Football (fútbol) is one of the most popular recreational sports in Peru. As a football-loving nation, Peru has produced some of the soccer greats that have been known the world over for their skills and individual contribution to the sport. Some of these names have become synonymous with soccer itself.
Football in Peru started in the latter part of the 19th century when English sailors brought the sport in the port of Callao, strategically located in the Pacific Ocean. The sailors invited the local people of Callao to play with them. It was alleged that the popular move, the Bicycle Kick, was invented (Peruvians referred to it as the Chalaca or the Chalacan Strike) in Peru. It is a special move that football rivals Chile and Ecuador also claimed to have invented.
In the early years, football was played informally between the visiting foreigners and the locals. However, during the early 20th century, several football clubs were established and formal games organized. Despite the closing of the Panama Canal in the 1900s, which limited the number of travelers and sailors in Callao, football in Peru continued to grow as several clubs and leagues had already spread among other Peruvian cities.
In 1927, the official national team was created and Peru hosted the South American Championship that same year and made it to third place. By the 1930s, Peru saw its first golden era in football. Although Peru only reached the group stages in the inaugural 1930 World Cup, the skill the Peruvian national team demonstrated against the favorites surprised many audiences. Between 1933 and 1935, players from the national squad of Peru and Chile combined to form the Combinado del Pacifico and toured several European countries. In the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Peru was the only South American country to participate. The team’s strong attack and excellent technique was able to overcome the Austrian Wunderteam, the leading favorite to win the Olympics, with a 4 – 2 victory. However, there were several allegations surrounding the game and the International Olympic committee nullified the results and ordered a re-match. Peru opted to forfeit the Olympics in protest of the controversial decision.
1938 saw Peru’s first win of an international title, the first Bolivarian Games. The next year, Peru also gained victory of their first Copa America, known then as the South American Cup.
Peru’s second golden era in football was during the 1970s. La Blanquirroja, had qualified for the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico where they reached the quarterfinals after defeating Bulgaria and Morocco. Peru eventually bowed down to Brazil in the quarterfinals. However after the 1970 World Cup, the national squad went on to win the Copa del Pacifico and the Copa Mariscal Sucre. In 1975, Peru also secured their second Copa America title. In 1978, Peru qualified for the World Cup reaching the top of the first round by defeating Scotland and Iran and tying with the Netherlands.
In recent years, Peru has resurfaced as a South American football powerhouse even attaining third place in the 2011 Copa America.
Héctor Eduardo Chumpitaz González
Héctor Chumpitaz is one of the most popular Peruvian footballers. He was named “El Capitán de America” or America’s Captain for his amazing technique, organization, and leadership qualities. He was the team captain of the Peruvian national team that won the 1975 Copa America and the national squad for the 1970 and 1978 World Cup tournaments. He was born in the town of San Vicente de Cañete on April 12, 1944. He started youth football with Universitario de Deportes and his senior career with Deportivo Municipal in 1964.
Many people considered Chumpitaz as one of the best defenders in South America of all time. Terra.com also listed him as one of the best World Cup players in 2006. In an IFFHS poll in 2000, he was voted as one of the best South American football players and was ranked 35th overall. These accolades are much deserved by Chumpitaz. He had consistently displayed his abilities as a player on the field and his qualities as a leader for the clubs he played in, the Peruvian national team, and as the captain of the American continent’s contingent for the All-Star teams that played in 1973 in Barcelona, Spain against an All-Star European team. He helped the senior side of Universitario de Deportes win five league championships in 1996, 1967, 1969 and 1971 as well as in 1974. He also played for Mexico’s Club Atlas before ending his professional football career with Sporting Cristal.
He made a total of 105 appearances for the Peruvian national football team that spanned nearly two decades from his first call up in 1965. He retired from the national team in 1981 and from football in 1983. Despite his retirement, he remained an active public figure. In 2004, he was found guilty and sentenced to probation for allegedly accepting money from a presidential adviser in 1998. However, in 2005, his sentence was nullified.
