Claudio López was born on July 17, 1974 in Río Tercero, Argentina. He is known by his nickname "El Piojo" meaning "The Louse" since his childhood, as a result of his physical weaknesses and infirmity, and also for the fact of being extremely quick in any actions. He was emotionally a very sensitive kid, that always cry when watching dramatic movies. His favorite TV programs were reality show games, because he likes to see people happy, and winning money.
He practiced basket, swimming and football under his mother insistence for the purpose of eliminating his physically fragile. He was Michael Jordan and Schumacher big fan. Initially, he had doubt between the football or basket career, until he met Juan Sebastián Verón (La Brujita) and played in the sixth division of Estudiantes de la Plata in his native Argentina. Claudio López was 16 years old, a skinny boy with long hair when he started in the club in 1990. They both played together for 6 months, with Juan Ramón Verón (Brujita's father), as their trainer.
He moved to Racing the next year, where he would remain until he transferred in 1996 to Spanish club Valencia and remained for five years. On 5 April 2000 he caught Sergio Cragnotti (Lazio President) attentions, when Valencia won a brilliant 5-2 victory over Lazio in the first leg of the Champions League quarter final where he scored a goal, and helping Valencia to be runner-up of the UEFA Champions League season 1999-2000.
Claudio López with SS Lazio
Sergio Cragnotti bought Claudio Lopez from Valencia by the sum of €35 million in 2000. El Piojo was very happy as he fulfilled one of his dreams, which was playing in the Italian league. He also happy as there are many Argentinian friends in Lazio squad by that time. He partnered in the attack with his team-mate Hernan Crespo, and share the blue and white of SS Lazio with other famous Argentine players as Diego Simeone, Juan Sebastián Verón, and Néstor Sensini. Whilst, he also a close friend of Gaizka Mendieta.
In his warm welcome in Rome, on his Lazio debut on 8 September 2000 against Inter Milan, he scored 2 goals instantly. The game won by Lazio on a thrilled 4-3 and crowned Lazio to become The Champions of the Italian Super Cup in 2000. Please click the following link to watch the video in our LazioLand Gallery:
Italian Super Cup 2000 video link
Claudio López is well known for his pace, dribbling skills and world class finishing. One of the reason El Piojo became well known in Spain was his habit of destroying Barcelona spectacular team under Louis van Gaal, achieving a total score of 12 goals in 15 games against the Catalans.
Unfortunately, on 1 November, 2000 during the match against Brescia he damaged the ligament of his left knee and has undergone surgery in the San Giacomo Hospital 3 days afterward. For this reason, Claudio Lopez would not be ready for the third and fourth round of the Champions League in which Lazio were facing Real Madrid, instead he has to take a rest until the end of the season.
However, Lazio's fans consider López as an idol, as he made great and beautiful goals. One of his beautiful goal was in the UEFA Champions League season 2000-2001, he scored an “Olympic” goal against Anderlecht in Olimpico Roma. “Olympic” goal is scoring a goal directly from a corner kick.
In addition, Lazio fans will not forget "El Piojo" when he made hat-trick to inflict Inter Milan, in a Lazio-Inter 3-3, of which he celebrates by dancing to the rhythm of Las Ketchup's ASEREJE on the occasion of the second and third goal.
López wore the jersey number 7 in 4 seasons with Lazio, has played 104 games and scored 28 goals. He also has a chance to raise 2 trophies:
- Italian Super Cup 2000
- Coppa Italia 2003-04
Claudio López with National Team
López had a distinguished career with Argentina. He was winning a silver medal with the Under-23 team during the 1996 Summer Olympics, and scored 2 goals out of his 6 appearances.
López made appearances in both the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. He scored against Netherlands in the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
Totally, with Argentina National Team he scored 10 goals from his total 55 appearances.