SCOUTING REPORT: Marcos Lopes Could Be Portugal’s Next Great Player

Posted: February 4, 2014 in Scouting Report, Videos
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Marcos 'Rony' Lopes In Action For Manchester City

Marcos ‘Rony’ Lopes In Action For Manchester City

Marcos Lopes is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting young players in recent memory thanks to some extraordinary performances.

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder recently received his second career start at senior level for Manchester City in a League Cup match against West Ham United. And it did not take him too long to demonstrate what he is capable of.

Just three minutes into the match, Lopes delivered a perfect cross into the box for Spanish international Alvaro Negredo, who would score the opening goal. Later in the first half, he dribbled passed several West Ham defenders before laying it off to Sergio Agüero for the second goal.

Manchester City won 3-0 and Lopes was named the Man of the March. City manager Manuel Pellegrini praised the youngster’s performance.

“Marcos is a young player with a great future,” he said.

“He is just 18 years old and played with the personality he needs to play in our team.”

“I see him work every day of the week, so I was sure he would realize the kind of performance he put on last night.”

“I’m very happy for him because he deserves to do it – and he is a very important player for the future of the club.”

Born Marcos Paulo Mesquita Lopes in Belém, Brazil, his parents emigrated to Portugal when he was four. Lopes has formally committed his international future to Portugal, having already played for the U17s and U19s.

He began playing football with AD Poiares before moving to Benfica’s youth system in 2006. In 2011, the Lisbon club sold the young phenom to Manchester City where he has played in the club’s youth squads. He has begun to make headlines with the senior squad over the last year.

Lopes scored in his first ever appearance for Manchester City’s senior squad in January 2013 in an FA Cup match against Watford after coming on as a late substitute. In doing so, he became the youngest player ever to score for the English club on record.

He would make his first senior start with Manchester City in a League Cup match against Wigan Athletic on September 24th. A week later, he fired home a hat-trick for the youth squad in a 6-0 defeat of Bayern Munich. His reputation has continued to grow since then.

Lopes is an attacking midfielder, who could play out wide, as well as in the middle. He has exceptional dribbling skills, vision, tactical awareness and has demonstrated an ability to score goals as well.

Despite Lopes’ playing style being similar to Ronaldinho, his nickname ‘Rony’ is actually in honour of fellow Brazilian international Ronaldo.

In an October 2013 interview for the Portuguese football publication Record, Lopes explained how the nickname came about.

“I started playing football for my local team (AD Poiares) and I always trained with the shirt of Ronaldo ‘O Fenómeno.’ Everyone started calling me Ronaldo because no one knew my real name. After a while the coach approached me and said that Ronaldo was too long a name and started calling me Rony. Since then that has been my nickname and I have always liked it,” he said.

Every great football nation has a period that is held in regard as a ‘Golden Age.’ Portugal considers the ‘Golden Generation’ that emerged in the 1990s in that way. The squad matured in the early 2000s and included, among others, Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Vito Baia, Paulo Sousa, and Joao Pinto.

The ‘Golden Generation’ propelled Portugal back within the elite of world football but never managed to win a major tournament at senior level.

But over the last few years, a new generation of Portuguese players have begun to emerge that many believe could be the most promising in the country’s history. And there is no player that is held up in higher regard these days, Portuguese or not, than Marcos Lopes.

At 29-years-old, Cristiano Ronaldo is firmly in his prime. But he likely has this year’s World Cup and the 2016 European Championships to deliver his proud nation a major title. And after that, Portugal will be looking for a new leader.

Portugal’s success as a football nation has always fallen on the shoulders of one exceptional player. Luis Figo, Paulo Futre and of course Eusébio, were all seen in the same way during their careers.

But it is a heavy burden to place on a 18-year-old. In an interview with Portuguese news agency Lusa in January, Lopes said that his main focus is to continue to develop as a player.

“I have played for the Under-19 squad and, of course I want to play for the seleção one day. But one step at a time. I know that the manager of the national team needs to evaluate each player’s potential and how they fit into the squad,” Lopes said.

“My main objective right now is to continue to work hard each day and develop into a better player. I have to keep both feet on the ground and take it one day at a time.”

Videos:

Related Posts:

PLAYER PROFILE: Marcos Lopes Scores Another Great Goal for Manchester City U18 Squad

PLAYER PROFILE: Portuguese Starlet Marcos Lopes Scores In Manchester City Debut

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