Sporting is mourning the loss of one of its greatest names: Júlio Cernadas Pereira, the great gentleman Juca, who played and coached at our club in the 1950s and 60s.
Júlio Cernadas Pereira (Juca)
Júlio Cernadas Pereira "Juca" was born at 13 January 1929 at Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique.
He started playing at Sporting de Lourenço Marques, curiously enough in the position of goalkeeper: "it looked like I had find my place but the coach, seeing that he had no centre-back and had two other keepers, one of the being Costa Pereira, threw me into that position and never again I left the midfield".
At 13 appeared another passion in sports for him, Basketball, a love that only last for three years, as he ended up returning to football. He joined Sporting in 1950, as a midfielder, and when he signed contract with the Lions there were comments in Lisbon claiming that Sporting had signed a golden head, such was his efficiency in the air.
Juca's first game at Sporting was against Lusitano de Vila Real de Sto. António, with a 3-1 win.
He was the first player ever to score a goal at the old Estádio José Alvalade, on 10 June 1956, on the inauguration match against Vasco da Gama, that Sporting lost 2-3. He ended his career as a footballer in 1958, due to an injury that kept him away from the pitches, at 33 years of age. He played 300 games and scored 24 goals.
As a player he won the League 5 times in 50/51, 51/52, 52/53, 53/54 and 57/58 and one Taça de Portugal in 53/54.
He was an "A" international six times for Portugal.
As a coach, Juca won the League in 1961/62 becoming the youngest ever coach to become Portuguese Champion, at 33, a record that still holds. In 1962/63 he won the Portuguese Cup (Taça de Portugal), which allowed Sporting to participate in the following season at UEFA's Cup Winners' Cup, that the club won.
Juca was coach of Portugal's National Team between 1977 and 1978 and between 1980 and 1982, failing the qualification for the European Championships because the Portuguese team did not manage to score from the penalty spot in the last game. In 1989 he once again took charge of the NT's coaching position, replacing Artur Jorge. He commanded the Selecção nacional in 40 games, only passed by Luiz Felipe Scolari and António Oliveira.
The former Sporting president, Sousa Cintra, would bring Juca to be technical director at the Club, at the start of the 90s. When Carlos Queirós replaced Bobby Robson, in 1994/95, Mário Lino replaced Juca, who then became coordinator of Sporting's youth department until 2004.