Uruguayan Nicolas Lopez was plucked from the Nacional youth academy and fast tracked into the Roma first team last January. The young striker is only 17 and has already made a goal-scoring debut for the Italian giants, but since then his chances have somewhat dried up.
The young striker from Montevideo in Uruguay was originally rejected by Montevideo Wanderers because he was considered not strong enough to play football professionally. He didn't give up though and he went on to join the Nacional youth academy where he went on to become a prolific striker. It was here that he was noticed by scouts from the Serie A club.
In January he transfered to the AS Roma Primavera side amidst some consternation from his bosses at Nacional, who threatened to call on FIFA to take action against the youngster. He did however impress and when new manager Zendek Zeman came on board he promoted Lopez to the first team roster for preseason training camp and giving him a chance in a number of friendlies.
Coming on to replace Totti in the last minutes of the first game against Catania, Lopez duly scored a last minute equaliser, in what can be deemed a very successful first team debut, but since then the player's chances have all but evaporated. Some reports suggest that the player is unhappy and will look to make a move away from Roma in January.
"We will see what happens in January,” agent Pablo Bentancur told itasportpress.it. “If an offer comes in, we will evaluate our options. However, we will always give priority to Roma They believe in the potential of the boy – they are the ones who took him from Uruguay when no one knew about him. We had offers this summer from Catania and other Italian clubs, but it was Roma who decided to sign him. It is true that he is playing very little football, but Nico is a young player who still has much to learn.”
True the future chances for the young man depend on his ability to dislodge Totti who is, immoveable at the club and while you feel he must be somewhat frustrated at his prospects in the near future, you must also consider his age. A 17-year-old South American, who is very lucky to be playing in Serie A should be focused and as settled as possible and not be agitating for a first team place by threatening to move away.
Moving away from the team that signed him form virtual obscurity does not sound like the wisest move. While you certainly couldn't blame the lad for taking his chance in joining Roma, but first Nacional, and now this, at only 17 years of age. You would have to question not the youngster, but those who are advising him.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty