Copa America: Argentina's Most Important Players Including Messi, Di Maria, Ahead of Title Defence

Copa America: Argentina's Most Important Players Including Messi, Di Maria, Ahead of Title Defence

Elijah Odetokun
updated at June 20, 2024 at 7:02 AM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Ángel Di María logo
Á. D. María
Benfica logoFArgentina logo
Emiliano Martínez logo
E. Martínez
Aston Villa logoGArgentina logo
Nicolás Otamendi logo
N. Otamendi
Benfica logoDArgentina logo
Rodrigo De Paul logo
Atletico Madrid logoMArgentina logo
Argentina logo
CONMEBOL Copa America logo
CONMEBOL Copa America
  • Angel Di Maria scored the only goal as Argentina beat Brazil at the Maracana Stadium to win the 2021 Copa America
  • It was Lionel Messi’s first international trophy, having lost three Copa Americas and one FIFA World Cup finals
  • About three years later, Argentina are both continental and world champions and are set to defend their title in the US

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Champions, Argentina, will begin the defence of their Copa America title against CONCACAF country, Canada, on Friday, June 21, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

La Albiceleste won the title by beating hosts, Brazil, 1-0 at the Maracana Stadium, thanks to Angel Di Maria’s first-half goal that won Lionel Messi his first international trophy.

Angel Di Maria, Enzo Fernandez, Lionel Messi, Argentina, Ecuador, Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Angel Di Maria hands over the captain's armband to Lionel Messi after he was substituted during Argentina's 1-0 win over Ecuador at Soldier Field on June 9, 2024. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP.
Source: Getty Images

The South American champions have also become world champions, winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and also won the UEFA CONMEBOL Finalissima since then.

Sports Brief looks at the top five most important players in the squad ahead of their title defence.

Argentina’s most important players at 2024 Copa America

1. Lionel Messi

The captain undoubtedly is the team’s most important player. According to Goal, Lionel Scaloni, ahead of the squad announcement, said the Inter Miami star is the only guaranteed player alongside Angel Di Maria. Their progress will depend greatly on his performance in what could be his final international tournament.

2. Angel Di Maria

According to, the 2021 title-winning goal-scorer has confirmed he will retire from international football after this year's tournament. He has won it all with the national team alongside Messi. His performance and fitness will prove decisive for Scaloni to bank on this year.

3. Emiliano Martinez

Martinez’s second game for the national team was in the opening match of the 2021 Copa America. He has become a pivotal component to the team's success, particularly his penalty-saving skills, which came in handy in knockout games. He nearly went the whole of 2022 without conceding for Argentina before they lost 2-0 to Uruguay in November.

4. Nicolas Otamendi

A veteran defender and one of the team's leaders, the former Manchester City star is crucial to solidity in defence and pivotal to the team's mentality. At 36, even though he has yet to confirm this is the case, the 2024 Copa could be his last major tournament.

5. Rodrigo De Paul

Many fans see him as Messi’s bodyguard, but the Atletico Madrid midfielder is also a decent player. He helps do the dirty work in midfield, allowing freedom for any of his midfield partners, including Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister, at the World Cup.

Messi compares Argentina to Guardiola's Barcelona

Sports Brief previously reported on Messi comparing Argentina to Pep Guardiola's Barcelona after his national team became holders of three international trophies.

Under Guardiola between 2008 and 2012, Barca is regarded as one of the best teams ever and the Inter Miami star believes his national side are 'very close' to that.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.