Some of the continent’s best players will be in action in this summer’s edition.
After a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Copa America 2021 will kick off in June 2021. Brazil, last edition’s hosts and champions, will organize the tournament once again after original hosts Argentina and Colombia withdrew for a number of reasons.
The Copa America has produced some memorable moments in the last few editions. The 47th edition of the quadrennial tournament will see more players hog the limelight for their nations once again.
Here are the five players you must keep an eye on in this year’s Copa America.
5. Alexis Sanchez
The former FC Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United forward has had a tough few seasons at the club level. However, he rejuvenated himself at Inter Milan and rediscovered form and won the Serie A title with the Nerazzuri in the 2020-21 season.
He will be looking to replicate his performance from the previous season for the Chile national team. The 2015 and 2016 Copa America winner will hope to lead his nation’s golden generation to one more title.
4. Federico Valverde
Record Copa America title holders Uruguay have one of the most balanced squads in the tournament. In this edition, Fede Valverde is expected to be one of the key players in the Uruguay squad.
The Real Madrid star is one of the best young players coming into the tournament. If his potential is anything to go by, he is the box-to-box presence that Uruguay require in transition.
Valverde possesses classic Uruguayan solidity on the ball and electric pace. His stock will definitely rise, provided he has a successful tournament with La Celeste.
3. Luis Suarez
He had a season to remember after winning the La Liga with Atletico Madrid. After six trophies with FC Barcelona, Ronald Koeman considered him surplus to requirements. Suarez won it all with the Blaugrana and is the third-highest goalscorer in the club’s history.
Distraught with the rejection at Barcelona, Suarez transferred to their rivals Atletico for just €7 million. He inspired the Rojiblancos to the La Liga title for the first time in seven years.
Suarez scored the highest number of goals for his new employers in their title winning campaign and was among the top-five goalscorers in La Liga in the 2020-21 season. The 34-year-old will look to carry his inspiring form into Copa America in order to win their 16th title.
2. Lautaro Martinez
Lautaro Martinez has turned into one of the most sought after strikers in the world. The Inter Milan star won the Serie A title with his club in the 2020-21 season, which was the club’s first league title in 12 years.
After a prolific league season with 17 goals, Lautaro can count on the services of Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi to shine once again in the international stages. In his second international tournament with La Albiceleste, Martinez will look to win his nation’s first major trophy since 1993.
The PSG star hasn’t had good luck with tournaments in his homeland. He got critically injured during the 2014 FIFA World Cup quarter-final. He also missed the last edition of Copa America in 2019.
But now, Neymar has another chance to win major silverware for his nation on their own turf. He will look to emulate his performance in the 2016 Rio Olympics, where Neymar won the Gold Medal for his country.
Neymar will see this tournament as his opportunity to once again prove his quality. He will be the key player for his side and all eyes are sure to be on him.