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Top 100 players of Copa America and Euro 2024


The Summer of Soccer on FOX kicks off on June 14 with the European Championship in Germany, followed by the United States-hosted Copa América on June 20. The tournaments, which will both conclude on July 14, will feature some of the biggest soccer stars in Europe, South America and North America.

From now until the ball gets rolling in Munich, FOX Sports’ soccer writers Doug McIntyre and Martin Rogers will be counting down the top-100 players of the Summer of Stars, with 50 players from the European Championship and 50 players from the Copa América.

Here’s who made the cut:

How blown away were scouts who witnessed Frimpong’s precocious talent as a child growing up in Amsterdam? So much so that Manchester City brought him to England to train in their academy before he had even turned 10. Frimpong never featured for the Sky Blues in the Premier League, though. And when he signed for Scottish club Celtic, where he made 36 appearances over two seasons, some surely considered him a bust. But the wingback broke out in a big way after moving to Germany in 2021. This season, he has emerged as a bona fide star, helping Leverkusen win the Bundesliga title for the first time in the club’s 119-year history and scoring 13 goals across all competitions. While it may not have happened right away, it sure looks like those scouts were right about Frimpong’s potential after all. 

Country: Netherlands
Club: RB Leipzig (Germany)
Position: Attacking midfielder
Age: 21

If there’s really such a thing as a “modern footballer,” Xavi Simons is the prototype. At 13, the Amsterdam native had a sponsorship deal with Nike. At 15, he was cast in a commercial for the sportswear giant alongside the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Neymar and Brazilian great Ronaldinho. By 16,  a year before the winger/attacking midfielder even made his first team debut for Paris Saint-Germain, the former Barcelona academy product already had more than two million followers on Instagram. Simons spent a year back home with Dutch titan PSV Eindoven before resigning in Paris, then immediately moving on a season long loan to Leipzig last summer. For all the hype, there’s real substance to Simons’s game: he led the Eredivisie in scoring in 2022-23, and became the youngest player ever to play for the Netherlands in a World Cup knockout game when he came off the bench in a 3-1 win over the United States in the round of 16.

Country: Brazil
Club: Real Madrid (Spain)
Position: Center back
Age: 26

It’s rare for a teenager to start at center back for any first division club, but that’s what MIlitao did for Sao Paulo in Brazil’s top flight league before moving to Porto in 2019 at the ripe old age of 20. Across the border in Spain, the 6-foot-1 defender’s stout, mature-beyond-his-years style quickly caught the attention of the most decorated club on planet futbol, Real Madrid. Just eight months into his European journey, the 14-time continental champs swooped, paying Porto $54 million for the defender and inking him to a six-year contract. MIlitao has since won two La Liga crowns, one FIFA Club World Cup and the 2022 Champions League with Los Blancos. He also played in two Copa Americas for Brazil, winning the South American title in 2019, and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where he started four of the Selecao’s five games. 

Country: Portugal
Club: Liverpool (England)
Position: Forward
Age: 27

This summer will mark Jota’s second trip to a European Championship, with Portugal once again a dark horse to hoist the trophy when all is said and done. An unused reserve on the Portuguese squad that won the inaugural UEFA Nations League in 2019, the striker/left winger played all four games for his country at Euro 2020, scoring in a group stage loss to Germany, and will be desperate to help his country contend for a title after a calf injury he suffered in a Premier League match on the eve of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar ruled him out of that tournament. Jota consoled himself by helping Liverpool win the FA Cup and finish as Champions League runners-up later that season. 

Country: Turkey
Club: Inter Milan (Italy)
Position: Midfielder
Age: 30

The German-born playmaker is one of the biggest reasons why Turkey is headed back to the Euros for the third consecutive tournament. Calhanoglu captains his national team, and the free kick specialist is a serial winner: In 2022, he helped Inter win the Coppa Italia, then led the Nerazzurri to last season’s Champions League final, which they narrowly lost to Manchester City. Calhanoglu will come full circle in the Crescent Stars’ final group stage match at Germany 2024: Turkey closes its first round slate against Czechia at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, where Calhanoglu played near the beginning of his 13-year professional career. 

