Saturday, August 1, 2009

In 1972 South American Footballer of the Year went to Teofilo Cubillas. Cubillas is probably the best Peruvian player of all time, but still it is hard to figure out why he was awarded. Cubillas still played for Alianza (Lima), which is perhaps the biggest club in Peru, but at least internationally it was not a success. Alianza’s rival Universitario reached the Libertadores Cup final, but this is no reason for voting Cubillas. Since the event is distant now and South American football was hardly featured in early 1970s Europe, the election of Cubillas is enigma to me. It could have been inertia of the surprisingly strong performance of Peru at World Cup 1970. It could have been strong season of the player. Something does not much, though – Cubillas moved to Europe in 1973, but not to big club – he went to Switzerland. His teammate in the national squad, who is not considered the best ever Peruvian player, but a drunk – Hugo Sotil – was the very first purchase Barcelona made after the Spanish Federation lifted the ban on foreign players. The mystery remains, but it is insightfull to know that the King of Football was not worthy for this award already a second year. Something like a Brazilian crisis perhaps? Something like Uruguayan decline? Something like an Argentine wrong direction? Something like Chileans been eternal wannabes? Something like… non existent Colombians, despite having Alfredo di Stefano playing for them once upon a time?
Questions are questions, but Teofilo Cubillas was great player. Overall, if not that particular year.
Cubillas (on the ground) scoring against Morocco (I think) at World Cup 1970. Since I don’t really know why he was voted Footballer of the Year in 1972, he better stays on his bottom – I want to keep the mystery.