Goalkeeper Anthony Lopes is a product of Olympique Lyonnais’ much vaunted youth system and has become a cult hero with the fans, having been born and raised in the suburbs of the city before breaking into the first team squad in the 2012-13 season aged twenty-two. He went on the establish himself as the first choice ‘keeper the following season and has been the undisputed number one at the club ever since, notching up over 300 appearances.
Lopes joined Lyon as a schoolboy and rose steadily through the ranks culminating in his debut away at Nice in a 3-1 Coupe de la Ligue defeat on the 31st of October 2012. His first clean sheet came on his European debut in a Europa League outing at home to Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona on the 6th of December that year and his league debut came towards the end of that season in a 1-1 draw against Saint-Étienne, with his first league clean sheet following a week later in a 3-0 win away at Nancy.
Born to Portuguese parents in France, he was eligible to represent both countries at international level but opted for Portugal and has represented them at every level from U17 up to the first team, for whom he made his debut on the 31st of March 2015 against Cape Verde conceding two first half goals in a 2-0 defeat in Estoril. His first international clean sheet came in a 2-0 friendly win away in Luxembourg later that year and he has accumulated seven international caps at the time of writing. Lopes was a member of the Portuguese squad that won Euro 2016 in France, and that’s his only major career honour to date although he didn’t get any playing time during the tournament.
Lopes has occasionally been linked with a move abroad to a bigger club in recent seasons but has thus far remained loyal to his boyhood club, having developed a strong rapport with the fans. However, he was given some stiff competition for the number one spot when Lyon signed Romanian international goalkeeper Ciprian Tătărușanu from Nantes at the start of the 2019-20 season. Lopes’ form has kept the Romanian firmly on the bench but perhaps Tătărușanu’s arrival could be paving the way for OL to cash in on another of their assets if they receive a big offer in the not too distant future.
Standing 6 ft tall, Lopes is relatively short for a modern day goalkeeper, but what he lacks in stature he more than makes up for in agility and athleticism. He is noted for his sharp reactions and camera-friendly flying saves, often going for the spectacular when a routine stop might be easier. Nonetheless, he has proved to be a dependable presence between the sticks and a worthy successor to recent mainstays in the Lyon goal such as Gregory Coupet and Hugo Lloris.