José Manuel López should be announced as Palmeiras ’new striker in the coming days. At the age of 21, the player is considered one of the manifestations of football in Argentina and arrived in Brazil with the responsibility of becoming the coveted number 9 of the current two -time Libertadores champion.
Born in a town of just three thousand inhabitants in the interior of Argentina, “El Flaco” made its first steps in the region’s amateur teams, hired and released by Independiente, suffered a serious injury. which made him think about leaving football, but managed to turn Lanús. The next mission was the first experience abroad.
Below, I detail some of José Manuel López’s short – and serious – career.
+ Want to make your knowledge of football cash prizes in every round of Brasileirão? Access Cartola Express!
José Manuel López, from Lanús – Photo: Lanús / Publicity
Born in San Lorenzo, a town of just three thousand inhabitants in the interior of Argentina, López made his first football steps with the region’s amateur teams, such as El Progreso and Atlético Saladas, guarded by Boca Juniors. At the age of nine, he started playing in the Independiente base categories.
José Manuel López also earned the nickname “El Flaco” (The Skinny) in the youth categories, due to his 77 kilos distributed over a height of 1.88m.
There have been seven seasons going through all categories of the seven-time Libertadores da América champion. In 2016, he was promoted to the professional squad for a probationary period under the eyes of Ariel Holan, the Independiente coach at the time and who passed Santos in 2021. The striker was unhappy and rejected.
Injury and almost over the race
Before being promoted to Independiente’s professional squad, “El Flaco” almost ended his career. At the age of 15, a hip injury left the striker barely able to walk, as he revealed in an interview with La Nacion, a traditional Argentine newspaper.
– I have a problem almost quitting football. I have a wound in my waist, in my bones, that I can barely walk. I was thinking of leaving for a while, but the desire was stronger – said Flaco, in an interview with La Nación.
Recovered, López was released the following year by Independiente. And from there began to change his story of Argentine football.
José Manuel López celebrates a goal for Lanús, from Argentina – Photo: Disclosure
Released from Independiente, López went through a period of probation and was hired by Lanús in 2017. Acting as a center-forward, second striker and even midfielder, the player failed to establish himself next season. and ended up on loan to Atlético Colegiales, where he was the top scorer.and helped the club access the top division of the Argentine Regional League.
Returning to Lanús, he only had two games and six days to score the first goal of the first division of the Argentine Championship, in the win against Rosário Central, in January 2021.
In total, he scored 13 goals in 25 games, finishing as the fifth-highest scorer in the championship and the reputation of being a good header.
– You need to train your coordination for jumping, you need to get the ball to the highest point. But it comes naturally to me. I have the instinct, the enthusiasm to come-said López, in an interview with La Nación, about his ability to score goals with his head.
On the radar of the Argentine national team
Good performances throughout the 2021 season put López under the watchful eye of Lionel Scaloni, coach of the Argentine national team. There are 13 goals in the 25 games of the 2020/21 Argentine Championship, which serves as a reference. Currently, in the back, there are seven goals in 19 games.
Lionel Scaloni considers Lopez option for attacking Argentina team – Photo: Agustin Marcarian / Reuters
The versatility of being able to act as a forward center and also as a second striker, in addition to his youth, has sparked the interest of the Argentine coaching staff after the retirement of Sergio “Kun” Agüero. The search for a name that can re-create the offensive sector after the World Cup.
Despite the Argentine press pointing to “Flaco” as an option, Scaloni has yet to call him.
The likelihood for the striker to be better observed after the Qatar World Cup. At the age of 21, López will not be able to defend Argentina at the Paris Olympics in 2024, as he is above the age limit (23 years old), which increases his chances of being part of the main group.
Fan of Thierry Henry and Nacho Fernández
Two players inspiring Palmeiras ’possible new signing can give you a taste of what to expect from Argentina’s style of play.
In interviews with local publications, López cited the former French striker as a good reference, largely because of his physical appearance and lightweight and defining player characteristics.
Another reference cited by “El Flaco” is compatriot Nacho Fernández, who is now midfielder at Atlético-MG, who will be the contender in the fight for several titles throughout the season. Nacho spent six seasons at River Plate, a team also interested in signing López.
+ Let’s go to Brazilian! The biggest offer of games for a price that offers games. Subscribe to Premiere!
⁇ Listen to the podcast ge Palmeiras⁇
+ Read more news about Palmeiras