Country: Scotland
Club: Liverpool (Engalnd)
Position: Full back
Age: 30

The lone Scot in the Top 100, Robertson, long regarded as one of the sport’s premier left-sided defenders, is a worthy inclusion. The Glasgow native who also captains the Tartan Army has won all there is to at the club level with the Reds in recent years, including Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and FIFA Club World Cup titles. His individual honors are as impressive, with multiple appearances on Prem and UEFA Best XIs. Now into his 30s, all that’s missing on Robinson’s CV is a deep tournament run with his national team – though just helping Scotland qualify for back-to-back Euros after a 24-year drought is a notable achievement all by itself. 

Country: France
Club: Real Madrid (Spain)
Position: Defensive midfielder
Age: 24

Tchouameni’s upward trajectory hasn’t slowed since the rangy, 6-foot-2 defensive midfielder broke into Bordeaux’s first team as an 18-year-old in 2018. He was off to Monaco 18 months later, before being snapped up by Real Mardid for a cool $85 million in 2022 on a deal that, including incentives, could eventually be worth nine figures. He’s been worth the investment so far. An automatic starter when healthy, Tchouameni helped Real reach the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League earlier this month. The club is also on pace to comfortably win La Liga. For Les Bleus, Tchouameni has already scored in a World Cup knockout match and played in the final, with his penalty shootout miss against eventual champs Argentina perhaps the lone blemish on his otherwise sterling resume. 

Country: Brazl
Club: Real Madrid (Spain)
Position: Forwardr
Age: 23

For a guy who won’t turn 24 until January of 2025, the lighting quick Brazilian winger has already accomplished quite a bit. Rodrygo came through the ranks with Santos, Pele’s former club, located just outside his home city, Sao Paulo. After making more than 80 first team appearances (and scoring 17 goals) before his 19th birthday, he moved to mighty Real Madrid in 2019 and immediately established himself, scoring in his debut. Later that season Rodrygo became the second youngest player to bag a hat trick in the UEFA Champions League. He has  played in more than 200 games for Los Blancos since, and already occupies a special place in club lore thanks to his two memorable goals in the 2022 Champions League semifinal win over Manchester City – a victory that paved the road toward the club’s record 14 European title. A member of Brazil’s World Cup team in 2022, one thing Rodrygo hasn’t done is represent his country at the Copa America: USA 2024 will mark his first crack at hoisting the historic trophy. 

Country: England
Club: Newcastle United (England)
Position: Full back
Age: 33

Elite-level fullbacks aren’t always appreciated by fans. Elite-level clubs? They understand fully how important and rare they are. Which explains why perennial Champions League title contender Bayern Munich was willing to pay Newcastle almost $16 million to prise the 33-year-old defender away from Tyneside in January. That the Magpies rejected the offer despite Trippier’s advancing age and expiring contract speaks to how valuable the veteran has been for manager Eddie Howe since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2022. Trippier won a Spanish title with Atleti (after helping Tottenham reach the 2019 Champions League final), and will be looking for his first international trophy this summer; he previously represented the Three Lions at one Euro and two World Cups. Newcastle is currently trying to sign Trippier to a contract extension.  

Country: Colombia
Club: Liverpool (England)
Position: WInger
Age: 27

This summer’s Copa America will mark Diaz’s third trip to South America’s continental championship. He’ll have a tough time out-doing his performance in 2021. The Liverpool man was red hot three years ago in Brazil, where he scored four times (including goals against host Brazil and eventual champ Argentina) and finished joint top scorer (along with Lionel Messi). 

Diaz’ star turn continued when he returned to his then-club Porto. His 14 goals through the first half of the Portuguese season was enough to convince Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, with Liverpool dropping $48 million plus another $16 million in incentives to lure him to Anfield midway though the 2021-22 season. Diaz, the first indigenous Colombian to represent Los Cafeteros, hit the ground running in England, helping the Reds win the FA and EFL Cups and reach the UEFA Champions League final. 

