Duk opens up on life at Aberdeen - fans in street, development, facing Rangers, Celtic ace's advice

“I’ve told him you’ll go easy on him,” smiles Aberdeen’s head of communications as Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes is presented to journalists. The slightly bashful 22-year-old does not speak lots of English and has had little exposure to the press, but is the man of the moment at Pittodrie and the player everyone wants to hear from.
Duk scored twice for Aberdeen and is fast becoming a fans' favourite at Pittodrie.Duk scored twice for Aberdeen and is fast becoming a fans' favourite at Pittodrie.
Duk scored twice for Aberdeen and is fast becoming a fans' favourite at Pittodrie.

Duk netted both of the Dons’ goal in Saturday’s crucial 2-0 cinch Premiership home win over St Johnstone. In the Cape Verde internationalist, they have a forward capable of scoring all types of goals. His first was a composed finish after the visitors failed to deal with a long ball and the second was a header from a corner. Recently he belted a free-kick past Allan McGregor against Rangers. Powerful, pacey, able to finish with both feet and a hard worker, he is Aberdeen’s most dangerous player right now. Nine goals in 21 appearances since moving from Benfica last summer is testament to that,

“I am happy we won the game,” said Duk. “We needed the victory and I thought we played well and it was a terrific afternoon. It was a good atmosphere as well. For a striker, it is always good to score two goals. I am so happy.”

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Duk was pushed by team-mate Kelle Roos in front of the Red Shed at full time to take the acclaim of the Aberdeen faithful. He has a strong connection with the supporters. “I am very happy to be here,” he said. “We have fantastic fans and I love them so much. When I am in the streets people come up to me and ask me how I am. This is great.” Just don’t mention the weather in the Granite City, though. “It is so cold here but it has been a good time.”

His manager Jim Goodwin spoke post-match about the player’s development, how he is ahead of schedule. “I always believe in myself,” Duk continued. “I work a lot. You need to work everyday inside Cormack Park and to take care of yourself. I have a lot to develop. I am a player who likes to work hard. I have always been a player who likes to fight with the big centre backs. I don’t promise anything but I will keep trying and working hard.”

Duk was given a recommendation to come to Scotland by Celtic forward Jota, who was a team-mate of his when in the youth ranks at Benfica. The Portuguese forewarned him about the climate in the north-easy but Duk is glad he made the move to Scotland. “Yes, we played together in the under-19s and in the youth league. He is a good player and I keep in touch with him. I sent him a big message about the league. He did tell me it was too cold!”

The heat will be on this coming Sunday, though, when Aberdeen play Rangers in the Viaplay Cup semi-final at Hampden. The Dons went from 2-1 up to 3-2 down in stoppage time when the teams met at Pittodrie last month and revenge will surely be on the mind of the Dons. “I am excited to go there and do a good job,” said Duk. “We were unlucky with the result but we played well. We will be going into this game to win. We have the quality to go there and win.”

The final question has to be about his nickname. Why Duk? What does it mean? The answer is not as exotic as you’d perhaps hope. “Duk it is my father’s nickname, so I have also been given it,” he explained. He’s certainly the name on most Aberdeen fans’ lips right now.