Copa America is the world's oldest and longest-running international football competition, as well as the third most popular. The competition determines the South American champions. Since 1993, the event has featured a total of 12 teams, including all ten CONMEBOL nations as well as two teams from other confederations. Since the tournament's inception in 1916, eight of the 10 CONMEBOL national sides have won at least once, with just Ecuador and Venezuela remaining undefeated. With 15 titles, Uruguay leads the tournament's history, followed by Argentina with 14 titles and the current champion, Brazil, with nine titles.
The Copa America 2021 will include some of the best players in the world, including Neymar, Luis Suarez, and Lionel Messi, to name a few. The trio, as well as a few others, will be vying for the Golden Ball, which is given to the tournament's finest player. With the energy associated with South American football, fans around the world will be hopeful that their superstar players make an impact following the tournament's lengthy delay. Keeping that in mind, we will look at the top players who are among the best five candidates to win the Golden Boot in the Copa America 2021, which will be held in the home country of the reigning champions.
5. Marquinhos - Brazil
On November 17, Marquinhos made his national team debut in Miami, replacing David Luiz for the final 20 minutes of a 5–0 victory over Honduras. In the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification, Marquinhos scored his first competitive goal for Brazil on October 9, 2020, heading the opener in a 5–0 triumph over Bolivia at Corinthians' Stadium. In a qualifier against Venezuela the following month, he got his 50th cap. In the recently finished Ligue 1 season, the PSG defender was in superb form. Defenders have won the Golden Ball on numerous occasions, and this year could be no exception.
Also Read | Brazil Copa America 2021 Squad and Team Profile
4. Eduardo Vargas - Chile
There was a time when Chile used to be the dark horses of Copa America. But two back-to-back championships in 2015 and 2016 have established them as a force to reckon with. Vargan has been phenomenal for Chile on various occasions. In 2015 and 2016, Eduardo Vargas earned two Golden Boots in a row. He only scored one goal fewer than eventual winner Everton Soares in 2019. Vargas is also the second-highest scorer in Copa America history among active players, with 12 goals. Vargas is also the second-highest scorer in Chilean history, with 38 points, trailing only Alexis Sanchez's 43.
Also Read | Chile Copa America 2021 Squad and Team Profile
3. Luis Suarez - Uruguay
Luis Suarez, dubbed "El Pistolero," could be one of the players to watch during the Copa America 2021. Suarez is coming to Copa America 2021 after a fantastic season with Atletico Madrid in 2020-21. Suarez scored 21 goals in 30 La Liga starts to help Diego Simeone's team win the league for the first time in seven years. At the Copa America 2021, he'll be bursting with confidence and might cause difficulties for opposing defences. Suarez has slowed down a bit, but he is still a fantastic finisher. He has already helped Uruguay win the Copa America, ten years ago and will be looking to end his international career on a high with another trophy.
Also Read | Uruguay Copa America 2021 Squad and Team Profile
2. Lionel Messi - Argentina
Lionel Messi's achievements with Argentina have been closely scrutinised, as he has yet to win an international championship with La Albiceleste despite a glittering club career with Barcelona. Lionel Messi enters the competition after scoring 38 goals for FC Barcelona in the 2020-21 season, which could be his final Copa America. He also took home his eighth Pichichi award. In addition, he is only one goal behind Vargas in the Copa America goal tally. Messi would be eager to play for Argentina, which has a majority of its players in good shape. Messi's abilities are apparent, and he is unquestionably one of the greatest players in the game's history. A good Copa America 2021 campaign might help Argentina win the competition for the first time in almost three decades, relieving Lionel Messi of a significant burden.
1. Neymar - Brazil
Brazil won Copa America without their famous forward Neymar, but the attacker will be hoping to take the lead this time. The 29-year-old is widely regarded as one of the top players in the game, and he will be under a lot of scrutinies this summer. Neymar has the perfect opportunity to turn the tables following a disastrous 2020-21 club season, with the competition being held in his home country. Neymar made only 15 starts in Ligue 1, scoring nine goals and assisting on five occasions. He's had a strong showing in the last three games Brazil has played, and he'll be hoping to continue that trend in this summer's Copa America.