Luis Cubilla was an Uruguayan soccer player and soccer manager. Cubilla won 16 major titles during his playing career. Afterward, he went on to achieve 17 major trophies as a manager in South American football.
Born in Paysandu, Uruguay, on 28 March 1940, Luis Cubilla made his name as a striker in the 1960s and 70s. He won nine national league titles during his career, four with Penarol, four with Club Nacional de Football, and one with Defensor. Luis also won the Copa Libertadores with Penarol in 1960 and 1961. Then with Nacional in 1971, and lifted the Intercontinental Cup once with each club and a host of other titles.
Nicknamed El Negro and El Monstruo, Luis Cubilla also played for Spanish giants FC Barcelona, winning the Copa del Rey in 1963, and ran out for Argentina’s River Plate and Santiago Morning of Chile.
In making 38 appearances for his country, Luis Cubilla played at three FIFA World Cup soccer finals and scored 38 times for his country (Chile 1962, Mexico 1970, and Germany 1974). At the second of those world finals, he conjured up an assist that went down in Uruguayan soccer history, setting up Victor Esparrago for an extra-time winner in the quarter-finals against the USSR. That late goal took Uruguay into the semis, where they went down to eventual champions Brazil.
Success In The Dugout
After retiring from the game, Luis Cubilla embarked on a long coaching career, becoming one of the most successful managers in South American soccer. However, perhaps his most outstanding achievement came when he masterminded Olimpia of Paraguay’s Copa Libertadores triumph in 1979, the first time a non-Argentinian, Brazilian or Uruguayan club had lifted the famous trophy. Eleven years later, he would win the continental title again with the same club.
He also won ten Paraguayan league championships with Olimpia and two Recopa Sudamericana, and a Copa Interamericana, to name just some of his successes with the Asuncion club. In 1991 Cubilla was appointed Uruguay’s national team coach, a post he held until 1993.
He died in Paraguay on 3 March 2013 after a battle with stomach cancer. He was 72. Within hours of announcing his death in the Paraguayan capital, where he had been living for several years, more than 100,000 messages of condolence had been posted on social networking sites, an indication of the affection people felt for the soccer-loving Luis Cubilla.
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Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!