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Messi once again highlights Golden Boot contenders at Copa America


While the top nations in North and South America will be trying to take the Copa America title from defending champion Argentina, the best goal scorers in the two regions will be battling to wrest the Golden Boot from their captain Lionel Messi.

Messi scored four goals at the 2021 tournament in Brazil, tying him with Colombia’s Luis Díaz for the tournament lead. He was awarded the Golden Boot on a tiebreaker due to also contributing five assists to Argentina’s title-winning effort.

There were 65 total goals scored in the most recent competition, up from the 60 that were fired home in 2019 when Brazil’s Everton and Peru’s Paolo Guerrero paced the field with three each.

With top players from both CONMEBOL and CONCACAF involved, it will be a very competitive race for the crown of tournament top scorer.

Here are some Golden Boot threats at the 2024 Copa America:


Lionel Messi Argentina

Despite winning the Golden Boot in 2021, Messi’s most prolific Copa America scoring performance actually took place in 2016 when the tournament was last contested in the United States.

The 36-year-old scored five goals at the Copa América Centenario, one less than Chile’s Eduardo Vargas.

Messi found the net seven times at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, including twice in the final, finishing one goal behind France striker Kylian Mbappé for the top goal-scoring prize.

The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner led La Liga in scoring seven times as a member of Barcelona, before making a move to Inter Miami in Major League Soccer last July.

His scoring touch has not slowed down on this side of the Atlantic. He found the net 12 times in his first 12 games with Miami this season after helping lead them to the Leagues Cup title last year.


Vinicius Junior Brazil

The 23-year-old completed another prolific and successful season at the club level ahead of the Copa America.

Vinicius Junior scored 15 times for Real Madrid as they captured the La Liga title by 10 points over Barcelona.

He also scored in the Champions League final as Real Madrid captured the continental club title for a record 15th time.

The São Gonçalo, Brazil native is now the youngest player to score in two Champions League finals.

Vinicius will be appearing in his second Copa America and with Neymar out of the tournament with a knee injury, he will be counted on to power Brazil’s offence.


Darwin Nunez Uruguay

The 24-year-old had a strong, but inconsistent season for Liverpool, his second year in the Premier League.

Nunez scored 17 goals in all competitions on Merseyside in the recently completed campaign, though he struggled towards the end of the season.

He has been in form for his national team with five goals in the six qualifying games they have played for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Most recently the Artigas, Uruguay native completed a hat trick in a pre-Copa friendly against Mexico.

Uruguay struggled at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Nunez did not help that cause as he was held scoreless as they went out in the group stage.

More will be expected of them in the United States and Nunez will be one of the key cogs to their offence.


Argentina World Cup

The 24-year-old scored 11 goals and added nine assists for Manchester City as they captured their fourth consecutive Premier League title, the second since he joined the team.

He also found the net five times in seven Champions League games as City went out at the quarter-final stage.

Alvarez scored four times at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, including twice in the semifinals against Croatia, as Argentina stormed to the title.

While he has found himself behind Messi on the national team and Erling Haaland with City, Alvarez has consistently proven to have a nose for net when the opportunity arrives.


Jhon Cordoba Colombia

The 31-year-old reached double digits in goals in the Russian Premier League for the second season in a row with Krasnodar.

Cordoba fired home 15 goals in 27 games this season after potting 14 in 23 matches in the previous campaign.

He also proved his scoring prowess in Germany, netting 20 goals for FC Cologne in 2018-19, helping them return to the top division and then followed that up with 13 markers against the best teams in the Bundesliga.

Cordoba scored his first goal for the national team in a friendly against Romania in March.


Christian Pulisic USA

The 25-year-old leads all active members of the U.S. men’s national team in career goals with 28 in 66 appearances.

He scored the decisive marker in the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Iran at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, their only victory of the tournament.

The Easton, Penn., native appeared in eight games for the US in 2023 and scored six times, including a highlight-reel marker in an October friendly against Germany.

At AC Milan this past season, Pulisic scored 15 times in 50 games, including 12 in La Liga, two in Europa League and one in Champions League.

If the Americans get deep in the tournament, their captain could be the driving force behind any scoring success.


Jonathan David Canada

The 24-year-old is No. 2 on Canada’s all-time scoring list in men’s soccer with 26 goals in 48 appearances.

David has two international hat tricks, in 2019 at the Gold Cup against Cuba and in 2021 in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Suriname.

At the club level, David has continually proven to be an elite scorer in Europe, reaching double digits every season since debuting with Gent in the Belgian first division.

The Ottawa product scored 19 goals this past season for Lille in Ligue 1, finishing behind only Kylian Mbappé on the scoring list.

He scored a career-high 24 goals to finish third in France the previous season.