Mexico has always been a destination of choice for Peruvian players. We’re not just talking about the times of Juan Jose Muñante or Geronimo Barbadillo. This success has dated back to the 1930’s, and the first Peruvian to ever win a title on Mexican soil went by the name of the Julio Lores Colán.
Before Raul Ruidiaz, there was Julio Lores. This comparison is perhaps the closest kind, as he was one of the pioneers of “jugadores del area” or in other words, a poacher for Peruvian football. Lores was a forward who had excellent off-the-ball movement. He was always where he needed to be and was a natural finisher.
Born in Huaral, Lores is one of the city’s most well-known footballing idols, especially now given the local city ground is named after him, the same stadium in which Union Huaral play their home games. He started his career at Ciclista Lima, or “Asociación Foot Ball Club” as it was originally known.
Lores was called up for Peru for the first time in 1929 for the Campeonato Sudamericano that was held in Argentina. This was the second championship la Blanquirroja ever participated in and he was in a team with another great in Alejandro Villanueva. The big problem for Lores was the team was full of Alianza Lima players, including Villanueva himself. While there isn’t any problem with having a number of players from a certain club, in that particular situation they showed disrespect towards Lores and injured him intentionally in training, leaving him out of the tournament.
That was not the final time he played for Peru, however. Lores was offered a contract by Necaxa in Mexico, which he accepted. Luis Mardones, the manager, wanted him at the club and this was an innovative move for all parties at the time. Especially with how difficult it was to get from Peru to Mexico in that era.
The next year, Lores was a member of the Peruvian World Cup squad in 1930, the first-ever tournament held by FIFA.
Peru were placed in a group with Uruguay and Romania. This group only had three teams, as opposed to later tournaments which have four. La Bicolor would go onto lose both games and only score one goal in a 3-1 loss against Romania. Unfortunately, Lores failed to score, but this time he got along with most of the team. Villanueva was still there, but other notable players were Plácido Galindo and Juan Valdiviezo, the latter of whom would participate in the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.
Lores wouldn’t appear for Peru much longer, and he didn’t feature at another World Cup with the team. However, he did end up switching nationalities and similar to Alfredo Di Stefano with Spain, he ended up playing for Mexico.
El Tri is sometimes infamous for nationalizing Argentine players. Guillermo Franco was a good example of this, as was Christian Gimenez. The first-ever nationalized Mexican player was actually Lores himself. This was, of course, during a time when you were still allowed to freely switch national teams.
With Mexico, Lores managed to win a gold medal in the Central American Games in 1935 and 1938, which were based in El Salvador and Panama, respectively. He scored six goals in total for El Tri.
As for his time at Necaxa, Lores was the first-ever Peruvian player to ply his trade outside the country. With Necaxa, he bagged 20 goals in 1931 and finished as the top scorer of the championship. He didn’t win his first title, though, until the next season in 1932. He only scored eight goals that year, but still managed to win the Golden Boot in a much shorter season, and with it came a trophy.
Lores played for Necaxa until 1938 and won four titles before his retirement. He ended up getting married in Mexico and lived there until he passed away in 1947. He had very few visits back to Peru and when he did, he would always go to his hometown in Huaral.
Lores had a similar reputation to Alfredo Di Stefano, who might have played for Spain but is firmly remembered as an Argentine. While Lores had a better playing career with Mexico, he is still a Peruvian to many and was one of the best finishers of his time. The first Peruvian to ever have success on foreign grounds left a legacy for many to come, in both Mexico and Peru.