Teófilo Cubillas

Teófilo Juan Cubillas Arizaga (Spanish pronunciation: [teˈofilo kuˈβiʎas]; born 8 March 1949) is a Peruvian former footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. He was selected as Peru's greatest ever player in an IFFHS poll, in which he was also included in the world's Top 50.[1] He was renowned for his technique, shooting ability and free kick ability.[2]

Teófilo Cubillas
Cubillas in 2009
Personal information
Full name Teófilo Juan Cubillas Arizaga
Date of birth (1949-03-08) 8 March 1949
Place of birth Lima, Peru
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Youth career
Alianza Lima
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1966–1972 Alianza Lima 175 (117)
1973 Basel 10 (3)
1974–1977 Porto 85 (48)
1977–1978 Alianza Lima 47 (35)
1979–1983 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 139 (65)
1983 Fort Lauderdale Strikers (indoor) 9 (9)
1984 Alianza Lima 4 (4)
1984–1985 South Florida Sun 7 (5)
1987–1988 Alianza Lima 13 (3)
1988 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 12 (7)
1989 Miami Sharks 8 (1)
Total 506 (297)
National team
1968–1982 Peru 81 (26)
Teams managed
1988 Alianza Lima
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Nicknamed El Nene (The Kid), he was part of the Peru national football team that won the 1975 Copa América.[3] He helped Peru reach the quarter finals at the 1970 FIFA World Cup[4] and again at the 1978 World Cup[5] and was elected the South American Footballer of the Year in 1972.

In 2004, Pelé selected Cubillas as one of the FIFA 100, a list of 125 footballing greats.[6] In February 2008, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Brazilian World Cup victory, he was selected in the All-Star First Team of South America of the past 50 years.[7] Cubillas is one of only three players to score five or more goals in two different World Cups, the other two being Miroslav Klose and Thomas Müller.[8]

Club career

Nicknamed "Nene" (the babe) for his boyish looks, Cubillas began his career with Alianza Lima at the age of 16 in 1966.[9] Whilst at Alianza he was top scorer in the Peruvian Primera División in 1966 and 1970.[10]

In 1972, he had his most successful season in several years. He was Libertadores Cup top scorer and South American Footballer of the Year.[11]

In 1973, he transferred to Swiss football club FC Basel for a fee of £97,000.[12] He scored two goals for Basel in the 1973–74 European Cup, the second of which was scored on 20 September 1973.[13] He only remained at the club for six months, which was not long enough for him to show the extent of his talent.

Later on, for the second half of the 1973–74 season he joined Portuguese club FC Porto for a fee of £200,000.[12]

In 1977, he returned to Alianza Lima.

In 1979, Cubillas joined the NASL, signing for Fort Lauderdale Strikers, where he spent five seasons, scoring 59 league goals, including three goals in seven minutes against the Los Angeles Aztecs in 1981.[14]

Following the December 1987 Alianza Lima air crash Cubillas returned from his Miami home to play for free for Alianza, who lost most of their players in the crash.[15] He also managed the club for a period in 1988.[16]

In May 1988 Cubillas signed with the newly resurrected Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the American Soccer League.[17] The Strikers went to the ASL title game where they fell to the Washington Diplomats.[18] Following the loss to the Diplomats, the Strikers released Cubillas.[19]

In March 1989, he signed with the Miami Sharks but was released on 3 July after scoring only one goal in eight games.[20] As of June 1991 he was playing and coaching at Miramar Illusiones of the Gold Coast Soccer League in Florida.[21]

International career

Cubillas played in three World Cups between 1970 and 1982.[22]

1970 World Cup

Cubillas helped Peru advance to the quarter-finals of the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. He scored in all of Peru's four matches: once against Bulgaria, twice against Morocco, and once against West Germany, all in the first round. Cubillas then scored another goal in the quarter-final loss against eventual champions Brazil, and he thus finished as the third highest goal scorer in the tournament.[4]

He won the FIFA World Cup Young Player Award, and was third in the Golden Shoe award.[23]

1975 Copa America

Peru did not qualify for the 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany, but a year later, Cubillas helped the Peruvian team win its second South American title, the Copa América 1975. Cubillas scored against Brazil in the semi-final, and then played in the play-off match in the final.[3]

1978 World Cup

In the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina, he scored five goals for Peru, finishing co-second highest goal scorer after Mario Kempes. Peru advanced to the second phase of the tournament thanks to goals from Cubillas: he scored two goals in the opening match against Scotland (one of which was an excellent free-kick),[24] and he then scored a hat-trick in the game against Iran, including two penalties.[5]

However, Peru subsequently lost to Brazil, Poland, and Argentina, although Cubillas played in all six Peruvian matches in the tournament.

1982 World Cup

He was also in the Peru national football team for 1982 FIFA World Cup. He played in all three group games but did not score any goals.[22]



Alianza Lima
Fort Lauderdale Sun




Career statistics


Club performance League Cup Continental Total
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals
Peru League Cup South America Total
1966Alianza LimaPrimera División[35]2319[10]????
Switzerland League Schweizer Cup Europe Total
1973–74BaselSuper League[35]103???2[13]??
Portugal League Taça de Portugal Europe Total
1973–74PortoPrimeira Liga[35]12431-155
Peru League Cup South America Total
1977Alianza LimaPrimera División[35]32233223
USA League Open Cup North America Total
1979Fort Lauderdale Strikers[36]North American
Soccer League
Peru League Cup South America Total
1984Alianza LimaPrimera División4444
USA League Open Cup North America Total
1984[37]South Florida SunUSL5454
Peru League Cup South America Total
1987Alianza LimaPrimera División133133
USA League Open Cup North America Total
1988[38]Fort Lauderdale Strikers (1988–94)ASL127127
Total Peru 233152001613249165
Switzerland 1032242167
Portugal 8548131010710865
USA 16077000016077
Career total 48828015123122534314

Note: Total statistics for his time in the NASL (1979–83) include playoff matches.

