Messi, Ronaldo Nazario and 6 Copa America top scorers in history

Messi, Ronaldo Nazario and 6 Copa America top scorers in history

Isaac Darko
February 25, 2024 at 10:05 PM

Since its inception in 1916, the Copa America tournament has witnessed remarkable talent.

Formerly titled the South American Football Championship until 1975, it holds the distinction of being the oldest ongoing continental football competition and ranks as the third most watched globally.

Sports Brief examines the top scorers in the historic South American tournament.

1. Zizinho & Norberto Mendez, Brazil/Argentina (Goals Scored - 17)

The top position is shared by two exceptional players. Firstly, Zizinho of Brazil secured the Copa America title in 1949, their third overall. The striker netted five goals in the tournament and, alongside Jair, who scored an impressive nine goals, formed a formidable partnership.

Norberto Méndez, alongside Zizinho, leads the list with 17 goals in the Copa America. The Argentine midfielder represented his country only 33 times, but it was a remarkably successful period, winning three Copa America titles. Across his 33 appearances, Méndez scored 19 goals for Argentina.

2. Lolo Fernandez, Peru (Goals Scored - 15)

Teodoro "Lolo" Fernández claimed victory in the Copa America of 1939, where he not only emerged as the tournament's best player but also secured the title of top goalscorer, netting an impressive seven goals.

In the tournament's early stages, it followed a league format where each team faced one another once. At that time, two points were granted for a win and one for a draw. Peru emerged as table toppers with eight points, having won all four of their matches in the competition.

3. Eduardo Vargas, Chile (Goals Scored - 14)

Eduardo Vargas clinched back-to-back Copa America titles with Chile in 2015 and 2016. Finishing as the top scorer in both tournaments, the forward played a pivotal role in Chile's triumphs. In 2015, Vargas concluded the Copa America with four goals, sharing the top scorer spot with Peru's Paolo Guerrero. His goals played a crucial role in securing Chile's maiden Copa America title.

A year later, Vargas rejoiced in lifting the trophy once more, marking Chile's second Copa America triumph. The striker netted six goals, propelling Chile to the final where they clinched victory over Argentina with a 4-2 win on penalties. Notably, Vargas scored four of his eight goals in the quarter-finals against Mexico, contributing significantly to Chile's commanding 7-0 vict

4. Lionel Messi, Argentina (Goals Scored - 13)

Messi shares the record for all-time appearances in the competition with Chile's Sergio Livingstone, both having appeared 34 times for their respective countries.

Messi's triumph in the 2021 Copa America marked his sixth appearance in the competition, placing him just five goals shy of becoming the all-time leading scorer.

With the 2024 tournament potentially his final opportunity, it would come as no surprise if Messi breaks the record. In the 2021 tournament, Messi finished as joint-top scorer with Colombia's Luis Diaz, netting four goals.

5. Roberto Porta, Uruguay (Goals Scored - 12)

Roberto Porta's five goals in the 1942 Copa America played a crucial role in Uruguay's journey to the final, where they secured a 1-0 victory over Argentina, claiming their eighth tournament victory.

Porta, who made 34 appearances for Uruguay, scoring 14 goals, had previously played one match for Italy in 1935. He was also part of the Italian side that won the Central European International Cup before debuting with Uruguay in 1937.

With a total of 14 goals, the striker ranks 13th among Uruguay's all-time leading goalscorers. Porta assumed the role of manager for the Uruguay team before the 1974 World Cup.

However, it was not a memorable campaign, as his side failed to advance beyond the group stages of the competition. This managerial stint marked Porta's first and final tenure in the role.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)