Wagner Lopes

Position: FW
Born: 29-Jan-1969
Height/Weight: 182/75
Birthplace: Brazil
Previous Teams: Nissan FC, Kashiwa Reysol , Honda, Bellmare Hiratsuka, Nagoya Grampus Eight, FC Tokyo, Avispa Fukuoka
Appearances (J1/J2/JFL): 125/31/96 Goals: 69/7/102
First Appearance: 12-Apr-1997 Bellmare Hiratsuka -vs- Gamba Osaka (at Expo '70 Stadium)
First Goal : 19-Apr-1997 Bellmare Hiratsuka -vs- Kyoto Purple Sanga (at Nishikyogoku Stadium)


Wagner Lopes is a very interesting character in the history of the J.League. Born in Brazil, Lopes moved to Japan at the age of 20 and Joined Nissan FC, earning a reputation as a good finisher and one of the team's leading scorers as the team prepared to join the newly created J.League. However, when Nissan became the Yokohama Marinos, they hired three Argentines to form their strike force -- Ramon Diaz, Ramon Medina Bello and David Bisconti. Lopes, a Brazilian, decided to stay in the JFL and try to help another aspiring team, Kashiwa Reysol, win a spot in the new League.

After two years Reysol achieved success, but once again Lopes decided to remain in the JFL, this time joining Honda FC. Though continuing to play in the "minor leagues", Lopes was racking up an impressive tally of goals, averaging a shade over 1 goal per match in six years of JFL play. Finally, when Bellmare Hiratsuka joined the J.League, they convinced Lopes to move up to the big show as their ace striker. As he continued to find the net with high frequency in the J.League, Lopes began to think about the possibility of playing for the national team,. Another Brazilian-born, naturalised Japanese player, Ruy Ramos, had been a centerpiece of the national team in the early 1990s, and following in Ramos' footsteps, Lopes naturalized as a Japanese citizen in 1997, earning a call to national team duty in the run-up to the 1998 World Cup.

Unfortunately, by this time Lopes was on the downward slope of his career, and the World Cup proved to be his last hurrah. The next season he joined Nagoya Grampus, but had lost the scoring tough he showed in his earlier days. Wanting nothing else but to play on a regular basis, Lopes continued the long decline, moving from Grampus to FC Tokyo in 2001 and finally to Avispa Fukuoka in 2002. Because Lopes gained most of his "fame" after he was already on the road to becoming a washed-up hacker, , many people base their impression of his talent on the performances he made during his waning years.

But that is hardly a fair basis for evaluating this player -- a deadly finisher who racked up an amazing 102 goals in 96 matches, during the early 1990s. Nevertheless, Lopes did hold a share of the record for most goals scored in a J.League match (5 -- a mark he shared with Masashi Nakayama), for almost two decades, until it was finally broken by Robert Olunga in 2019. Few players (and even fewer non-native Japanese) made as many contributions to the growth of football during the J.League's first decade.


Photo Year Team Uniform # Appearances Goals
- 1991 Nissan FC - 18 8
- 1992 Nissan FC - 17 11
- 1993 Kashiwa Reysol 18 18
- 1994 Kashiwa Reysol 18 17
- 1995 Honda Motor - 30 31
- 1996 Honda Motor - 30 36
- 1997 Bellmare Hiratsuka 27 18
- 1998 Bellmare Hiratsuka 29 18
1999 Nagoya Grampus 23 13
2000 Nagoya Grampus 28 10
2001 FC Tokyo 18 10
2002 Avispa Fukuoka 31 7
- TOTAL 252 178