Gabriel and Martinelli are at the Copa America – Can you name the other 8 Arsenal players that took part?

Being English, naturally this summer my focus is more on the Euros then Copa America. Plus, we only have two Gunners who are taking part in the US.

For any Gooners outside of Europe though, so you don’t feel left out, I thought we could celebrate the 48th edition of CONMEBOL’S biggest prize by acknowledging the 8 Arsenal players who have taken part in the tournament.

Nelson Vivas (Argentina)– 1999 / 2001

The Argentinian had already played at two Copa America’s before moving to North London.

On the bench for 40 of his 69 games he played in England, it’s fair to say the right back never settled into the physical demands of the Premiership.

He is best remembered in the 1999 title run for switching off at the back post and allowing Hasselbaink to head home a winner essentially costing us being Champions.

It was the first time the public saw Mr Wenger lose his temper and a rare moment where he directly blamed one player for a mistake.

He went to two further Copa America’s as a Gunner but didn’t come off the bench in either.

Has been assistant to ex-teammate Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid since 2018.

Edu (Brazil) – 2004

The midfielder had to wait till he was 26 to be capped by Brazil (at which point he was considering representing England).  The 2004 Copa America was the biggest international stage he would play on.

Our Sporting Director started every game as the Brazilians won Copa America, including converting his spot kick in the Final shoot out with Argentina.

A serious injury meant that his whole career for his nation only lasted a year. In that time though he won two trophies (also the Confederations Cup).

Before his current job, he was assisting his country as their general coordinator.

Gilberto Silva (Brazil) – 2007

Having only recently transitioned from a CB into a DM, many first took notice of Gilberto Silva at the 2002 World Cup.

In a team of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, Silva stood out in Japan/South Korea for doing the less glamorous jobs. Mostly winning possession back and giving the ball to the attackers. It convinced Mr Wenger to invest over 4 million in him.

By the time of the 2007 Copa America, he was now an Invincible and now developing into a leader during the transition from Highbury to the Emirates.

His nation recognised those qualities, asking him to captain his country to their 8th title. Although he did miss the final due to suspension.

An official ambassador for both Arsenal and FIFA.

Baptista (Brazil) – 2007

Was part of a loan deal with Real Madrid where essentially the striker would swap homes with Reyes for a season.

Was never first choice in his only campaign in England, but will always be remembered for his 4 goals at Anfield in the League Cup.

Highlight of his international career (and maybe in general) was not just winning Copa America but scoring in the Final.

Since 2019 has been part of Valladolid’s set up, currently managing their B team In Spain’s 4th division.

Alexis Sanchez (Chile)- 2015/2016

Perhaps no Gunner has more a storied history with the Copa America more than Alexis Sanchez?

Due to the tournaments centurion year the competition was held in consecutive years.

Chile would win both (the first on home soil), winning both Finals on penalties against Argentina. Sanchez was awarded the Golden Ball for the US edition.

They remain the only honours Chile have ever won, making the 35-year-old a national celebrity.

He’s in America now playing at this year’s event.

Ospina (Colombia) – 2015- 2016

Like Sanchez the keeper played in back-to-back tournaments as a Gunner.

In total the 35-year-old is competing at his 5th Copa America having in the process becoming the nations most capped player

Next season is returning to his first ever club in Colombia.

Joel Campbell (Costa Rica) 2016

By the time Joel Campbell made his Prem debut he had been loaned out 5 times to various parts of Europe.

It meant some Gooners didn’t get to see the attacker outside of international football. In particular the 2014 World Cup.

He’s one of the rare players more successful with his nation than his club.

While he’s competing at his second Copa America in the US, at just 31 he’s played for 13 different clubs.

Lucas Torreira (Uruguay) 2019

You could argue when Torreira made his Copa America debut it was the best version of him we have ever seen.

In the year previous he had been impressive at the World Cup and had a solid debut campaign in North London.

Then though, a player already struggling to adapt to a new culture, lost his mum during COVID.

His dad famously pleaded with Arsenal to reduce their asking price so his son could return home to South America.

The midfielder has since played in Spain, back in Italy and now Turkey so not exactly back home?

The 28-year-old has not played for his country for a couple of years now.

Dan


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