Spanish goalkeeper Diego Lopez is thriving in Serie A following his summer move from Real Madrid. The 32-year-old joined Angel di Maria and Xabi Alonso in leaving the European champions after La Decima back in May, with Keylor Navas drafted in to compete with Iker Casillas for a starting berth.
However, now at the San Siro his qualities are being far more appreciated, and despite the Italian giants conceding 10 goals already this season they look capable of securing a quick return to the Champions League after this year’s embarrassing absence.
For years Milan have been without a goalkeeper of the Spaniard’s calibre, with Dida and currently Christian Abbiati weak when compared to their rivals on both the domestic and European front.
The former may have been part of the side that reached the final of the game’s grandest stage back in 2005 and then again in 2007, but despite his name being etched in glory was always prone to an error.
His theatrics against Celtic brought much ridicule his way, and when he left the club in 2010 few tears were shed.
Abbiati tasted success under Massimiliano Allegri back in 2011 with Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the fore, but age has taken its toll and retirement must surely beckon soon.
Despite starting the majority of La Liga games for Madrid last term, he missed out on Champions League glory with Ancelotti opting for Casillas in the cup games.
Inside politics mean his chances of starting were always slim, with the Italian needing to keep fans of the club, the president and fellow native teammates happy.
Navas has found dislodging the 33-year-old similarly difficult after arriving off the back of a successful World Cup with Costa Rica in Brazil, though whispers are rife that a move for Petr Cech may be sanctioned when the transfer window reopens in the New Year.
Such difficulties also saw him miss out on the summer’s samba showpiece, with Bayern Munich reserve Pepe Reina and Manchester United’s David De Gea preferred in his place.
Milan then came calling in the summer offering him an end to his turbulent spell in the Spanish capital, and Lopez did not hesitate in packing his bags and embarked on a new challenge in Italy.
Good times ahead?
Hope is high that Filippo Inzaghi’s men can enjoy a good season, with the form of Keisuke Honda helping them start the season in positive fashion.
Despite possessing an attacking juggernaut consisting of the Japanese midfielder, Stephan El Shaarawy, Jeremy Menez and Fernando Torres their reliable Spanish goalkeeper may be the player that plays the biggest role in the most crucial of seasons.