The Citizens are most popular for buying great players, instead of developing them in the academy. Still, they have some who have the potential to become the members of the senior team, like Lopes.
The Portuguese teenager was lured away from Benfica's academy to Manchester in 2011. No one expected he would already make his way into the first team. While some older City players represent the academy and the reserves, Lopes has managed to become a part of the senior team and is now the youngest one in the squad.
He got his first chance in the summer of 2012, as he was included in six out of seven friendly matches. The official debut for the attacking midfielder came just a few months later, in an FA Cup match against Watford.
Although Lopes was brought into the game in the 88th minute, it was enough for him to score the third goal just two minutes later in a 3-0 win - making him the youngest scorer ever for the club in a first-team match, at the age of 17 years and 9 days.
The 18-year-old had to wait for his second chance for more than a year. It was in late January of this year, when Lopes was included in the starting eleven against West Ham in a Capital One Cup match.
Once again, he suprised the manager and many fans, making two assists in another 3-0 win. Of course, he was named the man of that match. No wonder City won the competition.
Because of that, the youngster started a match versus Watford in the FA Cup just four days later. Obviously, Pellegrini was very happy with his progress. As the season ended, friendlies were up next and Lopes was given another chance in a match against Al Ain in which he scored the first goal for the team from the Etihad.
Lopes was born in Brazil, but represents the Portugal u-21 team and should soon recieve a call-up for the senior team. In 16 matches for Portugal u-19, he scored 11 goals.
Is it time for City to change their transfer policy and focus on the youngsters? They would surely save a lot of money.
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