Country: England
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Position: Midfielder
Age: 27

On his way to becoming one of the top attacking midfielders in the Premier League, Maddison methodically climbed the ranks one step at a time.

He debuted for hometown club Coventry City in England’s third tier, moved up to second division Norwich, then had a stint in Scotland’s Premiership before joining Premier League Leicester in 2018. That’s where  “Mr. President” began to make his name. Maddison made more than 200 appearances and scored 55 goals for the Foxes before joining Spurs last year. England boss Garett Southgate noticed, capping him for the first time in 2019 and including Maddison on his squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This will be his first European Championship, however, as he was not selected by Southgate for the Three Lions’ lrun to the final three years ago. 

Country: Spain
Club: Atlético Madrid (Spain)
Position: Striker
Age: 31

La Roja‘s captain enters his third European Championship looking for Spain’s first title since 2012. But the well-traveled striker has won just about everything else during his decorated career, including the FIFA Club World Cup, Champions Leagues and La Liga (both twice) with Real Madrid, two Italian Serie A crowns and two Coppa Italias  (with Juventus), and the FA Cup and Europa League (with Chelsea). Last June, Morata led the Spaniards to a memorable Nations League triumph over Croatia to go with his European youth titles at the under-17, U-19 and U-21 levels. The 2022 World Cup vet is hoping to hoist an even more prestigious prize for his country this July. 

Country: France
Club: Arsenal (England)
Position: Center back
Age: 23

Though he signed with the Gunners way back in 2019, Saliba has only really come into his own over the last two English Premier League seasons – his first two full campaigns in North London. The Saint-Étienne youth prospect, who was coached as a youngster by Kylian Mbappe’s dad, made only a handful of appearances for Arsenal’s first team inbetween three separate loan spells to Ligue 1 sides Marseille, Nice and Les Verts before returning to Emirates Stadium full-time. But the center back has been a rock in Mikel Arteta’s back line ever since, winning a spot on his country’s roster for the 2022 World Cup and helping his club contend for both Prem and UEFA Champions League honors this year. 

Country: England
Club: Manchester City (England)
Position: Full back
Age: 33

Long considered one of planet futbol’s leading right backs, Walker has shown few signs of slowing down as his 34th birthday approaches in May. He’s still a key player for the defending European Champions. He’s still a physical specimen who still boasts the pace to keep up with lightning quick attackers barreling down his wing. And after winning every possible piece of silverware since moving to City from Spurs six years ago, this summer’s Euro might represent his best chance yet of hoisting a trophy for England. Despite the disappointment of losing the final at Wembley on penalties last time out, Walker was named to the tournament’s best XI. 

Country: Spain
Club: Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
Position: Full back
Age: 28

If Alex Grimaldo wasn’t already in the conversation for the best left back in the global game, he surely is now after all but leading Bayer Leverkusen to an unlikely Bundesliga title this season – one that snapped Bayern Munich’s decade-plus-long stranglehold on Germany’s top division – his first with compatriot Xabi Alonso’s side since arriving from Portuguese titan Benfica last summer. That’s how instrumental to Leverkusen’s success the Spaniard has been. His  national team noticed, finally extending a first callup last fall to the former Barcelona and Valencia youth product. 

Country: Brazil
Club: Newcastle United (England)
Position: Midfielder
Age: 26

It’s probably not a coincidence that in his first full season on Tyneside after joining Newcastle from French club Lyon in early 2022, the Magpies finally made it back to the UEFA Champions League for the first time in two decades. The string-puller in Eddie Howe’s midfield, Guimaraes almost immediately emerged as the manager’s most indispensable player. For all the talk about how hard adjusting to the Premier League is midseason, the Rio native settled right away, scoring in his full debut. His breakout 2022-23 campaign landed him on the Selecao roster for the 2022 World Cup, where he made two appearances. Guimaraes hoping to occupy a bigger role for his country at his first career Copa America.

