Costa Rican Lopez joins Melbourne Victory
Costa Rican international Jose Luis Lopez has joined Melbourne Victory on a two-year loan from Deportivo Saprissa, the A-League club said Monday.
Lopez, 27, who will join countryman Carlos Hernandez at Victory, captained Costa Rica at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and at the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The midfielder, who was capped for the national team in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, has spent the past five seasons with Costa Rican outfit Saprissa. During that time he won four national titles and the 2005 CONCACAF Champions' Cup, which led to the club's first appearance at FIFA Club World Cup.
Victory coach Ernie Merrick, who watched Lopez play during a recent scouting trip to Central America, said the Costa Rican was one of the most significant signings in his club's short history.
"The timing of me going over to Costa Rica between AFC Champions League games was when Saprissa were in the finals, so I saw him play and he was quite outstanding," said Merrick.
"The focus of my trip was to watch him play in the finals and to talk him into coming to Australia and we were successful on both counts."
Lopez replaces Englishman Joseph Keenan, who has had his contract mutually terminated, as Victory's fourth foreign player alongside Hernandez, Scotland's Grant Brebner and Brazilian Ney Fabiano.
Lopez will arrive early next week and is set to feature in Victory's pre-season matches ahead of the kick off of the new season next month.