Copa America's top scorers: Find out who the leading goal machine for Copa America is

Copa America's top scorers: Find out who the leading goal machine for Copa America is

Helix Odhiambo
February 27, 2023 at 8:42 AM

Copa America is one of the most popular international football tournaments globally. The competition featured exceptionally talented and skilled footballers like Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Neymar, and Luis Suarez. But are they among the best Copa America top scorers in history?

Argentina's Copa America top scorers
Argentina players celebrate winning the 2021 Copa America at Maracana Stadium on 10 July 2021 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Buda Mendes
Source: Getty Images

The competition's history dates back to 1916, when the first event occurred in Argentina. Uruguay won the inaugural edition. Since then, nine nations have won it. Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay are the most successful teams in the tournament. This article lists renowned Copa America's top scorers and assists providers.

Copa America's top scorers all time

Argentine star Lionel Messi is widely considered the greatest footballer of all time. He is also among the leading Copa America top scorers now and of all time. Messi's trailing another Argentine legend, Norberto Méndez, who is the Copa America top scorer as of 2022.





Norberto Méndez Zizinho

Argentina Brazil


Severino Varela Teodoro Fernández

Uruguay Peru


Eduardo Vargas Paolo Guerrero

Chile Peru


Gabriel Batistuta José Manuel Moreno Jairzinho Héctor Scarone Lionel Messi

Argentina Argentina Brazil Uruguay Argentina

Copa America's top scorers' list consists of players who have retired from the sport. Most played in the 20th century and have retired from the sport. Eduardo Vargas, Paolo Guerrero, and Lionel Messi are the only active players on the list as of 2023. Legendary Brazilian forward Ronaldo bagged ten goals in 13 matches during his career.

South America's top scorers all time

Here is a breakdown of Copa America's most prolific goal scorers, including their Copa titles and games played in the tournament as of February 2022.

11. Lionel Messi

Copa America top scorer as of 2022
Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after winning the Conmebol 2021 Copa America at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 10 July 2021. Photo: Carl De Souza
Source: Getty Images

Messi joins Norberto Méndez, Gabriel Batistuta, and José Manuel Moreno as Argentina's Copa America's top scorers of all time. He also lifted the World Cup (2022) and an Olympic Gold Medal (2008).

  • Goals: 13
  • Matches: 34
  • Copa titles: 1 (2021)

10. Héctor Scarone

The Uruguayan is one of the most decorated players, having won four Copa America titles, two Olympic Gold medals (1924, 1928) and a World Cup (1930). Hector played for Nacional and later coached Real Madrid.

  • Goals: 13
  • Matches: 17
  • Copa titles: 4 (1917, 1923, 1924, 1926)

9. Jairzinho

Copa America top scorers by year
Brazil's Jairzinho, one of the stars of the victorious Brazil team of the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico. Photo: Popperfoto
Source: Getty Images

Jair Ventura Filho formed a great partnership with Zizinho and Ademir during the 1940s and 1950s. He was one of the stars in the 1950 World Cup after winning the Copa America in 1949, where he also finished as the best scorer. Jairzinho also won the 1970 World Cup.

  • Goals: 13
  • Matches: 18
  • Copa titles: 1 (1949)

8. José Manuel Moreno

The Argentine legend played in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Columbia. As a result, he became the first footballer ever to win league titles in four different countries. Jose was the top scorer of the 1942 edition and won the tournament's best player in 1947.

  • Goals: 13
  • Matches: 16
  • Copa titles: 3 (1941, 1942, 1947)

7. Gabriel Batistuta

South America top scorers all time
Gabriel Batistuta of Argentina celebrates after scoring in the World Cup group H game against Japan at the Stade Municipal in Toulouse, France. Argentina won 1-0. Photo: Stu Forster
Source: Getty Images

Batistuta ranks among the best strikers of his generation. He won the 1991 Copa America golden boot and joint top scorer in 1995.

  • Goals: 13
  • Matches: 16
  • Copa titles: 2 (1991, 1993)

6. Paolo Guerrero

The Peru international is quite unpopular to fans globally, but he has scored incredible goals for his country in the continental showpiece. His 14 goals for Peru in Copa America rank him fifth in the tournament's all-time scorers.

