3 Argentina Players Who Could Shine Brighter at Copa America 2024

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Lionel Messi. The name alone evokes awe in football fans worldwide. Argentina’s undisputed legend, Messi’s trophy cabinet boasts a record-breaking eight Ballon d’Ors and a recent World Cup crown (2022). While Messi remains a crucial figure for Argentina, the upcoming Copa America 2024 might see other players take center stage. 

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Here, we explore three Argentine stars who could have a bigger impact than Messi in the tournament:

  1. Angel Di Maria (Benfica Forward)

The Silent Assassin with a Flair for Drama.

  • Age: 36
  • International Caps: 139 (as of June 11, 2024)
  • Copa America Accolades: Winner (2021), Winning Goal (2021 Final)
  • World Cup Accolades: Champion (2022), Goal & Assist (2022 Final)

Like Messi, Angel Di Maria is a veteran presence, also at 36 years old. However, unlike Messi, Di Maria has announced his retirement from international football after Copa America 2024. This swansong tournament could be his defining moment.

Di Maria is a clutch performer, renowned for rising to the occasion on the biggest stages. In the 2021 Copa America final, his winning goal silenced Brazil’s home crowd. He replicated this magic in the 2022 World Cup final, scoring and assisting against France. Even in recent friendlies, he’s shown his scoring prowess with a goal each.

With his experience and knack for delivering under pressure, Di Maria could be the deciding factor for Argentina, even surpassing Messi’s contributions.

  1. Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa Goalkeeper)

The Unwavering Wall Between the Posts.

  • Age: 36
  • International Caps: 38 (as of June 11, 2024)
  • Copa America Accolades: Winner (2021), Conceded Only 2 Goals (2021)
  • World Cup Accolades: Champion (2022), Penalty Saves (vs. Netherlands & France)

Emiliano Martinez, Argentina’s towering goalkeeper (6 ft 5 in), is a force to be reckoned with. Despite his relatively new role as the first-choice keeper (since 2021), he’s established himself as a foundation of Argentina’s defense.

Martinez’s heroics in the 2021 Copa America were instrumental in their victory. He conceded only twice in the entire tournament. He carried this momentum into the 2022 World Cup, saving crucial penalties against Netherlands and France, including the decisive one in the final shootout.

While his flamboyant personality might grab headlines, it’s his shot-stopping ability and penalty-saving expertise that truly make him a difference-maker. Argentina will rely heavily on his experience and composure between the sticks.

  1. Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur Center-Back)

The Rock at the Heart of the Defense.

  • Age: 27
  • International Caps: (statistic unavailable, assumed to be under 30)
  • World Cup Accolades: Champion (2022), Played Every Minute in Knockout Stages

Cristian Romero, the young Argentine defender, brings solidity to the backline. Nicknamed “El Cuti,” he was a rock in Argentina’s defense during the 2022 World Cup. He played a vital role in all seven games, conceding just five goals before the final.

Romero’s aggressive yet composed defending style complements the rest of the backline. His presence allows Argentina’s attacking players like Messi and Di Maria to operate with more freedom, knowing they have a reliable shield behind them.

While Messi remains a world-class talent, Argentina’s success in Copa America 2024 might hinge on the exceptional performances of these three players. Di Maria’s experience and clutch goals, Martinez’s unwavering presence in goal, and Romero’s defensive leadership could all prove more impactful than individual moments of brilliance from Messi. This Copa America promises to be a thrilling display of teamwork and individual talent, and Argentina’s path to victory might not solely rely on the legendary Messi.

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