Top 10 Best And Most Famous South American Footballers Today
Top 10 Best And Most Famous South American Footballers Today

Who are the best South American players right now? It's a tricky question to answer given the quality of footballers that come out of the continent.

Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay alone have won just one fewer World Cup than the whole of Europe. Throw in the likes of Chile and Colombia, and you've got five countries that have churned out world-class players in recent years.

A few days ago, Aston Villa confirmed the signing of Phillipe Coutinho. The Brazilian is a former Liverpool player and took the league by storm in his previous spell. He will like to regain that form and take his place amongst the finest South American players to grace the competition. Furthermore, several Premier League clubs have achieved success on the back of contributions from South American players.

A number of these players have gone on to become legends of the game and their impact on the Premier League was huge. Here is a look at the top 10 South American players.

Table of Content

Who are the most famous South American footballers today?

1. Sergio Aguero

Photo: Eurosport
Photo: Eurosport

Sergio Leonel Agüero del Castillo (born 2 June 1988), also known as Kun Agüero, is an Argentine former professional footballer who played as a striker. He is considered one of the best strikers of his generation and one of the greatest players in the history of the Premier League, during his decade-long association with Manchester City. He is the club's all-time top goalscorer and holds the record for most Premier League hat-tricks, with twelve.

Agüero began his career at the Argentine Independiente where, on 5 July 2003, he became the youngest player to play in the Argentine Primera División at 15 years and 35 days, breaking the 27 year record previously set by Diego Maradona. In 2006, Agüero moved to La Liga club Atlético Madrid in a transfer worth €23 million, establishing himself as one of the world's best young players and one of the most prolific players in La Liga, winning the Don Balón, the Golden Boy, and the World Soccer Young Player of the Year. Agüero also won the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup while in Madrid.

Agüero signed for Premier League club Manchester City in 2011 in a transfer for a reported fee of £35 million. During his 10 years at the club, he won five league titles, notably scoring a last minute winner in the final league game of his debut season to win the club its first league title in 44 years. Further honours with the club include a record six EFL Cups and an FA Cup; he was also part of the club's first UEFA Champions League final. Agüero won a Premier League Golden Boot and was twice included in the PFA Team of the Year. He is the fourth all-time Premier League goalscorer and the highest non-English scorer in the competition, with 184 goals; the most Premier League goals scored by a player for any single club. In 2021, he joined Barcelona on a free transfer, before retiring from football at 33-years old due to ill-health in the same year. He played just five matches for the club, with his only goal coming in the first El Clásico of the 2021–22 season.

At international level, Agüero represented the Argentina under-20 team as they won the 2005 and 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cups. He played at the 2008 Olympics, scoring two goals in the semi-final against Brazil as Argentina won gold. Agüero is Argentina's third-highest all-time top goalscorer and has earned over 100 caps, representing the senior team at three FIFA World Cups (in 2010, 2014 and 2018) and five Copas América (in 2011, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2021), winning the Copa América in 2021.

2. Alisson Becker

Photo: Liverpool FC
Photo: Liverpool FC

Alisson Ramses Becker (born October 2, 1992) is a professional football player from Brazil who plays the position of a goalkeeper for Liverpool FC in the English Premier League as well as the Brazillian national team. Currently, the FIFA Best goalkeeper in the world, Alisson Becker’s rise to prominence in the world of sports didn’t start overnight. From the age of 10, Alisson has consistently been training to emerge as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. We take a look at Alisson Becker who is currently making waves in the English Premier League in this edition of biography facts, childhood, career, net worth and personal life.

The enthusiasm and zeal Alisson has to become the best goalkeeper in the world have led him to compete fiercely for the top goalkeeping spot in various clubs where he has played, that competitive spirit saw him defeat his elder brother, also a goalkeeper for the goalkeeping spot while he was at Internacional. His desire to be number one led him to tussle with retired ace Brazilian goalkeeper, Jesus Silva, popularly known as Dida for the top goalkeeping spot at Internacional. Armed with his youth, swiftness and athleticism, Alisson managed to defeat the star goalkeeper to keep the number one spot, an incredible feat for a youngster.

Alisson Becker net worth is currently estimated at $8 million USD. Yearly, he receives a salary of $2.5 million.

Alisson is a Catholic, with German descent. His father, as well as his grandmother, speaks German fluently. Alisson is trilingual, he speaks, Portuguese, English and German.

Alisson Becker got married to a Brazilian physician, Natalia Loewe in 2015. The couple has two beautiful children, Helena Becker who was born in 2017 and Matteo Becker, born in 2019.