Hugo Alejandro Sotil Yerén
Hugo Sotil is from Ica, Peru where he was born in March 8, 1949. He was one of the top players for Peru’s second golden era in football. Popularly known as El Cholo, he was best known for his skilled dribbling and excellent ball passing abilities. He was one of the most popular football players of Peru during the 1970s. There was even a biopic based on his life, which was released in the 1970s. He was the back-to-back winner of the Peruvian Footballer of the Year in 1973 and 1974.
He started his career in Peruvian Second Division club CD Municipal in 1968 before playing for Spanish La Liga FC Barcelona. His stint with the Spanish league saw Sotil developing his skills with dribbling and striking and was an important member of the team that destroyed Real Madrid in a 5 – 0 victory where Sotil himself scored the last goal. FC Barcelona eventually went on to win the Spanish League after a trophy drought of 14 seasons.
He was part of the national football team that qualified for the 1970 and 1978 FIFA World Cup as well as the victorious national lineup for the 1975 Copa America. He was capped 62 times and scored 18 goals since his call up to the national team in 1970.
Sotil’s football career, despite his impressive playing, had been beset with several personal problems most of which are related to his drinking. He currently works in Peru training youngsters in football.
Juan Joya Cordero
Juan Joya, known as “Negro El Once”, was considered as one of the greatest strikers Peru ever produced. Born in Lima, Peru on February 25, 1934, he played as a left-winger during the 1960s. He first started playing in the Peruvian league for Alianza Lima and eventually became the league’s top scorer in 1958. He played for Argentine club River Plate before he moved to Uruguay and played for one of Uruguay’s biggest teams, Peñarol, in 1961. In his first season, Joya was able to secure three titles – the Primera División Uruguaya, the Copa Libertadores, and the Copa Intercontinental. From 1961 until 1969 he secured six Primera División Uruguaya, two Copa Libertadores, two Copa Intercontinental, and one Supercopa Sudamericana.
He made a total of nine appearances for the Peruvian national football team and scored three goals. He was also part of the national team’s lineup for the 1957 and 1959 Copa America. Joya died at the age of 73 on the 29th of March 2007.
Juan Roberto Seminario Rodríguez
Juan Seminario, more popularly known as “El Loco”, is one of Peru’s most notable strikers. He hails from Piura where he was born on the 22nd of July 1936. He started playing for Peruvian local club Deportivo Municipal in 1954 before moving to Europe to play for Sporting CP in Portugal, Real Zaragoza and FC Barcelona in Spain, and Fiorentina in Italy. He also had a two-season stint with Catalonian football club CE Sabadell FC. The last club he joined before retiring was Peruvian club Atletico Grau.
His stay with Real Zaragoza resulted in Seminario winning the Pichichi Trophy, making him the only Zaragoza player to ever win the award. For the brief two seasons he played for Real Zaragoza, he made a total of 38 game appearances and scored 33 goals. He was also part of the FC Barcelona squad that won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1965-1966. His first call up for Peru’s national football squad was in 1956. From that year until 1959, he was capped 19 times and contributed 6 goals.
Julio César Uribe Flores
Julio César Flores started his career with Peruvian side Sporting Cristal in 1975. He had played for several clubs in the span of his eighteen-year career including Mexican Club America and Italian club Cagliari Calcio. He hails from Lima, Peru where he was born on the 9th of March 1958.
For Sporting Cristal, Flores had garnered four Peruvian League titles (1979, 1980, 1988, and 1991). For Club America, he had attained the 1987-1988 Primera Division Mexicana title. He had several short stints with other clubs in and out of Peru during his career. His first call up for the Peruvian national soccer team was in 1979 and from the year until 1989 he was capped 39 times and was able to contribute 9 goals.
The last club he played for was C.A. Mannucci in Peru. He retired in 1993 and began to coach the club. He is now currently managing Unión Comercio. He was also tapped to coach the Peruvian national team first in 2000 to 2001 and in 2007 but poor results caused him to be removed from the position.