Country: England
Club: Manchester City (England)
Position: Center back
Age: 29

If defense really does win championships, John Stones is living proof. Though the 6-foot-2 center back is often overshadowed by the attacking exploits of high scoring City teammates such as Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland, Stones’s contributions at the other end of the field have been every bit as important. Since joining Pep Guardiola’s squad in 2016, Stones has helped backstop the club to its most successful-ever spell: five Premier League titles, two FA Cups plus a long-awaited first UEFA Champions League crown last season. Deployed as a defensive midfielder in the decisive win over Inter Milan, Stones helped the Sky Blues keep a clean sheet. Stones also started all seven of England’s games at the last Euro, where the three Lions conceded just two goals en route to a runner-up finish. 

Country: Germany
Club: Bayern Munich (Germany)
Position: Winger
Age: 28

Like Gabriel Jesus, Sane left Manchester City despite a record of success: the crafty winger helped the Sky Blues win two Premier League crowns, three EFL titles and an FA Cup during his four years with the club. But Bayern Munich was determined to bring Sane back to Germany  and he was willing to go, rejecting a contract extension from the Cityzens and signing for Bayern in 2020. The former Schalke youth product’s trophy haul continued back home; he’s won the Bundesliga three times, German Super Cup twice plus the FIFA Club World Cup. For Germany’s national team, this summer marks Sane’s third European Championship – where he’ll no doubt look to add another piece of prestigious silverware on home soil.  

Country: Brazil
Club: Arsenal (England)
Position: Forward
Age: 27

It says a lot about Gabriel Jesus’s ambition that he left mighty Manchester City, where the winger was beloved by manager Pep Guardiola but unsatisfied by occupying a reserve role, for Arsenal in 2022 to become a week-in, week-out Premier League starter. The move raised eyebrows at the time. But the São Paulo product’s performances have more than vindicated his decision –even if the Gunners finished last season as the Prem runner-up  behind City, which also won the Champions League for the first time. Just now entering his prime, the Brazilian’s arrival in North London is one of the main reasons Arsenal was even in that title race – and why they’re firmly in the running for both domestic and European glory this year. While a knee injury kept him out of the Seleção”s friendlies versus England and Spain last month, Jesus should be fully healthy to help his country defend the Copa America title he won in 2021.

Country: Hungary
Club: Liveropol (England)
Position: Midfielder
Age: 23

Not since all-time great Ferenc Puskás led his country to the 1954 World Cup final – winning the Golden Ball honors as tournament MVP along the way – has Hungary had a bona fide all-planet talent. That’s how highly regarded Szoboszlai is by many across Europe; last year, the Guardian newspaper ranked the box-to-box midfielder No. 52 on its list of the world’s Top 100 players. The former Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig standout isn’t quite as high on our list; for Liverpool, he’s been limited by a series of minor injuries since joining the Reds last summer. But he should be fit fully fit by season’s end and ready to lead the Hungarian effort to reach the knockout stage for the second time in the last three Euros.  

Country: Brazil
Club: Arsenal
Position: Center back
Age: 26

Looking back on it almost four years later, the $31 million fee the Gunners paid French club Lille to acquire a rangy young center back officially named Gabriel dos Santos Magalhães in September 2020 was a steal. Gabriel has since established himself as one of the very best central defenders in the world’s best domestic circuit: England’s Premier League. The Sao Paulo product’s height, speed consistency, durability and cultured left foot are among the main reasons that Arsenal has seriously challenged for the Prem title over the last two seasons, and why the Gunners have also reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League – another competition in which Mikel Arteta’s side are legitimate contenders this year – for the first time since 2010. 

Country: Argentina
Club: Chelsea (England)
Position: Midfielder
Age: 23

How integral was Fernandez to Argentina’s World Cup win at Qatar 2022, where his crucial goal in a group stage win over Mexico made him the Albiceleste’s second-youngest World Cup scorer after his childhood idol Lionel Messis? So much so that Premier League mainstay Chelsea dropped a British record transfer fee of $131 million on the hard-tacking central midfielder the following month.  Fernandez, who was named after Uruguayan legend Enzo Francescoli, played for Portuguese talent mill Benfica and River Plate (Francescoli’s former club) in his native Buenos Aires before moving to London last year.

