SOME of the world's greatest players will be strutting their stuff at the Copa America this summer as Argentina defend their title in the USA.

Beating Brazil in the Maracana final three years ago was the breakthrough success for Lionel Messi at international level and it propelled the Argentines to World Cup glory in Qatar.

Now they're going for a hat-trick of tournament wins but the Brazilians will be out for revenge and a host of other top players will be out to help their nations spring a shock.

Best Copa America players

Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 181 Caps 106 International goals

Still going strong at 36 and can play with freedom for his country after finally getting his hands on the World Cup. Isn't playing at a high level in club football after moving to the MLS but is Argentina's top scorer in World Cup qualifying.

Lionel Messi international goals – trends to watch

The Argentine legend has 13 goals from 34 Copa America appearances and could be worth backing in the group game with Paraguay as he has netted five times against them. Four of his goals at the World Cup came from the spot so it could pay to back him to score a penalty. Is also very accurate with long-range shooting and free-kicks so is a good shout for goals scored outside the area,

Vinicius Junior (Brazil) – 29 Caps 3 International goals

The Real Madrid star has yet to bring his club form to the international stage but this could be the tournament where he announces himself as Brazil's main man. Netted six times in Real Madrid's triumphant Champions League campaign so will be high on confidence.

Vinicius Junior international goals – trends to watch

Although Vinicius has scored just three times for Brazil he has contributed in other ways. He has chipped in with five assists for the national team so it might be wiser backing him in that market at the Copa America.

Darwin Nunez (Uruguay) – 23 Caps 11 International goals

The striker often frustrates Liverpool fans with his finishing but he has been pretty deadly for Uruguay and tops the scoring charts in South American World Cup qualifying with five goals from six games. Nunez scored a hat-trick against Mexico in a recent friendly so his confidence will be sky high.

Darwin Nunez international goals – trends to watch

Nunez's height makes him an aerial threat and he has scored twice from headers with Liverpool in the Premier League this season. One his five goals in World Cup qualifying came from the spot so he could be worth backing for a penalty goal at the Copa America.

Rafael Santos Borré (Colombia) – 33 Caps 6 International goals

The Colombians are potential dark horses at the finals and Borre should lead the line for them. The Internacional striker netted in the recent friendly rout of America and has also scored twice in World Cup qualifying for Colombia.

Rafael Santos Borre international goals – trends to watch

Two of Borre's goals for Colombia have been openers so there could be a bit of value backing him to break the deadlock in games at the Copa America. He netted from the spot in a World Cup qualifying win over Paraguay so could offer some value for a penalty goal too.

Folarin Balogun (USA) – 11 Caps 3 International goals

The USA have had a troubled build-up to the Copa America but home advantage could help them go far in the tournament. Former Arsenal kid Balogun should be full of belief after netting nine goals for Monaco this term after a 21-goal campaign on loan at Reims in season 2022/23.

Folarin Balogun international goals – trends to watch

None of Balogun's goals for Monaco this season came with the score at 0-0 so it's best steering clear of him for first scorer, although he did net first for the USA in a friendly win over Oman. At just 5ft 10in, the striker also isn't a big threat in the air and most of his goals come from shots.

Kevin Mac

587 articles

I'm a sports journalist, football tipster and author from Dundee, who is now working in Glasgow. I've covered games at every level, from Junior football to internationals, and still love football even though it has clearly sold its soul. My first novel Moristoun was released in 2015. I've been in football tipping since 2018 with the MFT site and have been writing the betting tips for the Daily Record newspaper since the sad death of Paul Jain in 2020.

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