Julio Meléndez Calderón
Julio Meléndez is one of Peru’s most popular defenders and was a big success as a footballer in Argentina. He played for Argentine super club Boca Juniors and his impressive defending skills made him popular among fans and a frequent part of the team’s starting lineup. He made a total of 156 appearances for the Argentine club. He was also a significant contributor for the club’s win of the 1969 Argentina Cup and two Primera Division Argentina titles in 1969 and 1970.
Meléndez was born in Lima, Peru on April 11, 1942 and started his career in 1961 with Defensor Lima. His last club was Juan Aurich in Chiclayo, Peru, a team that plays in the First Division. He was also part of the Peruvian national team that won the 1975 Copa America, although his first call up was way back in 1965. Until 1977 he was capped 365 times.
Teodoro Fernández Meyzán
Teodoro Fernández, nicknamed “Lolo,” is touted as one of Peru’s most important footballers in history. He is a product of Peru’s first golden era in football and was that generation’s most prolific scorers. He was from Cañete, Peru where he was born on May 20, 1913.
Fernandez spent his entire football career with Universitario de Deportes despite offers from top clubs in Chile, Argentina, and Europe. He was the club’s top goal scorer in its entire history with 157 goals. He was a seven-time top scorer of the Peruvian League (1932, 1933, 1934, 1939, 1940, 1942, and 1945), an unbroken record even to this day. He was known as “El Cañonero” for his strong striking and impressive skills as a center-forward.
For the Peruvian national team, Lolo had a total of 32 appearances and 24 goals. He was also the national team’s captain from 1935 until 1947. He was part of the winning lineup for the 1939 Copa America and held the record for most capped Peruvian player in the Copa America. He even scored a hat trick at the age of 40, before his retirement in 1953. He died at the age of 83 on September 17, 1996.
Teófilo Juan Cubillas Arizaga
Born in Lima, Peru on March 8, 1949, Teófilo Cubillas, nicknamed “El Nene” for his boyish looks, is widely considered as one of South America’s finest football players. In a poll by IFFHS, he was selected as Peru’s greatest player and was part of the Top 50 footballers of the world. He was also one of the only two players ever to have scored five goals in two separate World Cups (1970 and 1978).
As a midfielder, Cubillas demonstrated great technical skill, impressive dribbling, and lethal shots. In his football career, he had a total of 515 goals and was seventh place in the World Cup’s top scorers (with 10 goals) and the number one scorer among midfielders.
First called up for the Peruvian national team in 1968, Cubillas was capped 81 times and contributed 26 goals within the span of 14 years of being part of the national team.
In the span of his career he had played for several clubs that spanned three continents and was a significant contributor to several clubs’ victory of numerous titles before retiring in 1989, ending his illustrious football career with Miami Sharks.
Valeriano López Mendiola
Valeriano López Mendiola, nicknamed Tanque de Casma, is one of Peru’s most prolific goal scorers and a product of Peru’s first golden era in football, having started his youth football career with Sport Boys before moving to its senior squad in 1946 at the age of twenty. Born on May 4, 1926 in Casma, Peru, López had netted a career-high 207 goals in 199 games and was one of the footballers who average more than one goal per game. He had excellent finishing and heading abilities and impressive ball positioning skills.
He began his professional career with Sport Boys and immediately showed his potential in scoring goals. In his first three seasons with the club, he became the Peruvian League’s top scorer in 1946, 1947, and 1948. He moved to Colombia to play for Deportivo Cali and became one of the club’s most iconic footballers, even setting a record for scoring goals for 12 consecutive games. After stints with different clubs in Peru and neighboring countries, he went back to play for Sport Boys and Deportivo Cali before finally retiring in 1960.
He made a total of 12 appearances and 11 goals for the Peruvian national team from 1947 to 1955. He died at the age of 67 in Callao, Peru on the 7th of May 1993.
