Argentine forward Maxi Lopez, who played for FC Barcelona between 2005 and 2007, was not part of the Torino squad on Saturday for their game against Frosinone in Italy’s Serie A. The reason for his absence hi his poor physical condition - he has risen to a weight of 97 kilos.
Giampiero Ventura, the Turin side’s manager, will not call him up again until he is back in shape. For that, Maxi Lopez needs to lose at least five kilos, possibly more, after enjoying the end of 2015 back in Argentina. “I’m at 70 percent, but in January I will be ready,” he had promised in an interview with La Gallina.
Ventura said that Maxi Lopez “must decide if he wants to conform [to this situation] or if he wants to become the player he is capable of being.” The Torino coach knows how good Maxi, who arrived at the club in January 2015, can be. In his first season he scored 11 goals in 22 games. This season, though, he’s managed just five in 20 appearances.
“I am going to work hard every day to prove that I can make the difference,” Maxi Lopez has declared. His manager’s response was immediate: “It’s a good message. I accept it, but I would respond by saying I have been waiting for him for four months now. He’s lucky to be at a club where the president renewed his contract, where the manager will wait for him and where his team-mates are behind him. We all want the Maxi Lopez of last season.”
Maxi signed a contract last summer which runs through until 2018, but there has been rumoured interest from Qatar club Al-Arabi, who are managed by former Italian international Gianfranco Zola. Genoa have also been linked. As well as Barça, Maxi has also played for Catania, Milan, Sampdoria and Chievo.