International tournaments like the Copa America are often the stage where players bring out the best in them. Each individual tries to be at their finest before donning their national kits.
Copa America 2021 lived up to expectations and provided spectators with an action-packed event. Fans got a treat that was worth watching as Argentina lifted the trophy, while teams like Brazil and Colombia displayed some sublime football.
Before the start of every tournament, there are a certain set of players that fans have their eyes on. However, this factor can work for or against a player as some crumble under the pressure put on them.
In addition, apart from the expected names, there are almost certain to be a few breakout stars. These surprise performers bring out the best and deliver much more than what was expected of them.
This year's Copa America was no different. Fans witnessed quite a few breakout performances over the course of the tournament.
On the same note, let's take a look at the 5 breakout stars of Copa America 2021.
#5 Gianluca Lapadula (PERU)
Peru showed signs of excellence right from the start of the tournament. They were placed alongside Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela in Group B, the North Zone.
Peru finished second, behind Copa America runners-up Brazil in the group. They successfully carried the same form into the knockout stages and ended up as the fourth-best team in the competition.
But there's a name that stood out in Ricardo Gareca's squad - Gianluca Lapadula.
With three goals, he ended up as Peru's top scorer and the tournament's second top goal-getter. All three of Lapadula's goals came in crucial circumstances for Peru.
While his side was struggling against Ecuador, the Peruvian number 9 bagged a goal and an assist to save his team from a loss.
Lapadula's second strike came in Peru's quarterfinal match versus Paraguay. He provided his team with a 2-1 lead in the 40th minute.
The game ended in a 3-3 draw, and Peru entered the semis after a penalty shoot-out victory. Lapadula converted his penalty in the shoot-out.
Undoubtedly, Lapadula ended up as the most dependable man for his country.
#4 Angel Romero (PARAGUAY)
Paraguay opened the 2021 Copa America with a massive 3-1 win over Bolivia. It was a perfect start for the winning side's number 11 — Angel Romero.
After trailing in the 10 minutes following a foul inside the box, Paraguay bounced back during the latter stages of the game. Gammara's opener and Angel Romero's brace (65', 80') sealed the deal for Eduardo Berizzo's men.
Even though those were the only two goals scored by Romero in the tournament, he ended up as a crucial playmaker for Paraguay. The side could only make it as far as the quarterfinals, but Angel Romero's performance was lauded by many.