One of the most successful players to come out of Uruguay in the post-Second World War era, Luís Cubilla also achieved great success as a coach during a career in football lasting more than forty years. Cubilla’s career began in the late 1950s with Peñarol, and during six seasons with the club he won five league titles and helped the club to two wins in the Copa Libertadores, scoring a crucial late goal in the inaugural final in 1960 to clinch the trophy.
After crossing the Atlantic to play for Barcelona in 1962, he soon returned to South America to join River Plate in Argentina. After five years with River, Cubilla moved home to Uruguay to play for Peñarol’s rivals Nacional. During his time at Nacional he won four more league titles and a third Copa Libertadores in 1971, as well as helping the national team to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Mexico in 1970, where he gave them a shock lead against Brazil before the favourites came back to win 3-1.
After a brief spell in Chile with Santiago Morning, Cubilla ended his playing career in Uruguay with Defensor, with whom he won his tenth and last Uruguayan title in 1976. Moving quickly into a coaching career, Cubilla managed many clubs around South America over a period of nearly thirty years, including many in both his native Uruguay and in Paraguay, where he enjoyed his greatest success.
In several different spells in charge of Paraguayan club Olimpia, Cubilla led them to many national titles as well as two Copa Libertadores wins in 1979 and 1990, the first of which was followed with success in the Intercontinental Cup. He is one of the few men to win the Copa Libertadores as a player and as a manager, and after the second success in 1990 he was named South American Manager of the Year.
In between his successes in Paraguay, Cubilla also coached Peñarol to the Uruguayan League title in 1981, and spent two years as coach of the Uruguayan national team in the early 1990s, taking them to the Copa America tournaments of 1991 and 1993, although they could progress no further than the quarter-finals. He continued to move around a variety of South American clubs through his sixties, most recently Barcelona SC of Guayaquil in 2007.