Víctor Benítez Morales
Víctor Benítez, nicknamed “El Conejo”, was one of Peru’s best defensive midfielders. He started playing professionally for Alianza Lima in 1954 at the age of 18, having been born on October 30, 1936. Benitez contributed to the club’s victory of two Peruvian League titles in 1954 and 1955. He moved to Argentina to play for super club Boca Juniors in 1960 and helped the team win the Primera División Argentina title in 1962.
He crossed the Atlantic to play for Italian club Messina in 1963. However, it was his stint with AC Milan that earned him the 1962-1963 UEFA Champions League title. His stint with AS Roma gave him the 1968-1969 Coppa Italia. He returned to his home country Peru in 1970 to play with Sporting Cristal, earning him his last Peruvian League title. He made 11 appearances for the Peruvian national team from 1957 to 1959, representing Peru in the 1957 and 1959 Copa America, the 1957 and 1959 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Games.
Adan Adolfo Balbín Silva
Adan Balbín who hails from Huaral, Peru currently plays as a defensive midfielder for Universidad San Martin. Born on October 13, 1986, Balbín started playing professionally for Unión Huaral, his hometown club, in 2005. By 2007, he joined Primera Division club Coronel Bolognesi. In Bolognesi, he was used as a centerback and helped the team win the 2007 Torneo Clausura. In 2009, he joined his current team Universidad San Martin. His impressive performance for San Martin earned him the 2010 Peruvian League title and garnered the attention of Peruvian national team coach Sergio Markaran. He was first tapped to play for the national team in 2010 for a friendly game against Colombia and has so far been capped ten times.
Alberto Junior Rodríguez Valdelomar
Alberto Rodríguez currently plays as a central defender for Portuguese first division club Sporting Clube de Portugal. He’s from Lima, Peru where he was born on the 31st of March 1984.
He started playing football for the youth club of Deportivo Wanka. When he was 18 years old, he signed up with Sporting Cristal and played for four whole seasons making a total of 155 appearances for the club and winning three Torneo Clausura titles. After four years in Sporting Cristal he signed with Portuguese club Sporting de Braga for a three and a half year-contract. His stay with Braga was marred by injury but despite that he still managed to make 79 appearances in two years. On May 2011, he signed with Portuguese powerhouse Sporting Clube de Portugal for a four-year contract.
He started playing for the national team during the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. He was also tapped to play for both the 2007 and 2011 Copa America.
Aldo Sebastián Corzo Chávez
Lima-born Aldo Corzo currently plays as a right back for Universidad San Martín. He is an aggressive defender with excellent speed and stamina coupled with impressive ball control and keen focus for attack assistance.
He started playing in the youth club of Club Regatas de Lima from 1999 at the age of ten and stayed with the club until 2007. Corzo was born on May 20, 1989. His performance in the youth squad got the attention of Jaime Duarte and was signed with Alianza Lima in 2008. He was immediately promoted to first team in the same year and became a vital member of the club, quickly earning him starting eleven status for the team. On January 2010, he signed a contract with current team Universidad San Martín de Porres for two years and helped the team earn the 2010 Peruvian League title.
He first started playing for the Peruvian national team in a friendly game against El Salvador in 2009. He was also tapped to play in the 2011 Copa America. He has made a total of 12 appearances for the national football team.
André Martín Carrillo Díaz
André Carrillo currently plays as an attacking midfielder for Primeira Liga Sporting Clube de Portugal. He’s also a native of Lima, Peru where he was born on June 14, 1991.
He started playing professionally for Alianza Lima in 2009 at the tender age of eighteen where he made a total of 21 appearances and scoring three goals. On May 2011, he signed with current team Sporting Clube de Portugal for €1.5 million. He started playing for the Peruvian national football team on March 2011 as an unused substitute. He also participated in the 2011 Copa America where he scored a last minute goal in Peru’s game against South American rival Chile.
