James Rodriguez has been unbelievable at the Copa America

Copa America Player of the Tournament Power Ranking: Blast from the past blows Messi out the water

Argentina will face Colombia in the Copa America final, which will see era-defining icon Lionel Messi come up against the tournament’s undisputed standout player.

Players from Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter Miami are among the standouts as we approach Sunday’s mouth-watering final at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Here are our final Player of the Tournament Power Rankings, ahead of the official award being announced following Sunday’s final.

10. Moise Bombito (↓2)

Copa America debutants Canada made it all the way to the semi-finals, their best-ever showing in a major tournament.

In truth, Jesse Marsch’s side didn’t do anything all that extraordinary – a 2-0 defeat to Argentina, a 1-0 victory over 10-man Peru, a o-0 draw against 10-man Chile, a penalty shootout victory over Venezuela and another 2-0 defeat to Argentina.

Still, Canada were well organised, defensively solid, and did well to twice produce competitive performances against the current world champions. Colorado Rapids centre-back Bombito was the standout in their series of solid rearguard displays.

In truth, we already have a pretty handy idea of who will claim the Player of the Tournament award, plus the serious contenders, so you can think of this 10th-place spot as an honourable mention for a player who enjoyed a fine tournament. No wonder European clubs are reportedly interested.

9. Federico Valverde (↓4)

Real Madrid star Federico Valverde, fresh from winning another Champions League, is the man who sets the tempo in Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay midfield. You’d swear he’d been developed in a lab as Bielsa’s perfect player, such is his inspired mix of energy and technical ability.

As with Bombito, we can’t see Valverde actually challenging for the award. But if it was to somehow end up in the hands of a player who didn’t quite make the final, Valverde would be a worthy recipient.

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8. Alexis Mac Allister (NEW)

The Liverpool midfielder hasn’t been Argentina’s standout player by any stretch of the imagination. But just as he did in the World Cup, Mac Allister has stepped up and produce a series of tidy, dependable performances in the middle of the park.

It’s no wonder that Sergio Aguero is already talking up the 25-year-old as one of Argentina’s future leaders once Lionel Messi retires.

7. Luis Diaz (NEW)

As with his Reds team-mate, Diaz has been nowhere near Colombia’s best player. But he’s been a menace in the final third, a key cog in a long-unbeaten nascent force that we already can’t wait to watch at the next World Cup in two years time.

He’s only scored two goals, but he remains an outsider contender for the Golden Boot. The forward looks in fine fettle right now.

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6. Lautaro Martinez (↓3)

Coming into this tournament off the back of his best season yet for Inter, winning the Cappocannoniere award for Serie A’s top scorer after firing the Nerazzurri to the title, Martinez looks in a confident mood.

He’s the frontrunner in the Golden Boot race with four goals, despite having only started one match of consequence for Argentina. After firing a blank in the quarter-final draw with Ecuador, Julian Alvarez returned to the starting line-up.

It will be interesting to see which option Lionel Scaloni goes for in the final. If Martinez does have to settle for a place on the bench, he could yet play a decisive role, having already scored big goals as a substitute in the holders’ group-stage victories over Peru and Chile.

We'd genuinely forgotten about this guy.

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5. Lisandro Martinez (NEW)

From one L. Martinez to another.

European audiences could be forgiven for thinking the Inter striker had scored after waking up, bleary-eyed, to see what had happened in Argentina’s quarter-final against Ecuador.

But no, it was the other one. The pint-sized Manchester United defender had snuck in at the far post to head home from a flicked-on corner in the hard-fought 1-1 draw.

And he’d been withdrawn for the veteran Nicolas Otamendi before Ecuador equalised late on, which means that Martinez is yet to concede in four starts and 348 minutes of Copa America football this summer. Carrying his exceptional FA Cup final standards across the Atlantic.

4. Davinson Sanchez (NEW)

Last season, the former Tottenham defender started less than half of Galatasaray’s relentless title charge as he struggled with intermittent injury issues. But he’s been an ever-present in Colombia’s run to the Copa America final, an absolute rock at the back.

Sanchez produced one of the best performances of the entire tournament in Colombia’s semi-final victory over in-form Uruguay, marshalling the backline and keeping a clean sheet as they played for almost an hour with 10 men following Daniel Munoz’s first-half pair of yellows. A heroic display that kept Bielsa’s men to relatively few chances.

3. Lionel Messi (=)

The eight-time Ballon d’Or produced a legendary string of performances as Argentina claimed the last Copa America and World Cup in Qatar, ending the captain’s eternal wait for silverware on the international stage.

He bagged goals and assists for fun in Brazil and Qatar and was undoubtedly the best player in both tournaments.

This time around things are a bit different, with evidence for the first time that his twilight years might finally be catching up with him. He’s only notched one (scruffy) goal and one assist en route to the final, in which Argentina undoubtedly benefited from landing on the favourable side of the draw.

Still, ordinary by Messi’s standards is still pretty exceptional by anyone else’s. He was named the Man of the Match in the routine 2-0 semi-final victory over Canada and remains capable of delivering the goods. We’d be daft to write him off producing something special against Colombia.

2. Emiliano Martinez (=)

Gianluigi Donnarumma was named Player of the Tournament at the last Euros, but never before has a goalkeeper won the Copa America’s Player of the Tournament award.

Aston Villa’s No.1 was named the Best Goalkeeper after his penalty heroics at the last Copa America, and that dead-eyed penalty-saving has come in handy once again as he stepped up to save two spot-kicks, sparing Messi’s blushes, in their quarter-final shootout victory over Ecuador.

Incredibly, only half of the 24 penalties that Martinez has faced in an Argentina shirt have gone in.

He’s not been bad in matches, either, conceding just one goal from five outings so far at this Copa America

1. James Rodriguez (↑3)

The Colombian has struggled over recent years as current trends in the club game have moved away from the use of a classic No.10. He’s barely even getting a game for Sao Paulo at the moment. But good God is he continuing to deliver the goods for his country.

Watch him with the ball at his feet and this could be 2014. You’re 10 years younger. Close your eyes and you can just hear ITV’s Brazil, Braziiiiil theme.

We can’t get enough of James’ stunning renaissance. By far Colombian’s best player as they’ve topped a group featuring Brazil, eliminated Uruguay and extended their current unbeaten run to 28(!) matches in all competitions.

He’s picked up Player of the Match awards in four of his five appearances, notched one goal and an all-time Copa America record six assists. Outrageous.

Barring something extraordinary in the final, James has surely already got the Player of the Tournament award in the bag. All hail the return of the king.