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Paulo Lopes ended his Benfica career with more trophies than appearances

All for the club he spent his life supporting

Paulo Lopes is a name we are pretty sure you won’t be familiar with.

Even Benfica fans might struggle to recognise the recently retired goalkeeper if they walked past him on the street.

Hardly surprising, given Lopes only made 11 appearances for Benfica. However- despite a lack of games- Lopes ended his Benfica career with 12 trophies.


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He always made sure he was in the pictures

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He always made sure he was in the pictures

The 40-year-old spent more than a decade with Benfica and is the third most successful third-choice keeper of all time.

As a young man, Lopes was on Benfica’s books, although he didn’t make a first-team appearance before his initial release in 2002.

Fast forward ten years and Benfica were on the phone again looking for some added cover in goal.

More trophies than games

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More trophies than games

At first, Lopes thought the call was a joke. He couldn’t believe his luck when he found out his boyhood club wanted him back.

Lopes’ long awaited debut came in 2012. The Willy Caballero lookalike went on to make a taxing five appearances that season.

His game time dried up the following year as he became far more influential behind closed doors.

He was often involved in celebrations

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He was often involved in celebrations

He was the understudy of some world-class keepers with Jan Oblak and Julio Cesar being the preferred options in the Portuguese capital.

Man City goalkeeper Ederson also played alongside the veteran towards the end of his unremarkable-yet-remarkable career.

Just to give Lopes’ career some context, Ederson already has more league appearances this season than Portuguese keeper accumulated in more than a decade with Benfica.

He learned from the best

Reuters
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He learned from the best

Lopes is now the under-23 goalkeeping coach at Benfica and is a father figure around the club’s training ground.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Lopes said: “I feel great pride and great satisfaction, because when I look at them [the trophies and medals], I feel it was a work, mostly a team work, but also they demonstrate my achievements as a goalkeeper.”

Benfica have won four out of the last five league titles

EPA
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Benfica have won four out of the last five league titles

Whether or not he earned the trophies is open for debate.

But you can’t ignore the fact he has lived out his dream, playing for the club he supported all his life while winning a domestic full house.

Far more than most can say.


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