Antonio Gonzales Canchari
Antonio Gonzales is another Lima, Peru native where he was born on May 16, 1986. Gonzales currently plays as a defensive midfielder for Universitario de Deportes. Despite his relatively short stature, he has an aggressive playing style which makes him a force to be reckoned with on the field. He has been with Universitario since 2006 and his passion for his team has led many fans and football insiders to consider him as the successor of Jose Luis Carranza. His stint with Universitario has so far earned him two titles: the 2008 Torneo Apertura and the 2009 Campeonato Descentralizado. He has been capped five times for the Peruvian national football team since his first call up in 2010.
Carlos Augusto Lobatón Espejo
Carlos Lobatón currently plays as a central midfielder for Sporting Cristal. He is the product of the youth training of Sporting Cristal. He hails from Lima, Peru.
Lobatón was born on February 6, 1980 and at age 18, he made his professional debut playing for Sport Boys. He stayed with the club for three years until 2001, which saw him moving through different clubs in Peru such as Estudiantes de Medicina, Universitario de Deportes, and Unión Huaral before eventually settling with Cienciano in 2003. It was in Cienciano that Lobatón developed as a player and attained his first success in local and international football. With the club, he gained the 2003 Copa Sudamericana and the 2004 Recopa Sudamericana.
He returned to Sporting Cristal in 2005 and helped his old team win the 2005 Peruvian Primera Division title. He is still with Sporting Cristal since he came back.
He started playing for the Peruvian national football team in 2003. He was called again to participate in a friendly game against Colombia in 2010. He was also part of the national squad that played for the 2011 Copa America and has earned 20 caps and one goal.
Christian Guillermo Ramos Garagay
Christian Ramos, born on November 4, 1988 in Lima, Peru currently plays as a defensive center back for Alianza Lima. He is a product of the youth training of Sporting Cristal.
He was upgraded to senior football player by Sporting Cristal in 2007 where he made 53 appearances. In 2009, he played for Universidad San Martin and had made 66 appearances and two goals in his stay with the club. In 2011, he transferred to current team Alianza Lima.
Ramos has played for the Peruvian national football team since 2009 and has made a total of 12 appearances.
Giancarlo Carmona Maldonado
Giancarlo Carmona, also from Lima, Peru where he was born on the 12th of October 1985, currently plays as a right winger for Argentine Primera División side San Lorenzo.
He debuted as a professional footballer for Peruvian side Alianza Atletico in 2005 and stayed there until 2008. He moved to Universitario de Deportes and helped the team win the 2009 Campeonato Descentralizado. His skills in the pitch caught the attention of Argentine Primera División side San Lorenzo de Almagro. On December 2010, the Argentine club bought fifty percent of his rights for US $500,000.
He started playing for the Peruvian national football team in his youth when he joined the Peruvian U-20 team in 2005. As an adult player, he joined the national team for their 2011 Copa America campaign earning three caps.
José Paolo Guerrero Gonzales
José Paolo Guerrero currently plays as a striker for German club Hamburger SV. He too, is from Lima, Peru. He was born on New Year’s day in 1984.
Guerrero started playing in the youth squad of Alianza Lima when he was eight years old and stayed with the club from 1992 to 2002 where his impressive striking led to him netting more than 200 goals for the squad. In 2002, he signed a contract with Bavarian FC Bayern Munich II. In his 2003-2004 season with the Bavarian giant, he had scored 21 goals in 23 games leading the team to win the Regionalliga Sud and him to become the top scorer. He joined the senior team of Bayern Munich for the 2004-2005 season and helped the first team win the 2004-2005 Bundesliga. He stayed with Bayern Munich until 2006 and gained further titles such as the DFB-Pokal and the 2005-2006 Bundesliga.
In 2006, he joined current team Hamburger SV. In his first season with the team, Guerrero had low productivity because of frequent injury and being mostly a substitute. However, he did get back to form in the latter part of the season where he was able to net three goals. In his second season with Hamburger SV, he helped the team win the 2007 UEFA Intertoto Cup. By the 2007-2008 season, he had become the team’s first choice striker.
