Where are they now? ESPN’s 8 youngsters to watch from Copa America 2016

Back in 2016, ESPN named eight youngsters to watch at Copa America and we’ve checked out where those players are today, eight years later.

Copa America is a great stage for South American players to make a name for themselves and this year is no different with the likes of Savio and Endrick making an impact at the tournament.

For the purposes of this article, we’ve turned the clocks back to 2016 and have checked out where the rising stars from Copa America 2016 are today.

Ismael Diaz

The Panama winger was just 19 years old when Copa America 2016 rolled around and was on loan with Porto B at the time.

After spending two years on loan in Portugal, Diaz has since had stints in Spain, Uruguay and Panama. Although these days you’ll catch him playing for Universidad Catolica in Ecuador.

He’s still part of Panama’s squad today, although has been an unused substitute in Panama’s opening two games of Copa America.

Duckens Nazon

The French-born striker represents Haiti on the international stage and since making his debut for them in 2014, he’s put away 30 goals in 60 appearances. That’s not too shabby.

Nazon spent a couple of years playing in England where he represented the likes of Wolves, Coventry and Oldham and now aged 30, plays for Turkish side Kayserispor.

Hirving Lozano

Now we’re talking. Lozano made his senior debut for Mexico in 2016 and garnered a huge reputation for himself while playing for Pachuca in his native country.

After being linked with several European juggernauts, he eventually made the switch to Europe in 2017 and signed with PSV. In 2019 he made the switch to Napoli before eventually returning to PSV last summer.

The 28-year-old was surprisingly snubbed from Mexico’s Copa America squad this year – a decision that has ultimately backfired as Mexico failed to progress from their group.

Ronald Matarrita

The Costa Rican full-back has spent the majority of his career playing in MLS for the likes of New York City and FC Cincinnati.

In 2023, he made the switch to Europe for the first time and now plays for Greek outfit Aris. However, since joining the Super League side last year, he’s only made five senior appearances.

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TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every team to win the Copa America?

Jose Gimenez

Still playing for Atletico Madrid today, Gimenez has racked up over 300 appearances for the Spanish giants since joining them in 2013.

He’s still a prominent part of the Uruguay setup today, although he isn’t a guaranteed starter under Marcelo Bielsa who tends to prefer Ronald Araujo and Mathias Olivera as his centre-half duo.

Adalberto Penaranda

The Venezuelan forward became the youngest-ever foreign player to score a brace in La Liga back in 2015, beating the record which had previously been held by Lionel Messi.

Penaranda spent six years on the books at Watford, but we’d forgive you for not remembering him as he only made four senior appearances for the club during that time.

After spending the bulk of his career out on loan, Penaranda has since settled down at Sarajevo who play in the Bosnian Premier League.


Sure, his legs might have gone during his final days at Liverpool, but there can be no denying that Fabinho lived up to the hype.

Once regarded as arguably the best holding midfielder in world football, the Brazilian has won virtually everything on offer at club level.

Now aged 30, he’s playing out his Twilight years in Saudi Arabia for Al-Ittihad and is earning a handsome chunk of change in the process.

Fabinho of Liverpool at full time during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every Liverpool player sold for a fee by Jurgen Klopp?

Antonio Sanabria

Sanabria had quite the footballing education growing up as he spent time in the Barcelona and Roma academies as a youngster.

He made his proper breakthrough at senior level at Real Betis where the forward bagged 23 goals in 84 appearances for the club. Now aged 28, the Paraguay forward is a household name in Italy where he’s spent the last four years playing for Torino.