Real Madrid purchase and sell many players as we have gotten used to seeing some of the biggest names in world football join the club, while other big names leave. It has been proven to be extremely difficult to succeed in a team such as Real Madrid as we have seen time and time again. With that said, many players have found their way to the team and have been able to make history within the club. Players such as Fernando Hierro, Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Carlos, and Cristiano Ronaldo are just a small part of what makes this club so beautiful with some of the greatest players making their marks on the history books. Record-breakers are one thing as they find their unique ways to become legends at the club by raising the bar a little bit higher than everyone else. Then, we have the players who come to the club and everyone can immediately see the love and admiration that they have towards this club. With some players, that love never really gets them, other players grow to love the club as they spend more years there, and there are the few player who have been raised by the club and feel as though it is exactly where they belong. You can see that ‘sparkle’ in their eyes the second they sign, the smile that they have during the photo’s are very clear for everyone to see, and their admiration for Real Madrid drives them to show all that they are capable of. Diego Lopez was an example of the player who showed his love and his determination for Real Madrid from the first day in training and until the last.
Maybe Diego Lopez wasn’t fully raised by the club as he arrived as an 18-year-old from Lugo. Still, he had a lot to learn and there was space for him to learn. He started with Real Madrid C and made his way up the ranks. While he was with Real Madrid B, he went on loan as many youth players do with Alcorcon before coming back and continuing his journey. He was finally part of the Senior Squad but saw his first-team appearances very limited due to a fantastic Iker Casillas in goal. Still, he knew that he wasn’t good enough nor was he ready to become Real Madrid’s first goalkeeper. He then decided that he should gain some extremely valuable first-team opportunities and that adventure took him to Villarreal and Sevilla. Even though his time with Sevilla wasn’t too great as most of his time was spent on the bench, he was able to gain a once in a lifetime moment when Real Madrid came calling for him to replace an injured Iker Casillas.
That was one year and a half ago as Diego Lopez was named a Real Madrid player for the second time. Little did he know what he would encounter at this club.
During his year and a half with Real Madrid, Diego Lopez has gone through things that many Los Merengues players either do not experience or they experience after many years. Lopez has been cheered, jeered, loved, and hated during his short-ish stint with the club but he always dealt with everything like a true professional.
Not once did he complain, even when his family were verbally attacked. Not once did he argue when he was benched knowing that he was good enough to be starting. Not once did he speak against a teammate even though it sometimes may have been obvious that some may have been against him. Not once did his “rivalry” with Iker Casillas get to him as both goalkeepers showed nothing but respect towards each other. Not once did he go against what it truly is to be a professional football player. Not once did he disrespect the club that made him who he is today, Real Madrid.
“I will only leave Real Madrid if they boot me out” said Diego Lopez during his time with the club and, sadly, that day as happened. Still, he leaves as a professional knowing that he has to respect the decision the club has made. Sadly, the day is back where we no longer can consider Diego Lopez a Real Madrid player.
Personally, I completely understand why the club has made this decision and there is nothing that we, as Madridistas, can do to ignore it or stop it. All that I can do now is hope against hope that we have not seen Diego Lopez wear a Real Madrid jersey for the final time as his adventure now sees him join AC Milan, a club that has claimed Lopez is the best goalkeeper in Europe at the moment.
With that, I say thank you Diego Lopez for showing each and every single one of us what it is like to be a Real Madrid player. Thank you for showing us that the love for this team will never die inside you. Thank you for giving this club everything you can possibly give them. Thank you for being the professional that you are while doing all of your talking on the pitch. Thank you, Diego Lopez, for making people like me fall in love with you.
You may have left the club, but you will always be remembered in all of our hearts for what you were able to give us during you short time back with Real Madrid and, for that and many other things, I thank you.