In 2010, Guerrero was suspended and fined by the German Football Association for an incident between him and a Hamburg fan at the end of a league game between Hamburger SV and Hannover 96.
Guerrero first played for the Peruvian national football team’s U-17 squad in the 2001 Bolivarian games. He was also part of the 2011 Copa America squad as a first choice striker. He scored a total of five goals for the 2011 Copa America earning him the Top Scorer for the 2011 Copa America.
Josepmir Aarón Ballón Villacorta
Josepmir Ballón currently plays as a defensive midfielder for Argentine Club Atletico de River Plate on loan from Universidad San Martin de Porres. He was born on March 21, 1988 in Lima, Peru.
Ballón began playing for the youth squad of Academia Deportiva Cantolao from 2005 until 2006. He began playing professionally in 2007 for Universidad San Martin de Porres where he first earned his two back-to-back titles for the 2007 and 2008 Primera División Peruana. In 2010, he was sent to River Plate on loan where he still currently plays.
He first joined the Peruvian national football team as a youth player for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship. He joined the senior national squad in 2009 and was part of the lineup for the 2011 Copa America campaign. He has so far made 20 senior appearances for the national team.
Juan Manuel Vargas Risco
Juan Manuel Vargas currently plays as a wingback for ACF Fiorentina of the Italian Serie A. Fans know him as “Jardo” or “El Loco” (The Madman). He can easily switch between offensive and defensive positions and is known for his impressive dribbling and powerful shots. He also has a lethal free kick and precise crossing. Vargas is from Magdalena del Mar, Lima where he was born on October 5, 1983.
He started playing for Universitario de Deportes’ youth squad in 1999. By 2002, he was accepted in the senior team. His impressive play and goal scoring led to him becoming a main part of the starting lineup for Universitario in 2004.
He moved to Argentina and joined Colón de Santa Fe in 2005. He became part of the team’s starting eleven players. The next year, he signed with Sicilian club Catania for a four-year contract where he continued to display his winning form as first team regular and helped his club stay in the Serie A.
He signed with Fiorentina for €12 million in July 2008. When he first joined the team, he struggled as a left back. However, he showed his potential in being an attacking midfielder and has since then returned to his winning form and contributed to the team’s advance into the Round of 16 for the Champion’s League in 2009. His first call up for the national football team was in 2004. He’s been capped 38 times and had scored four goals.
Leao Butrón Gotuzzo
Lima-born Leao Butrón currently plays as a goalkeeper for Universidad San Martin de Porres. The 34-year old goalkeeper was born on the 6th of March 1977.
He made his professional debut for Peruvian giant sporting Cristal in 1996 where he made a total of 75 appearances and gained his first Primera División Peruana title. He stayed with the team for five years before moving to Alianza Atletico in 2002. In 2003, he joined Alianza Lima where his goalkeeping skills contributed to the team’s win of the 2003 and 2004 Primera División Peruana titles.
He signed with current club Universidad San Martin de Porres in 2006. So far, he has made 224 appearances for the club and earned two more Primera División Peruana titles (2007 and 2008).
He has been playing for the Peruvian national team since 1997 and has made a total of 36 appearances.
Luis Advíncula Castrillón
Luis Advíncula currently plays as a striker for Peruvian First Division club Sporting Cristal. He is known as “Bolt” to fans because of his great speed. He is also a flexible player and can perform on the right or left field. He’s another Lima, Peru native who was born on March 2, 1990.
He started in the youth squad of Juan Aurich and was promoted to the senior team in 2009 where he made a total of 31 appearances. In 2010, he joined current club Sporting Cristal where he had made 55 appearances so far.
He was tapped to play for the national football team of Peru in the 2011 Copa America campaign.
Michael Fidel Guevara Legua
Michael Guevara from Lima, Peru currently plays as an attacking midfielder for Peruvian First division club Sport Boys. Guevara was born on June 10, 1984.
