• News

Argentina’s 2021 Copa América Winning XI – A Surprising Fact About Each Player

Lionel Messi at Argentina
"FIFA World Cup 2022 - Final - Argentina 3:3 (4:2 p) France - Lusail Stadium, Lusail - December 18, 2022" by footpicshd is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

Argentina is heading into the 2024 Copa América as defending champions and favorites.

As we look forward to the tournament, let’s take a trip down memory lane to the 2021 Copa América and get to know the champions a little better. Here is one interesting fact you might not know about each player from Argentina’s 2021 Copa América-winning XI.

1. Emiliano Martinez – The Origin of “Dibu”

The nickname “Dibu” is short for “Dibujo,” an animated character in a popular Argentinian telenovela. It was former Argentina keeper Miguel Ángel Santoro who gave him this nickname. Martinez has embraced this moniker throughout his career.

In 2023, Gonzalo Montiel was charged with sexual abuse, an alleged incident that took place during his birthday party in January 2019. Montiel denies involvement, claiming he left the scene and returned to find the alleged victim distressed. The case is still ongoing.

3. Cristian Romero – Fraud Case Subject

Cristian Romero is under scrutiny in a fraud case involving his transfer from Genoa to Juventus in 2019 and subsequent loans and transfers. Italian authorities suspect Juventus of falsifying transfer valuations to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

4. Nicolás Otamendi – Former Boxer

Before becoming a professional footballer, Nicolás Otamendi was a boxer. His tough demeanor on the pitch reflects his early boxing training, contributing to his reputation as a formidable defender.

5. Marcos Acuña – Victim of an Attack

In 2018, Marcos Acuña was one of the victims of an attack on Sporting CP’s training ground by about 50 supporters of the club. He and several teammates and coaches were injured during this violent incident.

6. Rodrigo De Paul – Eligible for Italy

Rodrigo De Paul could have played for the Italy national team due to his Italian heritage. His mother is of Italian descent, and De Paul holds Italian citizenship. He chose to play for Argentina and has achieved significant success with the national team.

7. Leandro Paredes – Paraguayan Descent

Leandro Paredes is of Paraguayan descent and speaks fluent Paraguayan Guarani. His cousin, Franco Paredes, also plays professional football, showcasing the family’s deep footballing roots.

8. Giovani Lo Celso – Italian Heritage

Giovani Lo Celso has Italian heritage, similar to several of his teammates. He has a brother, Francesco Lo Celso, who also plays professional football, indicating that football talent runs in the family.

9. Ángel Di María – Offshore Accounts Scandal

Ángel Di María was implicated in the Pandora Papers, revealing that he used an offshore company named Sunpex to exploit his image rights. This was part of a scheme to avoid paying high taxes in Europe, with his company based in Panama.

10. Lautaro Martinez – Almost a Basketball Player

Lautaro Martinez was close to becoming a basketball player before choosing football. Although he stands at 5’9″, which is relatively short for a basketball player, he has a deep love for the sport and often prefers watching basketball games over football matches.

11. Lionel Messi – Tax Fraud Conviction

In 2016, Lionel Messi and his father were found guilty of tax fraud, resulting in hefty fines and suspended prison sentences. Despite his legendary football status, Messi had to appear in court to face the judge. Additionally, Messi has finished second in the Puskás Award three times but has never won it.