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Copa America 2021 - 5 breakout stars of the tournament

Sharan Pillai
ANALYST

#3 Emiliano Martinez (ARGENTINA)

Emiliano saved three penalties v Colombia in the semifinal
Emiliano saved three penalties v Colombia in the semifinal

The Argentine shot-stopper was one of the most notable breakout stars from the Copa America this term.

Despite his fine form in the Premier League with Aston Villa, Emiliano wasn't expected to outperform his rivals, including some big names like Ederson Moraes, Claudio Bravo and Alisson Becker.

Copa America 2021 was Emiliano Martinez's debut international tournament. But the way the Argentine goalkeeper handled the pressure was second to none.

Emiliano Martinez saved three penalties in the semi-finals against Colombia, and played a crucial role in the final as well, making a couple of great saves. These included a brilliant stop off Neymar's attempt.

Emiliano Martinez conceded just two goals over the course of the tournament and earned the Golden Glove award. He was also named the goalkeeper of the team of the tournament.


#2 Rodrigo De Paul (ARGENTINA)

Rodrigo De Paul provided the assist to Angel Di Maria's title-winning goal
Rodrigo De Paul provided the assist to Angel Di Maria's title-winning goal

The former Udinese star had a tournament to remember.

After a not-so-impressive Copa America campaign back in 2019, Rodrigo De Paul wasn't expected to be one of the star players under Lionel Scaloni.

Especially so as the team was full of big names such as Angel Di Maria, Giovani Lo Celso, Sergio Aguero, Leo Messi, Lautaro Martinez, and many others.

Nevertheless, a consistent display of form made De Paul catch everyone's attention. He came into the limelight after providing the assist to Di Maria's goal in Argentina's title-winning match against arch-rivals Brazil.


#1 Luis Diaz (COLOMBIA)

Arguably one of the best players in the tournament, Luis Diaz, also deserves the top spot for being the best breakout performer of Copa America 2021.

Luis Diaz was the joint top scorer of the tournament
Luis Diaz was the joint top scorer of the tournament

He is the only player to have scored goals against both the giants, Argentina and Brazil, in the tournament.

The FC Porto number seven single-handedly earned his team the third spot after scoring a brace against Peru. He scored a sensational goal in injury time (94th minute) to grab the victory.

Luis Diaz also found the net in the 61st minute in the semi-finals against eventual Copa America champions Argentina.

Unfortunately, Colombia lost the game in a penalty shootout following a brilliant performance from Emiliano Martinez, who stopped three Colombian penalties.

Luis Diaz's overhead kick goal against Brazil is considered one of the best goals of the year. The Colombian superstar ended the campaign with four goals, making him the joint top scorer of the tournament alongside Lionel Messi.

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Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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