He started in the youth squad of Universitario de Deportes and was promoted to the senior squad in 2002. From 2002 to 2006, he made a total of 61 appearances and netted seven goals for the club. He played for Unión Huaral in 2005 before joining Sport Boys in 2006. He played for Universitario de Deportes again in 2007. Before playing for current team Sport Boys again in 2010, he had played for several other teams such as Juan Aurich, Universidad Cesar Vallejo, Colegio Nacional Iquitos, and Jagiellonia Bialystok.
He played for the Peruvian national team for their 2011 Copa America campaign.
Raúl Omar Fernández Valverde
Raúl Fernández currently plays as a goalkeeper for Universitario de Deportes on loan from OGC Nice. In his football career, he has demonstrated his fast reflexes and great dexterity between goal posts. He’s from Lima, Peru where he was born on October 6, 1985.
A product of Universitario’s youth squad, which he joined when he was fifteen, Fernandez demonstrated his goalkeeping skills early on. In 2007, he was promoted to the team’s senior squad. He debuted during the 2007 Clausura season against Total Clean and became starting goalkeeper for the team from then on. He was an important member in Universitario’s win of the 2008 Torneo Apertura and the 2009 Campeonato Descentralizado. For his efforts, he was awarded the Best Goalkeeper of the Peruvian League for 2008 and 2009 as well as Best Player of the Peruvian League for 2009.
He signed with OGC Nice of France in 2010 and is currently being loaned to Universitario de Deportes.He first played for the Peruvian national soccer team for a friendly game against Costa Rica. He was also tapped to play for the 2011 Copa America.
Raúl Mario Ruidíaz Misitich
Raúl Ruidíaz currently plays as a forward and a left winger for Universitario de Deportes. He is known for his excellent ball dribbling and aptness for scoring goals making him an impressive striker.
Like many members of the Peruvian national team, Ruidíaz started playing as a youth in the junior squad of Universitario de Deportes. He was promoted as a member of Universitario’s senior team in 2009 and participated in the 2009 Campeonato Descentralizado where he netted three goals out of seven games, helping the team to eventually win the title.
He is often compared to another South American soccer player Lionel Messi for his technical style and charging a player one on one. Some fans even touted him as “Pequeno Messi” (Little Messi) for his style of play. Brazilian newspaper O Globo has listed him as one of the greatest South American football talents. Born on July 25, 1990, Ruidíaz hails from Lima, Peru.
Renzo Revoredo Zuazo
Renzo Revoredo is from Lima, Peru where he was born on May 11, 1986. Revoredo currently plays as a right back and center back for Peruvian First División side Sporting Cristal. Despite being only 5’10, Revoredo displays an excellent aerial game. He is also an intelligent right defender with great attack timing capable of making precise long passes.
He played for Bolognesi from 2004 until 2008 helping the club win the 2007 Torneo Clausura before moving to Universitario. In Universitario, he gained his second title by contributing to the club’s win of the 2009 Campeonato Descentralizado. On August 2011, he signed a one and a half year contract with Sporting Cristal.
He was a member of the Peruvian national squad that played in the 2011 Copa America.
Paulo Rinaldo Cruzado Durand
Rinaldo Cruzado is a midfielder currently playing for the Italian Serie A club AC Chievo Verona. Born on September 21, 1984, Cruzado is another player who hails from Lima, Peru.
Cruzado came from the youth squad of Academia Tito Drago. He joined Alianza Lima in 2002 and made his Peruvian first division debut in 2003. He became an important player for Alianza Lima and was a key contributor for the club’s back to back win of the 2003 and 2004 Peruvian League title. He won his third Peruvian League title in 2006 with the same club.
Before joining Esteghlal in Iran, he played for Swiss club Grasshopper Club Zurich and Peruvian giant Sporting Cristal, helping the latter finish second overall at the end of the 2008 season. In Esteghlal, his first season was marred with injury. He recovered by his second season and was a regular starting player for the Iranian club.
