Tuesday, June 22, 2021 | Dhu al-Qaadah 11, 1442 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Players to watch at 2021 Copa America

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LIONEL MESSI


Messi has won everything with Barcelona and nothing with Argentina’s senior team and his time is running out.


The co-hosts haven’t won a major title since Copa America in 1993, with Messi present when Argentina lost on penalties in this tournament in 2015 and 2016. The man considered by many to be the greatest of all time has made winning something in the light blue and white his priority before retiring.


Messi will be 36 by the next Copa and, with the World Cup looking an unattainable achievement for Argentina, this could be his best chance to end an unhappy drought.


MOISES CAICEDO


English clubs fought for the signature of Ecuadorean teenage midfielder Caicedo this year and his decision to choose Premier League bottom-half side Brighton & Hove Albion surprised many.


Known for his crisp passing and box-to-box stamina, the 19-year-old has yet to make his debut on the English south coast but at the international level, he has already made his mark.


He first appeared for Ecuador aged 18 and became the youngest scorer in their history when he netted in a 4-2 hammering of Uruguay last October.


Copa America could be Caicedo’s chance to show a wider audience precisely what he is capable of.


NEYMAR


Another tournament, another chance for Neymar to win a big title with Brazil and add a major international trophy to a cabinet filled with club and individual honours.


Neymar was missing when Brazil won the Copa America at home in 2019 and the Olympic gold from 2016 or the 2013 Confederations Cup are not at the same level.


Coach Tite cannot leave Neymar out - he is still Brazil’s outstanding talent - but after his much-criticised performances at the 2018 World Cup, and Brazil’s win without him in 2019, Neymar will be looking to stamp his presence on the tournament.


YEFERSON SOTELDO


The pocket-sized Venezuelan Soteldo has little chance of winning this tournament - Venezuela and Ecuador are the only South American teams never to win the Copa America - but he will stand out if his recent form continues.


The five-foot two-inch winger was fantastic in Santos’ run


to the Copa Libertadores final this year and his tricky dribbles and trademark cuts inside to launch fierce drives made him a fan favourite.


He was transferred to Toronto FC in April and an injury sustained in late May could well keep him out of the Copa. Venezuela will wait until the last minute to ensure his presence.


— Reuters


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