ex-Espanyol players Joan Capdevila and Sergio.
In his first season, Lopo continued as always: playing most matches (31) and receiving a mention-worthy total of eleven yellow cards (this included a double one at home against Celta de Vigo – he was also sent off in the cup home match against Real Valladolid). In the first part of the season he formed a stopper partnership with Álvaro Arbeloa but, after Arbeloa was sold to Liverpool, it was Jorge Andrade (recovered from an important injury) who accompanied Lopo at the back: that defence, with Capdevila and Fabrizio Coloccini at the sides and Dudu Aouate as goalkeeper, kept 16 clean sheets in 38 matches, and much of Depor's points gained that season were based on the defensive performance of a team not capable of scoring sufficient goals; in late April 2007, Lopo's injury-time header gave Deportivo a much needed 1–0 home win against CA Osasuna.
During the summer of 2007, Lopo's status at the club increased, significantly, as stoppers Juanma and Andrade both left the club, the former on a free transfer to CD Tenerife, the Portuguese sold to Juventus FC. Lopo himself confirmed that Deportivo rejected a €5 million offer from Real Zaragoza for him. However, he would spend the first five months out of action, due to a recurrent leg injury.
An everpresent fixture throughout 2008–09, Lopo headed in the 2–1 home winner in the season opener against Real Madrid. During the campaign, as Deportivo finished seventh, he collected a total of 13 yellow cards (no ejections).
Lopo continued to be an undisputed starter for Depor in the following two seasons, with relegation befalling in 2010–11. In late June, the 31-year-old free agent signed a three-year contract with Getafe CF.
In early November 2006, Lopo was picked by Spain national team coach Luis Aragonés for a friendly against Romania, and said about it: "Every player has to fight hard for his pick and to be part of the national team is a reward. This is probably the most important day in my career, it's a dream coming true”. In the end, he did not play during the 0–1 loss nor was he picked again for the national team.
- "Racing Santander 5–2 Espanyol". ESPN Soccernet. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 6 July 2012.[dead link]
- "Lopo deal lifts Clemente". UEFA.com. 3 April 2003. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
- "Two more signings at Deportivo". UEFA.com. 28 June 2006. Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
- "El Deportivo lleva el caso Lopo a los juzgados" [Deportivo takes Lopo affair to court]. Marca (in Spanish). 17 July 2006. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
- "Deportivo La Coruña 1–0 Osasuna". ESPN Soccernet. 22 April 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2012.[dead link]
- "Rude awakening for Barça and Madrid". UEFA.com. 1 September 2008. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014.
- "El Getafe ficha al deportivista Lopo" [Getafe signs deportivista Lopo]. La Nueva España (in Spanish). 22 June 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- "Lopo operado satisfactoriamente de una fractura de húmero" [Lopo successfully undergoes humerus operation]. El Diario Montañés (in Spanish). 19 February 2012.
- "Lopo apuntala la línea defensiva del Deportivo" [Lopo bolsters Deportivo's defensive line]. Marca (in Spanish). 29 January 2014. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Lopo remata en el último suspiro" [Lopo shoots in the dying breath]. Marca (in Spanish). 23 February 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
- "El Tenerife impide al Deportivo recuperar el liderato" [Tenerife prevents Deportivo from regaining first place] (in Spanish). Marca. 29 March 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
- "Lopo, oficialment nou jugador del Nàstic" [Lopo, officially new player of Nàstic] (in Catalan). Gimnàstic Tarragona. 15 August 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
- "Luis Aragonés aprovecha el amistoso de Rumanía para hacer una revolución" [Luis Aragonés profits from Romania friendly to stage a revolution]. Marca (in Spanish). 10 November 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- "Marica da otro varapalo a la España de Luis" [Marica strikes another blow to Luis' Spain]. Marca (in Spanish). 15 November 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- "¡Increíble Espanyol!" [Incredible Espanyol!]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 13 April 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2015.