Alisson enjoys fishing, watching tennis and playing the guitar.

3. Lionel Messi

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Lionel Messi is an Argentine former professional footballer counted amongst the best players in the world in football history. The only player in history to win five FIFA Ballons d'Or, he was also the first player to win three European Golden Shoes. During his playing career he shattered many world records and currently holds the records for most goals scored in La Liga, a La Liga season (50), a calendar year (91), a single season (73), and a Champions League match (5), among several others. Born into a football-loving family in central Argentina, he developed a passion for the sport at an early age and spent his childhood playing football with his brothers. He joined the youth team of Newell’s Old Boys as a young boy and began playing for FC Barcelona’s under-14 team when he was 13. Having made his competitive debut as a 17 year old, Messi quickly established himself as an integral player for the Barcelona club. His first big success came in the 2008–09 season, during which he helped Barcelona achieve the first treble in Spanish football. Over the ensuing years he proceeded to establish himself as Barcelona's all-time top scorer in official competitions and is also Argentina's all-time leading goalscorer with 55 goals in 112 matches. He retired in 2016 following Argentina's loss to Chile in the Copa América Centenario final. But, soon a campaign began to urge him to change his mind and Messi later on reversed his decision.

Messi established the Leo Messi Foundation, a charity supporting access to education and health care for vulnerable children in 2007. This was in response to Messi’s own medical ailments that he faced as a child. The foundation works towards providing children diagnosed with illnesses treatment in Spain funds covering the transport, hospital and recuperation costs. Most of the funds collected by the organization is through Messi’s own effort with a little aid by Herbalife.

Messi was the goodwill ambassador for UNICEF in 2010. He worked towards supporting children’s rights

In 2013, Messi donated a sum of €600,000 for the restoration of a children's hospital by the name Victor J Vilela Children's Hospital, in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina. The donated amount was basically used in restoring the oncology unit of the hospital and paying for doctors to travel to Barcelona for training.

Messi’s excellence at the field has been lauded by the world over through the numerous awards, honors and achievements that he has been bestowed with. Messi has won the prestigious Ballon d'Or five times. He has won it in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

4. Casemiro

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Carlos Henrique Casimiro (born 23 February 1992), known as Casemiro, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Brazil national team. He is often regarded to be one of the best defensive midfielders in world football.

Formed at São Paulo, where he scored 11 goals in 112 official games, Casemiro moved to Real Madrid in 2013, and also spent a season on loan at Porto. He was part of the Real Madrid squad that won four Champions League titles in five seasons, from 2014 to 2018. In total he has won fifteen major trophies at Real Madrid, including five UEFA Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey and three FIFA Club World Cup trophies.

A full international since 2011, Casemiro was in Brazil's squad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup as well as four Copa América tournaments, winning the 2019 edition.

Casemiro mainly plays as a defensive midfielder, although he has also been deployed in a box-to-box role in the centre of the pitch, or even as a centre-back on occasion. While he is not particularly talented or skilful from a technical standpoint (although he was able to improve in this area under manager Zinedine Zidane during their time at Real Madrid together), Casemiro is an intelligent, physically strong, mobile, aggressive, and hard-tackling midfielder, with an extremely high work-rate. While he is mainly known for his ability to provide balance to his teams by supporting his more offensive-minded teammates defensively, and distributing the ball to them accurately after winning back possession, he is also a well-rounded midfielder, who possesses a powerful shot from outside the penalty area, and reliable distribution, as well as an ability to get forward with his runs off the ball, or start attacks with his passing; these characteristics also enable him to contribute offensively, or even score goals, in addition to breaking up plays. Moreover, his quick reactions, as well as his excellent positional sense, ability to read the game, and good anticipation, enable him to excel in a holding midfield role in front of the defence, by cutting out counter-attacks and shielding the back-line. Often described as a "destroyer" in the media, he has drawn praise from pundits for his energetic and combative style of play, as well as his tactical awareness and abilities as a ball winner, which enable him to cover ground, track back, and press opponents. His tenacity on the pitch, exemplified by his fierce challenges and stamina, have led Marca to nickname him "The Tank." In addition to his footballing abilities, he also stands out for his competitive spirit, mentality, consistency, and determination on the pitch. Despite maintaining a good disciplinary record, he has, however, also come into criticism in the media at times over his excessively aggressive challenges on the pitch. Casemiro's playing style has drawn comparisons with that of former Real Madrid defensive midfielder Claude Makélélé, as well as compatriot Toninho Cerezo.