  • Goals: 14
  • Matches: 25
  • Copa titles: 0

5. Eduardo Vargas

Copa America top scorers and assist
Chile's Eduardo Vargas (7) with Golden Boot trophy during the presentation ceremony after beating Argentina in Copa final at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, on 26 June 2016. photo: Simon Bruty
Source: Getty Images

The two-times Copa America winner has also found the net 14 times for his country Chile. Vargas is one of the most talented strikers of his generation.

  • Goals: 14
  • Matches: 23
  • Copa titles: 2 (2015, 2016)

4. Teodoro Fernández

Teodoro scored numerous goals in his career, including 15 in Copa America. The Peru international scored 15 times in the tournament and won it once. He also won the golden boot in the 1939 edition with seven goals.

  • Goals: 15
  • Matches: 24
  • Copa titles: 1 (1939)

3. Severino Varela

Legendary Uruguayan striker Severino Varela is the joint third-highest scorer in Copa America with 15 goals. He bagged five in the 1937, 1939, and 1942 tournaments.

  • Goals: 15
  • Matches: 15
  • Copa titles: 1 (1942)

2. Zizinho

Copa America's top scorers all time
Brazil captain Zizinho (right) exchanges pennants with the Ecuador captain before their game on 21 March 1957. Zizinho is Copa America's top scorer all time. Photo: Popperfoto
Source: Getty Images

The iconic Brazilian midfielder was a prolific goal scorer who scored more goals than the top strikers of his generation. Zizinho won one Copa America title and the World Cup golden ball in 1950. He scored 30 goals in 53 games for the national team.

  • Goals: 17
  • Matches: 33
  • Copa titles: 1 (1949)

1. Norberto Méndez

Norberto Méndez is a former Racing & Huracan star and the joint all-time highest scorer of Copa America. He helped Argentina clinch three consecutive Copa titles and won the golden boot in 1945. Norberto scored 19 goals in 31 games for Argentina.

  • Goals: 17
  • Matches: 17
  • Copa titles: 3 (1945, 1946, 1947)

Copa America's top assists all-time

Lionel Messi tops the list of Copa America top assists of all time. The Argentine has recorded 17 assists in the 34 matches he has played. Carlos Tevez follows him with six assists in 19 games, and Angel di Maria with six in 20 matches.






Lionel Messi




Carlos Tevez Angel di Maria Juan Arango Alexis Sanchez

Argentina Argentina Venezuela Chile

19 20 22 22


Charles Aranguiz Paolo Guerrero

Chile Peru

20 26


Dani Alves




Arturo Vidal Roberto Carlos

Chile Brazil

21 21

Copa America top scorer list by country

Argentina is the most prosperous nation in the tournament and the highest team scorer, with 474 goals. They have played 202 matches in 43 editions out of 47. Brazil is second with 430 goals in 191 games.













































Copa America top scorers by year - Highest scorers

Humberto Maschio, Javier Ambrois, and Jair are the top scorers in a single competition with nine goals. Maschio and Ambrois tied with nine in 1957, while Jair won the golden boot with nine in 1949. Here is a list of those who scored over five goals in an edition.


Player (s)




Humberto Maschio, Javier Ambrois Jair

1957 1949

Peru Brazil


Nicolás Falero Rodolfo Micheli Pele

1947 1955 1959

Ecuador Chile Argentina


Raúl Toro Julio Teodoro Fernández Herminio Masantonio, José Manuel Moreno José María Medina Francisco Molina Adriano

1937 1939 1942 1946 1953 2004

Argentina Peru Uruguay Argentina Peru Peru


Manuel Seoane Norberto Méndez, Heleno de Freitas José Sanfilippo Carlos Alberto Raffo Bebeto Gabriel Batistuta Luis Hernández Robinho Eduardo Vargas

1925 1945 1959 1963 1989 1991 1997 2007 2016

Argentina Chile Ecuador Bolivia Brazil Chile Bolivia Venezuela USA


Aurelio González Juan Marvezzi Luis Artime Rivaldo, Ronaldo Paolo Guerrero

1929 1941 1967 1999 2011

Argentina Chile Uruguay Paraguay Argentina

Over the years, the Copa America top scorers have scored a few goals because of the physicality of South American football. Lionel Messi was the joint-highest scorer of the latest edition in 2021, alongside Luis Díaz of Colombia, with four goals. Therefore, getting even three goals in the tournament is an outstanding achievement.

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