Country: Georgia
Club: Napoli (Italy)
Position: Forward
Age: 23

When you play in Naples and your nickname is inspired by local deity Diego Maradona, you’re doing something right. After witnessing his mesmerizing dribbling ability upon his 2022 arrival in the city, Kvaratskhelia was dubbed “Kvaradona” by fans of the all-time great’s former club. He scored a goal and added an assist on his Napoli debut, and was a key member of the squad that won the Scudetto last season as the top team in Italy’s Serie A – the club’s first title since 1990, when Maradona was the captain. For his country, Kvaratskhelia already has 15 goals in 29 appearances and helped the nation of just four million citizens qualify for its first major competition this summer.

Country: France
Club: Real Madrid (Spain)
Position: Defensive midfielder/Full back
Age: 21

Though he doesn’t turn 22 until November, but Camavinga is already a key member of two all-world teams in Los Blancos and Les Bleus. Part of what makes him so valuable for club and country – he was France’s youngest debutant in over a century when he won his first cap in 2020 at age 17 – is his versatility. A natural attack-minded midfielder, the Angloa-born speedster can also line up in a deeper, ball-winning role, as a fullback or on the wing. A member of the French side that lost the 2022 World Cup final to Argentina, Camavinga has already made more than 100 appearances for Real Madrid since arriving from Ligue 1 side Rennes three years ago. 

Country: Argentina
Club: Atlético Madrid
Position: Midfielder
Age: 29

Another core member of the Albiceleste squad that won the 2021 Copa America and 2022 World Cup. One of the top midfielders in the game, De Paul is versatile enough to play either centrally (like last Copa, when he was named to the team of the tourney)  or out wide (like in Qatar.. The Buenos Aires native is also a key figure for Atleti under Argentine manager Diego Simeone – one of De Paul’s predecessors as the Albliceleste’s hard-tackling midfield destroyer.

Country: Argentina
Club: S.L. Benfica (Portugal)
Position: Forward
Age: 36

Lionel Messi gets most of the plaudits when it comes to Argentina’s success in recent years, and rightfully so. Yet the Albiceleste might not have won either the 2021 Copa America or the World Cup a year later if not for the contributions of his fellow veteran and longtime international teammate. Di Maria bagged the Copa winner over host nation/blood rival Brazil to snap Messi’s trophyless streak, and he drew a tone-setting penalty that the GOAT converted to open the scoring in Argentina’s World Cup final triumph over France in Qatar.

Country: Brazil
Club: FC Barcelona (Spain)
Position: Forward
Age: 27

In the two years since he singlefootedly kept Leeds United in the Premier League, Raphael Dias Belloli has established himself as one of Barcelona’s best players. The winger has scored 15 goals in 78 games for Barca across all competitions. For Brazil, the former Rennes and Sporting Lisbon player has netted six times in 21 appearances since making his international debut three months after the 2021 Copa America. Raphinha started four of Brazi’s five matches at the 2022 World Cup. 

Country: Argentina
Club: Tottenham Hotspur (England)
Position: Center back
Age: 25

The World Cup and Copa America champion in back for his second Copa this summer; in 2021, Romero was named to the team of the tournament as Argentina hoisted the trophy for the first time  in 28 years. This followed a Serie A defender of the year award-winning season with Altalanta, prompting Tottenham to recruit him to the Premier League.  Romero is expected to resume his defensive partnership with veteran Nicolás Otamendi this summer. The pair started the Albiceleste’s final six matches, all wins, in the country’s 2022 World Cup triumph.

Country: Argentina
Club: Liverpool (England)
Position: Midfielder
Age: 25

Perhaps no player in the global game boosted his stock more at the 2022 World Cup than Mac Allister, who was thrust into Argentina’s lineup by manager Lionel Scaloni after Saudi Arabia stunned the Albiceleste in its opening match and started the next six matches as Argentina went on to win its first world title since 1986. The central midfielder was no passenger en route to glory; his goal against Poland in the first round finale helped his country win its group, and he assisted on Angel Di Maria’s goal in the decider against France. Mac Allister parlayed his performance into a $70 million transfer to Liverpool last summer from Brighton & Hove Albion. 