International goals

Teofilo Cubillas: International goals[39]
11969-07-17Bogotá, Colombia Colombia2–13–1Friendly
21969-09-07Lima, Peru Paraguay1–02–1Friendly
31969-09-07Lima, Peru Paraguay2–02–1Friendly
41969-08-17Lima, Peru Bolivia2–03–01970 World Cup Qualifier
51970-07-02Lima, Peru Czechoslovakia2–12–1Friendly
61970-09-02Lima, Peru Romania1–11–1Friendly
71970-02-24Lima, Peru Bulgaria1–25–3Friendly
81970-06-02León, Mexico Bulgaria3–23–21970 World Cup
91970-06-02León, Mexico Morocco1–03–01970 World Cup
101970-06-06León, Mexico Morocco3–03–01970 World Cup
111970-06-10León, Mexico West Germany1–21–31970 World Cup
121970-06-14Guadalajara, Mexico Brazil2–32–41970 World Cup
131972-04-05Mexico City, Mexico Mexico1–11–2Friendly
141972-04-23Bucharest, Romania Romania1–12–2Friendly
151973-03-04Lima, Peru Guatemala2–05–1Friendly
161973-03-04Lima, Peru Guatemala4–15–1Friendly
171973-04-23Lima, Peru Panama3–04–0Friendly
181975-08-20Lima, Peru Chile2–03–1Copa America 1975
191975-09-30Belo Horizonte, Brasil Brazil2–03–1Copa America 1975
201977-07-17Cali, Colombia Bolivia2–05–01978 World Cup Qualifier
211977-07-17Cali, Colombia Bolivia3–05–01978 World Cup Qualifier
221978-06-03Córdoba, Argentina Scotland2–13–11978 World Cup
231978-06-03Córdoba, Argentina Scotland3–13–11978 World Cup
241978-06-11Córdoba, Argentina Iran2–04–11978 World Cup
251978-06-11Córdoba, Argentina Iran3–04–11978 World Cup
261978-06-11Córdoba, Argentina Iran4–14–11978 World Cup


  1. Karel Stokkermans (30 January 2000). "World Player of the Century". IFFHS' Century Elections. RSSSF. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  2. Teófilo Cubillas Planet World Cup
  3. Martin Tabeira (12 August 2009). "Copa América 1975". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  4. "Group D". World Cup 1970 results and line-ups. RSSSF. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  5. "Group D". World Cup 1978 finals – results and line-ups. RSSSF. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  6. "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  7. All-Star First Team Selection (1958–2008) Retrieved on 17 January 2009. Archived 4 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Arrowsmith, Richard (8 July 2014). "Germany's 7–1 humiliation of World Cup hosts Brazil sees the record books rewritten". Daily Mail. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  9. Clemente Lisi (14 February 2012). "What Ever Happened To... Teofilo Cubillas". US Soccer Players. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  10. Peruvian Championship: Top Scorer Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  11. José Luis Pierrend (22 December 2000). "South American Player of the Year 1972". RSSSF. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  12. Jan Alsos. "Teofilio Cubillas (Peru)". Planet World Cup. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  13. Antonio Zea and Marcel Haisma (9 January 2008). "European Champions' Cup 1973–74 – Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  14. "Team Records and League Honors". Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  15. Philip Bennett (2 February 1988). "A Nation Grieves: With A Soccer Team`s Death, Peru Loses An `Island Of Hope`". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  16. "ENTRENADORES". Historia Blanquiazul (in Spanish). Club Alianza Lima. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  17. CUBILLAS SIGNS WITH STRIKERS Miami Herald, The (FL) – Saturday, 7 May 1988
  18. The Year in American Soccer – 1988
  19. STRIKERS LOSE FINAL, RELEASE CUBILLAS Miami Herald, The (FL) – Sunday, 28 August 1988
  21. JEFF RUSNAK (21 June 1991). "Back Trouble". SunSentinel. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  22. Teofilo Cubillas: Legends of the Football World Cup Retrieved on 19 May 2013
  23. "1970 FIFA World Cup Mexico". FIFA. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  24. David Edbrooke (1 February 2008). "The 25 best free-kicks of all-time (#11)". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  25. CONMEBOL All-Star Team Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  26. NASL All-Star teams, all-time Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  27. France Football's World Cup Top-100 1930–1990 Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  28. World Soccer: The 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  29. Placar's 100 Craques do Século Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  30. Os 100 Craques das Copas (Placar Magazine) Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  31. World – Player of the Century Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  32. South American – Player of the Century Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  33. "The Best of The Best" Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  34. CONMEBOL All-Star first team 1958–2008 Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  35. "Cubillas: Teófilo Cubillas Arizaga" (in Portuguese). Fora De Jogo. Retrieved 4 November 2012. (stats assumed to be League-only)
  36. David Litterer. "Part 1: Player Biographies, A-H". TOP INTERNATIONAL STARS IN THE NASL, 1967–1984. American Soccer History Archives. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  37. "Teofilo Cubillas". North American Soccer League Players. Nasljerseys.com. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  38. "Ft. Lauderdale Strikers". American Soccer League 1988 Season. A-League Archives. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  39. "Teófilo Cubillas – Goals in International Matches". Rsssf.com. 3 November 2006. Retrieved 21 January 2009.
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