Claudio Lopez and Steve Cooke of the Colorado Rapids

Argentine World Cup star Claudio Lopez returns to Colorado Rapids as Director of Soccer

Retired Argentine star Claudio Lopez is heading back to the Colorado Rapids – this time as the team's Director of Soccer.

The team announced Lopez's appointment on Friday afternoon, bringing the 40-year-old back to the club where he finished his playing days in 2010.

"I talked this move over with my family and friends, and decided that – because we felt very well during our stay in Colorado – we would be very happy to come back to Denver and try to help the Rapids," Lopez (above, left) said in a statement.

"What I can do is support [head coach] Pablo [Mastroeni], and support the guys, and try to push the players to do better things in the field. I can help to change a few things, also, which may help to have a better season next year."

Lopez started his professional career in 1992 with Racing Club in his native country, and also played for Valencia, Lazio and Club América before joining the then-Kansas City Wizards in 2008. He tallied 13 goals and 15 assists in 57 games over two seasons with the Wizards before moving to Colorado in 2010, where he made 11 substitute apperances before retiring.

Though he did not register a goal or an assist during his time with the Rapids, Lopez scored a vital penalty in a shootout win over the Columbus Crew in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, helping pave the way for Colorado's run to the franchise's lone MLS Cup win.

Internationally, Lopez earned 55 caps for Argentina, scored 10 goals, and appeared in both the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

"He's played at the highest level, for both his country and some great clubs across the world, so brings a lot of great experience" said Mastroeni of his colleague. "The other angle is the offensive part of it. He's a great identifier of talent and, in that role, can help continue to build this good group of attacking players that we have.

"On the field, he's going to be able to work specifically with players that we feel can use that one-on-one type of work, with a guy who can specialize in the finishing aspect of the game."

Lopez is the second major addition to the Rapids' front office this season, along with newly appointed Sporting Director Padraig Smith, and will work closely with team VP of Soccer Operations Paul Bravo.

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