Country: Argentina
Club: Manchester United (England)
Position: Forward
Age: 19

Perhaps the only Argentine who actually prefers Cristiano Ronaldo to compatriot Lionel Messi, Garnacho is following in his idol’s footsteps at United, the club at which CR7 became a global superstar. He’s already made more than 70 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 12 goals – including a sensational bicycle kick against Everton that was voted Premier League goal of the month last November. Also eligible to represent Spain, he made his senior debut for Argentina last June and is expected to play a key role off the bench at USA 2024, where he will be one of the top young players to watch.

Country: Argentina
Club: Manchester United (England)
Position: Center back
Age: 26

Although he stands just 5 feet, 9 inches tall, the scrappy center back plays much bigger than that. Martinez first made his name in the European club game with Ajax, where he won two Eredivisie titles before joining the Red Devils in 2022. Hoisting trophies is just what the serial winner does: he also took home a Dutch Cup during his time in the Netherlands, won last season’s EFL Cup with United, and was a member of Argentina’s championship sides at both the 2021 Copa America and 2022 World Cup. 

Country: Brazil
Club: West Ham (England)
Position: Midfielder
Age: 26

Paquetá will be gunning for his second Copa America title with the Selecao this summer; he was part of the Brazilian squad that beat Peru in the final on home soil in 2019 and also played in the 2021 finale that the back-to-back Copa hosts lost to rival Argentina. The attacking midfielder/winger has also won at the club level, having helped the Hammers – which he joined in 2022 after stints at Lyon, AC Milan and Flamengo – claim the UEFA Europa Conference League title last year, the club’s first European trophy this century. 

Country: Ecaudor
Club: Chelsea FC (England)
Position: Defensive midfielder
Age: 22

Growing up in a home with 10 older brothers and sisters, it’s no wonder that the defensive midfielder learned early how to fight for the ball. These days Caicedo is one of the leading players in the world at his position, which is why the London titan Chelsea dropped almost $130 million last August to lure him away from Premier League rival Brighton & Hove Albion. That’s more than the Blues paid for another South American central midfielder, World Cup winner Enzo Fernández of Argentina, just eight months earlier. Internationally, Caicedo has 39 caps for Ecuador and played every minute of his country’s three games at the 2022 World Cup, scoring in the group stage finale against Senegal.

Country: Argentina
Club: Aston Villa (England)
Position: Goalkeeper
Age: 31

His penalty shootout save on France’s Kingsley Coman helped Argentina win the 2022 World Cup, but that epic match might not have gotten to the tiebreaker at all had Martinez not made an even more spectacular stop against Randal Kolo Muani in the final seconds of extra time to keep the scoreline level. Martinez was a brick wall throughout the Albiceleste’s stay in Qatar, winning the Golden Glove award at the conclusion of the tournament. He parlayed that career-defining performance into multiple individual accolades afterward: The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper for 2022 and the Yashin Trophy awarded by France Football magazine in 2023. Not bad for a guy who could barely get a sniff in the Premier League until 2020, when he was already in his late 20s.

Country: Uruguay
Club: Tottenham Hotspur (England)
Position: Midfielder
Age: 26

Only just entering his prime, Bentancur has already represented La Celeste at two Copa Américas and two FIFA World Cups. The imposing central midfielder also boasts an impressive resume at the club level, having made more than 100 appearances for Italian titan Juventus and winning three Serie A titles before joining Spurs for at the beginning of 2022. Serious knee and ankle injuries have limited him the past two seasons. But at his best, Bentancur has shown that he  is among the top players at his position in the Premier League.

