Roque Santa Cruz, here, challenging for a header. Angelic.

7 players from Copa America 2011 we can’t believe are still playing in 2024

Copa America 2011 was held in Argentina, but the hosts went out in the first knockout round (the quarter-finals) to eventual winners Uruguay. That prime Suarez/Cavani link-up was just too good.

That was 13 years ago now, so many of the ballers from that tournament are retired in 2024. However, there are some names from those squad lists who are still cutting about a football pitch, and those names have got our nostalgia glands working double time.

Let’s kick things off with a man who was 29 years of age back in 2011, making him a cool 42 in 2024.

Roque Santa Cruz

Can’t believe Santa Cruz is still playing football. Man was playing for Bayern Munich in the 1990s. Please relax, Roque. Get the studs off, put the slippers on.

The Paraguayan played an awful lot of games for his country, learned English from man-of-the-world Owen Hargreaves, and was once voted Sexiest Man at the 2006 World Cup by kicker magazine.

He’s now playing an insane amount of games back in Paraguay with Club Libertad. What a man.

Ever Banega

Banega could do it all. He could be a deep-lying midfielder, a centre-mid, a ’10’, whatever you like. Box-to-box box office, mate. Trash a hotel room, break his ankle with his own car, sex-tape scandal, allegedly turn up drunk to training — you name it. 

How Ever Banega still has the energy to be playing for Newell’s Old Boys in 2024, we’ll never know. To be fair, the Argentinian is only 35, but we’d be knackered if we lived his life.

Odds on him getting a recall for the Albiceleste this summer…?

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Salomon Rondon

Big up the low-socked target man from Venezuela, the King of Caracas, the big bad b*stard of of Brum. Rondon was a fan favourite at Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle, and his country’s all-time top scorer.

Rondon managed one goal at Copa America 2011, in a 3-3 draw with Paraguay. The 34-year-old is now smashing goals in for fun at Pachuca, in the Mexican Liga MX.


A real throwback, this one. Ganso. Like a sound we heard in a past life, ringing a bell of familiarity at us from another eon. Ganso. Ganso. Ganso. 

His name means ‘goose’ in Portuguese. So that’s good, isn’t it?

The Brazilian midfielder and ex-Sevillain is back in Brazil with Fluminense. Won his second Copa Libertadores last year. Fair play, gooseman.

Lucas Barrios

Paraguayan forward Barrios is now with his 19th different club, having played over 100 games for just one of his former teams. The team? Borussia Dortmund.

Barrios’s only goal of Copa America 2011 also came in that 3-3 draw between Paraguay and Venezuela. He’s with Sportivo Trinidense in 2024, back home in Paraguay.

Brazil's Neymar celebrates scoring his side's 5th goal against Bolivia during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup 2026 at Mangueirao stadium in Belem, Brazil, Friday, Sept. 8, 2023.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the all-time top scorer for every South American nation?

Joel Campbell

Ex-Arsenal wonderkid Campbell is still knocking in the goals for Costa Rica to this day. That’s perhaps not surprising considering he’s 31, despite having played football since roughly 1896, in our collective consciousness.

Costa Rica’s fourth-highest appearance maker of all-time managed to find the net once at Copa America 2011, in a 2-0 win over Bolivia. He’s at Alajuelense, now, back in his home country.

Tomas Rincon

Ex-Torino, Juventus, Genoa, and Hamburger midfielder Rincon won the Adidas Best Player of the 2011 Copa America award at the tournament in the States.

An extremely underrated balled, holding midfields together for almost two decades, with a Scudetto and a Coppa Italia to his name, we’re starting the campaign to get some respect put on Rincon’s name.

The Venezuelan is now turning out for Santos in Brazil, and doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.