He returned to Peru in 2010 to play for Juan Aurich and because he wanted to be called up for the national team. He eventually became part of the national soccer team’s lineup for the 2011 Copa America.
His impressive performance in the 2011 Copa America campaign captured the attention of European clubs and he was eventually signed by AC Chievo Verona in 2011.
Salomón Alexis Libman Pastor
Salomón Libman currently plays as a goalkeeper for Peruvian First Division side Alianza Lima. He is a recipient of the 2010 Peruvian First Division Goalkeeper of the Year. The 27-year old goalkeeper was born on February 25, 1984 in Lima, Peru.
He first played football in the youth ranks of Academia Cantolao. He debuted professionally for Sport Boys in 2003. In 2008, he joined current team Alianza Lima where he had 58 appearances so far. Despite his club not winning the First Division league in 2010, his goalkeeping skills were apparent and he was tapped to play for the national team for the 2011 Copa America and has already made five international appearances.
Wilmer Santiago Acasiete Ariadela
Callao-born Santiago Acasiete currently plays as a center back for Spanish side Union Deportiva Almeria.
Born on November 22, 1977, Acasiete, or Santi, started his professional career with Deportivo Wanka in 2001. He joined Universitario de Deportes the following year but only stayed with the club for one year. He joined Cienciano de Cuzco in 2003 and gained his first title with the club when they won the 2003 South American Cup. The following year, he gained his second title with Cienciano with the 2004 South American Supercup.
He crossed the Atlantic to join current team UD Almeria of Andalucia, Spain in 2004. He was a key member of the club’s defensive strategy that elevated the team to their first ever top flight promotion in the 2004-2005 season. Since then, he has made 180 appearances for the club and netted 12 goals.
Acasiete was a member of the Peruvian national team’s Copa America campaign in 2004, 2007 and 2011.
Walter Ricardo Vílchez Soto
Chiclayo-born Walter Vílchez is a defender currently playing for Sporting Cristal. He started playing professionally for Deportivo Wanka Chimbote (now called Deportivo Pesquero) in 2000. In the span of his eleven-year career in football, he had played for several teams before signing with Sporting Cristal. He had stints with Unión Minas of Cerro de Pasco, Sport Coopsol Trujillo, Alianza Lima, Club Olimpo of Buenos Aires, Cruz Azul Ciudad de Mexico, Puebla FC of Mexico and Cienciano Cuzco.
He has appeared in 40 games for the Peruvian national football team including the team’s 2011 Copa America campaign since his first call up in 2001.
William Medardo Chiroque Távara
From Sullana in the province of Morropón comes William Chiroque, who currently plays as a striker and attacking midfielder for Peruvian side Juan Aurich. He is a deadly striker with excellent skills in dribbling.
Chiroque, who was born on March 10, 1980 began playing professionally for Alianza Atlético since 1999 where he won his first title during the 2003 Torneo Clausura. He was the club’s top scorer at that time. Before joining current club Juan Aurich in 2009, he had played for Sporting Cristal and Cienciano de Cuzco.
He was tapped to play for the Peruvian national team’s 2011 Copa America campaign, He has had thirteen caps for the national team and he was once named Man of the Match in a friendly game against Chile. His first international goal came during the 2011 Copa America Third Place Match against Venezuela, which they won with a score of 4-1.
Victor Yoshimar Yotún Flores
Yoshimar Yotún of Callao, Peru was born on April 7, 1990. He currently plays as a left back and left winger for Peruvian giant Sporting Cristal. He started playing football at the age of seven, joining Academia Cantolao in 1997 and stayed at the club until he was twelve. He then joined other youth clubs such as Circolo Sportivo Italiano and Deportivo Real FC before joining the youth soccer system of Sporting Cristal.
He made his senior debut (on loan) with Jose Galvez FBC in 2008 before returning to play for Sporting Cristal in 2009. He first played for the Peruvian national soccer team for the 2011 Kirin Cup and he also participated in the 2011 Copa America Campaign.