Country: Brazil
Club: Aston Villa (England)
Position: Midfielder
Age: 25

Want to know why Aston Villa is on pace to qualify for the Champions League this season? One big reason is Douglas Luiz. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was well aware of the potential and quality of the Rio de Janeiro native, which is why he brought the then teenager  England from Vasco da Gama back in 2017. Work permit issues prevented Luiz from ever playing a Premier League game for the Sky Blues; he was twice loaned out to Spanish side Girona, where he made 38 appearances over two seasons. He signed for Villa two years later. On the cusp of Brazil’s senior squad at that point, he was finally granted permission to play in the Prem and is now a regular for the nine-time Copa América champs.

Country: United States
Club: AC Milan (Italy)
Position: Winger
Age: 25

The face of the USMNT since he was a teenager and now just entering his prime, Pulisic has been at the height of his powers at the club level throughout his first season in Italy following a roller-coaster four-year run with English club Chelsea that included a Champions League winner’s medal but not enough playing time, either because of injury or coaches’ decisions. But in Milan, “Captain America” has found both sustained health and a huge fan in manager Stefano Pioli, who starts him in just about every game. Pulisic has rewarded that faith, scoring a career-best 12 goals across all competitions (his previous high was 11 with Chelsea in 2019-20) with more than two months of the Serie A season still to go.

Country: Argentina
Club: Benfica (Portugal)
Position: Center back
Age: 36

After playing every minute for Argentina as the Albiceleste won the 2022 World Cup, many expected the veteran center back to drop the mic and ride off into the international sunset. Not only did Otamendi decide instead to stick around, he continues to anchor his country’s backline with distinction even as his 37th birthday approaches. The former Manchester City, Valencia and Porto defender can also contribute on the other end of the field; last November, he scored the only goal as Argentina handed chief rival Brazil it’s first-ever World Cup qualifying loss on home soil. 

Country: Uruguay
Club: Paris Saint-Germain (France)
Position: Midfielder
Age: 23

He’ll barely be 23 when the Copa America kicks off, but already Ugarte has gained a reputation as one of the world’s emerging defensive midfielders. PSG certainly noticed the six-foot destroyer’s take-no-prisoners approach during the 2023-23 UEFA Champions League, in which the Montevideo native led all players in combined tackles and interceptions in the group stage. The French champions paid Sporting Lisbon more than $65 million to acquire Ugarte last summer.   

Country: Paraguay
Club: Newcastle United (England)
Position: Winger
Age: 30

The Paraguayan livewire parlayed a stellar two-year run in Major League Soccer that concluded with a championship followed by an MLS record transfer to Newcastle United of England’s Premier League in 2018. Almoron has since made almost 200 appearances for the Magpies, scoring a career-best 11 Prem goals last season to help the club qualify for the Champions League for the first time in two decades.

Country: United States
Club: Juventus (Italy)
Position: Midfielder
Age: 25

One year on from a disappointing half-season loan to then Premier League club Leeds United, McKennie has established himself as one of the best central midfielders in Italy. The all-action Texan has been dominant on both sides of the ball for Juve during the 2023-24 campaign; he’s currently tied for second in assists in Serie A. McKennie has also shown the ability to dominate international games, having been an automatic starter for his country since he scored on his USMNT debut in 2027.

Country: Mexico
Club: Feyenoord (Netherlands)
Position: Striker
Age: 22

In the year and change since he was cut from Mexico’s 2022 World Cup team, the Argentina-born youngster has developed into one of El Tri’s top performers. Gimenez shook off the disappointment of his omission by helping Feyenoord win the Dutch title for just the second time this century, scoring 15 times along the way. He had 31 goals in all in the Eredivisie in 2023, breaking the calendar-year record set in 2009 by Uruguayan great Luis Suarez. Gimenez also had the trophy clinching strike for Mexico at last year’s Concacaf Gold Cup. 

Country: United States
Club: Fulham (England)
Position: Fullback
Age: 26

Known as “Jedi” to fans and teammates, the noted Star Wars fan has emerged as one of the top left backs in the Premier League this season, his fourth with the Cottagers. He’s been durable, too: Robinson has started all but one Prem game in 2023-24. No wonder top clubs have taken notice of the speedy English-born defender, whose stock would only rise with a strong showing at the Copa America. This will be Robinson’s second major tournament for the U.S., for which he played all four games at the 2022 World Cup.

