Next under Born Offside’s gaze is Spain’s Under 21 goal scoring hero Adrian Lopez…

The Spanish were always favorites to win the Under-21 European Championships before they kicked a ball. The experts said watch out for Thiago, Juan Mata, Jeffren and Bojan but it was a relativly unknown striker that has fired them to the final.

Adrian Lopez has been an enigma in the Spanish top flight showing glimpses of ability at Deportivo La Courna, but never consistently. He netted just eight goals in 36 league games last season as Depor slipped out of the league and was expected to be merely a back-up for Spain’s more established stars.

However, Under-21 coach Luis Milla saw an energetic target man in need of a goal and picked him ahead of Barcelona prodigy Bojan for the Spaniards opener against England. Adrian was decent if ineffective but against the Czechs he came alive snatching a brace in a 2-0 win that sent Spain on their way to the semis. His first goal was a composed side-foot finish and the second  a powerful curler, both demonstrated Adrian’s finishing talent. Adrian added his third goal of the tournament in a 3-0 win over Ukraine in the final group game.

Adrian was again the hero in the Semi-Final, first leveling against Belarus in the 89th minute to force the game into extra-time. He notched again in extra-time, this time a powerful header that all but confirmed Spain’s place in the final. Jeffren added a third and Spain can now look forward to a meeting against Switzerland in Aarhus tomorrow evening. With five goals so far Adrian is almost guaranteed the golden boot.

While Adrian’s form came as a shock to most football fans, hardened Spaniards may remember when a young Adrian plundered a hat-trick against Jordan in just 10 minutes at the 2007 Under-17 World Cup in Canada. He was already a regular from the bench for Depor at this point, even netting in the Nou Camp aged just 19. Loans to Alaves and Malaga followed but again he was inconsistent scoring just three times for both clubs. On his return to Depor in 2009 he began to feature more and more in the first team and his finest moment came when an extra-time double against Cordoba guided his side into the quarter-finals of the Copa Del Rey.

But despite his exploits for the Under-21s there are still doubts over Adrian’s consistency. Two smart feet and a powerful frame that sets him apart in Spain are his main weapons and being the main man seems to bring out the best in Adrian Lopez.

But if scouts from Europe’s elite clubs are sniffing they are too late, Atletico Madrid have already secured the services of Adrian on a free transfer.

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