ROBERTO LOPES is starring for Cape Verde at the Africa Cup of Nations after being called up via LinkedIn.
The Shamrock Rovers defender was first approached by the national team in 2018.
Then manager Rui Aguas reached out to Lopes, who is eligible for Cape Verde through his dad, on LinkedIn.
The Dublin-born centre-back made his debut the following year and now has 19 caps to his name.
He is also a part of the Blue Sharks’ Afcon squad after playing at the previous edition in 2022.
Ahead of the 2022 tournament, he told Sky Sports: “I started the account for college years ago and used it sparingly.
“You would get these spam messages and I just thought this was another one. Thankfully, he wrote back in English. That is what set me off on this incredible adventure.”
On his journey in international football, Lopes added: “I am going to places that I would never have gone to on holiday.
“Seeing the appreciation they have for what they have, it has opened my mind. I am eager now to try new things.
“I am so eager to learn the language and the culture, learn about Africa as a continent.”
The former Irish under-19 international played all four of Cape Verde’s matches as they reached the round of 16 two years ago.
He also started Sunday’s tournament opener against Ghana as his side snatched a dramatic late victory thanks to a 92nd minute winner.
At club level, Lopes has been with Shamrock Rovers since 2017, making 241 appearances for the club, including several as captain.
The 31-year-old has also won four league titles and an Irish Cup since joining the Hoops from Bohemians seven years ago.