Country: Ecuador
Club: Brighton & Hove Albion (England)
Position: Fullback/Wingback
Age: 26

This Copa America will mark Estupiñán’s third for his country. At Brazil 2019, the fleet-footed left back/wing back was named to the post-tournament Best XI. He also played every minute of Ecuador’s three games at the 2022 World Cup. At rhe club level, Estupiñán has been a mainstay for Premier League Brighton over the last two years, helping the Seagulls to a surprising sixth place finish in his debut campaign — good enough for a spot in this season’s Europa League. Estupiñán spent seven years in Spain before moving to England.

Country: Mexico
Club: PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)
Position: Winger
Age: 28

Perhaps the best Mexican attacker of his generation, there’s no disputing that “Chucky” Lozano is the most expensive El Tri player ever, as Napoli dropped a cool $45 million on him in 2019. It was money well spent. Before returning to former club PSV last summer, the 2018 and 2022 World Cup vet helped Napoli win its first Scudetto as Italian Serie A champs since way back in 1990, when Diego Maradona prowled the stadium that now bears his name. Lozano has five goals for undefeated PSV so far this season, including a hat-trick against rival Ajax in October.

Country: Mexico
Club: West Ham (England)
Position: Defensive midfielder
Age: 26

Álvarez has methodically climbed the ranks on his way to Planet Futbol’s most competitive domestic league. He began his pro career with Mexico City-based titan Club América, then spent four successful seasons in the Netherlands with Dutch powerhouse Ajax, where he became the first El Tri player to score in his maiden Champions League match. West Ham came calling for the defensive midfielder last summer with a $45 million transfer. Álvarez, a two-time World Cup participant, scored his first Premier League goal for the Hammers earlier this month.

Country: United States
Club: Juventus (Italy)
Position: Winger/Wing back
Age: 24

The Brooklyn-born son of former Ballon d’Or winner George Weah is making his own name in Italy, where he’s in his first season with Juve — a fierce rival of his father’s AC Milan. Weah, who started every game for the U.S. at the 2022 World Cup and scored the Americans’ tournament opening goal, has shown off his versatility in Serie A: a forward for his country, he’s lined up as a fullback in many of his 22 games. Weah, a New York Red Bulls academy product, previously won Ligue 1 with Lille and Paris Saint-Germain and a Scottish title with Celtic.

Country: United States
Club: PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)
Position: Fullback
Age: 23

Already a grizzled veteran at the sport’s highest level, Dest had played in a World Cup and for four former European champs (Ajax, Barcelona, AC Milan and PSV) by the age of 22. After falling out of favor with Barça and struggling through a tough loan spell with Milan, the silky smooth fullback has been a mainstay in PSV’s lineup, leading the Dutch power to an undefeated Eredivisie season so far plus a spot in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

Country: Ecuador
Club: Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Germany)
Position: Center back
Age: 22

One reason Bayer Leverkusen is running away with the German Bundesliga title race is its stingy backline, which has conceded just 16 goals in 24 matches to date. Hincapié has been a huge part of that. After beginning the season on the substitutes’ bench, the big center back has started eight of Leverkusen’s last nine matches, seven of them wins. Hincapie made his international debut at the 2021 Copa América but is now a grizzled veteran despite his still-tender age: he played every minute of Ecuador’s three games at the 2022 World Cup.

Country: Mexico
Club: U.S. Salernitana 1919 (Italy)
Position: Goalkeeper
Age: 38

The most-capped goalkeeper in El Tri history, Ochoa will turn 39 before the 2024 Copa América is over. He’s still Mexico’s undisputed starter, though; last year, “Memo” took home Golden Glove honors after snaring his fifth career Concacaf Gold Cup title. Now playing in Italy’s Serie A after stops in the top leagues in Belgium, France and Spain, this summer could mark the former Club América star’s international swan song.

This story will be updated through the end of the countdown on June 14.

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