Lopez has the makings of a star

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

The world's soccer icons are entertainers and know exactly what it takes to pull spectators out of their seats.

But at their core, the top players simply want to win and will sacrifice the flash for a spot in the finals. In that regard, Spain's Adrian Lopez has displayed the makings of a star so far at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada. After dismantling Jordan with a first-half hat trick on Saturday, Lopez demanded he and his team must play better to go further in the major youth tournament.

"I find the goals just a piece of the importance," he told the Canadian Press through an interpreter. "I think I will have to improve and play better in the matches to come. I am happy for the match (result) and I scored three goals but the most important is the victory."

European champ Spain claimed its group title and stays in Burnaby for the start of the knockout round and has drawn a strong Brazil squad today. Like all future greats, Lopez wasn't worrying about the opposition -- just the composition of his own game.

"They are one of the favourite teams but we must play our own game," he said. "We must be focused and we don't care who is our next opponent."

Spain has produced several great individual soccer players over the decades but has sputtered in recent World Cup performances. A dominant run at the Under-20 worlds, combined with the ongoing development of Adrian, will give Spaniards hope of future success.

18 SPAIN

ADRIAN LOPEZ

Born January 8, 1988 in San Martin de Teverga, Asturias . . . Striker plays professionally for Deportivo de La Coruna in La Liga . . . Scored his first pro goal at home against Barcelona . . . Exploded for a hat trick within 10 minutes late in the first half of Spain's final game of group play against Jordan in the U-20 World Cup on Saturday at Burnaby, B.C. . . . Played for Real Oviedo's youth club in 2005-06.


Videos

Photos