None of the lads on this list were born when these photos were taken.

The 4 players at Copa America 2024 born after Lionel Messi made his Argentina debut

According to FIFA, there are 128,694 male professional footballers in the world. FIFA recognises 211 nations that have a national football team.

If we say that each national team has an average 25-man squad, this means that international footballers make up just 0.04% of male professional footballers.

That doesn’t take into account that plenty of lesser-decorated footballing nations have national teams full of amateurs or semi-pros. The point is that the vast majority of footballers would be absolutely thrilled to make it to their national team and represent their nation.

Messi has represented Argentina over 180 times, and he’ll be captaining them at the Copa America very soon.

In fact, Messi has been playing international football for so long that there are four players going to this year’s Copa America who literally weren’t born when Messi made his senior international debut on 17th August 2005 (a 2-1 victory over Hungary).

Let’s take a closer look at the four kids no doubt making Leo Messi feel truly ancient in the USA this summer.

Luc de Fougerolles

The London-born defender has many senior appearances for the Canadian national team as he does for his club, Fulham. The number is 1 (one). His only Fulham appearance came in a 3-1 League Cup win over Ipswich in November 2o23. He made his Canada debut as a sub against Trinidad & Tobago in a Copa America qualifier.

100% senior record, baby!

De Fougerolles’ dad is from Montreal, and the 18-year-old chose to represent the country of his father’s birth at international level. This could be his chance to burst onto the scene.

Andy Rojas

Rojas was born four months after Messi’s Argentina debut. The Costa Rican 18-year-old has made one senior appearance for his national side to date, and scored one senior goal. We got ourselves another 100% record.

The teenage winger plays his club football with Herediano (nicknamed El Team…) in his native Costa Rica, where he’s been a first-team regular since his 2022 debut. The new Joel Campbell, perhaps?

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This shirt-tucking, collar-popping son of a gun is the future. Already bagged three goals in six games for the Selecao, and Real Madrid awaits.

We don’t want to curse the 17-year-old prodigy but we’ve been rarely been more confident of someone hitting the ground running after a big move.

Endrick is stocky and strong, with frighteningly good feet and a proper eye for goal. If the teenager can become half the player that other prodigal stocky sons have become i.e. Ronaldo Nazario and Wayne Rooney, he’ll be doing just fine.

Copa 2024 is Endrick’s Copa—believe it.

Kendry Paez

Chelsea tied up a contract for Ecuador’s most promising talent in decades over a year ago. He’ll join the blues when he turns 18, which isn’t until next May.

Paez is a midfielder with silky feet, and he’s not frightened to make things happen with those feet.

You’d imagine he’ll be eased into the Chelsea set-up, with plenty of senior players in his position (Cole Palmer, for one), but if Paez can make in impact at the Copa America—who knows?

Maybe he’ll be fast-tracked straight into the first team.