Age is no bar for these players, who are set to feature at the upcoming event in Brazil.
Less than two weeks from now, the Copa America will kickoff its 47th edition in Brazil after a long delay.
One of the oldest football competitions in history, the South American main event, which had already been postponed by a year, was on the brink of getting cancelled altogether. However, the Selecao offered to stage it for the second consecutive edition.
Now, with the tournament set to go ahead as scheduled, all 10 teams have begun preparations and will play a couple of World Cup Qualifiers before taking centre-stage in Brazil.
A mishmash of old and young stars will be in action competing for the biggest trophy in South America. Here, let’s take a look at the five oldest players, who will be in action at Copa America 2021.
5. Thiago Silva (Brazil) – 36 years, 255 days
If there’s one player who’s repeatedly made a mockery of Ol’ Father Time, it’s Thiago Silva. He played a starring role for PSG before joining Chelsea, where he has now become a Champions League winner too. A testament to his longevity and endurance, which also extends to international football.
Silva is a mainstay at the heart of Selecao’s defence. He has also graced the captain’s armband on a few occasions lately and has played every single minute of their 2019 triumph.
Strong in the air, resolute in open play, and possessing an expansive passing range, Silva is the complete centre-back any manager would ask for and would walk straight into any side despite his age.
4. Jean Beausejour (Chile) – 37 years, 2 days
An underrated operator in Chile’s midfield setup, Jean Beausejour was a part of two Copa America-winning squads and two consecutive World Cups. He’s also one of the five centurions in the current squad, having earned 109 caps for La Roja.
What makes Beausejour so crucial to Chile is his incredible versatility. He’s played as a left wing-back, left midfielder, left winger and even as an attacking midfielder on a few occasions. Strong on the ball with unerring passing accuracy, the player possesses a keen eye for goal too and has scored six times while assisting on 14 occasions.
Chile have an aging squad with many players likely to hang up their boots after the Qatar showpiece next year. Beausejour is one of them.
3. Antony Silva (Paraguay) – 37 years, 97 days
One of football’s lesser-known journeymen, Antony Silva has played for 15 sides in over two decades. He’s amassed 398 club appearances in four countries, but that hasn’t translated into international success for him. Since breaking into Paraguay’s national side in 2011, Silva has only earned 32 caps.
That’s because he’s struggled to establish himself with the outfit and often made only cameo appearances. But now, after four years in exile, the Puebla custodian is back in the mix. Head coach Gustavo Gomez has called up two uncapped goalkeepers too and Silva will have to fight for his place again.
2. Paolo Guerrero (Peru) – 37 years, 154 days
There are few players who find success more in their international career than in club football. Paolo Guerrero is one of them.
A Peruvian icon, the striker has been the face of his side in Copa America for the past three editions. He’s won the competition’s Golden Boot in all of them and even guided Peru to the final in 2019, scoring a penalty against Brazil in a losing cause.
Guerrero is also the most prolific striker in the competition history among all active players with 14 goals. At 37, this might be his last shot at silverware with Los Incas and that alone should see him bag some more goals in the upcoming tournament.
1. Claudio Bravo (Chile) – 38 years, 52 days
Veteran goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has been an instrumental part of Chile’s setup for 17 years now. He’s represented La Roja in eight international tournaments and even captained them to back-to-back Copa America titles in 2015 and 2016. With over 100 caps under his belt, the 38-year-old is still going strong.
Bravo experienced a footballing rebirth at Real Betis. Under the tutelage of his compatriot Manuel Pellegrini, the former Barcelona custodian recaptured his mojo and helped Los Verdiblancos secure European football. A redemption after four miserable years at Manchester City left his career at a crossroads.
Now, the Chilean star’s leadership and experience will be critical in the upcoming Copa. It’s likely his last and bowing out with a third straight title would be the ideal farewell he could ask for.