Diego López

Diego López Rodríguez (born 3 November 1981 in Paradela, Lugo, Galicia) is a Spanish footballer who plays for Villarreal CF. A youth graduate from hometown's CD Lugo, López moved to Real Madrid at almost 19. After a loan at another side from the capital, AD Alcorcón, he eventually moved up to Real's B team, starting in his second season, which ended in a Segunda División promotion. López served as first-team backup to Iker Casillas in the following two seasons. In the closing stages of 2005–06, he appeared in two back-to-back away wins, against CA Osasuna (as Casillas was sent off) and Racing de Santander, adding a UEFA Champions League contest at Olympiakos FC, in a 1–2 defeat. In 2007 López signed for Villarreal for a reported fee of €6 million, and started the season as second-choice to Uruguayan Sebastián Viera but, after a string of fine performances (he played in the domestic and UEFA Cups), he was awarded first-team action, finishing the season with 20 appearances. In 2008–09, López was everpresent, helping Villarreal finish fifth in the league, as he did not miss one minute of action. More of the same in the following season, but the team could only rank seventh, thus out of the European zone; however, as fifth-placed RCD Mallorca was expelled from European competition due to bankruptcy, the Valencian took its place in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa League.