5. Federico Valverde

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Federico Santiago Valverde Dipetta (born 22 July 1998) is a Uruguayan professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Uruguay national team.


Valverde spent most of his youth career with Peñarol, where he quickly made an impression. Making his debut for Peñarol in their first fixture of 2015–16 season against Cerro. He became part of Uruguayan's youth teams and attracted the interest of clubs like Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Real Madrid

In July 2016 he transferred from Peñarol to Real Madrid, being assigned to the B team. Two months later, Valverde made his debut for Castilla against Real Unión, in the game which his club eventually lost. He became a regular member of the second team during his debut season. The midfielder scored his first goal for Castilla against Albacete in December 2016.

In regards to his growing importance to the team, Santiago Solari, his coach at Castilla, said on 29 January 2017, "I'm very happy with him. He has adapted very well to the club and country. Valverde always generates a lot of football in midfield."

Loan to Deportivo La Coruña

On 22 June 2017, Valverde was loaned to La Liga side Deportivo de La Coruña for one year. He made his debut in the competition on 10 September, replacing Fede Cartabia in a 2–4 home loss against Real Sociedad.

Valverde contributed with 24 league appearances during the campaign, as his side suffered relegation.

Return to Real Madrid

Upon returning from loan, Valverde impressed new manager Julen Lopetegui during the pre-season and was definitively assigned to the first-team.

6. Neymar

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (born 5 February 1992), known as Neymar, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team. He is considered a versatile player, being able to play as either a central striker, second striker, winger or occasionally as an attacking midfielder. A prolific goalscorer and renowned playmaker, he is regarded as one of the best players in the world. Neymar has scored at least 100 goals for three different clubs, making him one of three players to achieve this.

Neymar came into prominence at Santos, where he made his professional debut aged 17. He helped the club win two successive Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil, and the 2011 Copa Libertadores; the latter being Santos' first since 1963. Neymar was twice named the South American Footballer of the Year, in 2011 and 2012, and soon relocated to Europe to join Barcelona. As part of Barcelona's attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, dubbed MSN, he won the continental treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League. He then attained a domestic double in the 2015–16 season. Motivated to be a talisman at club level, Neymar transferred to PSG in 2017 in a move worth €222 million, making him the most expensive player ever. In France, he won four league titles, among other honours, and was voted Ligue 1 Player of the Year in his debut season. Notably, he helped PSG attain a domestic quadruple in the 2019–20 season, and led the club to its first ever Champions League Final.

With 74 goals in 119 matches for Brazil since debuting at age 18, Neymar is the second highest goalscorer for his national team, trailing Pelé. At his youth stage for Brazil, he was a key player in the victory at the 2011 South American Youth Championship, where he finished as leading goalscorer, and also attained a silver medal in men's football at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The following year, he won the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, winning the Golden Ball. His participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 Copa América was cut short by injury and a suspension, respectively, before captaining Brazil to their first Olympic gold medal in men's football at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Having renounced the captaincy, he featured at the 2018 World Cup, and after missing the 2019 Copa América through injury, helped Brazil to a runner-up finish at the 2021 tournament.

Neymar finished third for the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2015 and 2017, has been awarded the FIFA Puskás Award, has been named in the FIFA FIFPro World11 twice, the UEFA Team of the Year twice, and the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season three times. Off the pitch, he ranks among the world's most prominent sportsmen. SportsPro named him the most marketable athlete in the world in 2012 and 2013, and ESPN cited him as the world's fourth-most famous athlete in 2016. In 2017, Time included him in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2018, France Football ranked Neymar the world's third highest-paid footballer. The following year, Forbes ranked him the world's third highest-paid athlete, dropping a spot to fourth in 2020.

7. Luis Diaz

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Luis Fernando Díaz Marulanda (born 13 January 1997) is a Colombian professional footballer who plays as a winger for Premier League club Liverpool and the Colombia national team.

Díaz began his professional career in the Colombian Second Division at Barranquilla, before moving to Junior, winning Categoría Primera A, one Copa Colombia and one Superliga Colombiana. In 2019, he joined Porto for a reported fee of €7 million, winning two doubles of Primeira Liga and Taça de Portugal, and one Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira. After 14 league goals in 18 league games in the first half of 2021–22, Liverpool signed him in a transfer worth €45 million (£37.5 million). He won the EFL Cup and FA Cup in his first season, and was man of the match in the latter final.

Díaz made his senior international debut for Colombia in 2018. He has earned over 30 caps for his country, helping the national team to a third place finish at the 2021 Copa América, and being awarded the Golden Boot as joint top goalscorer of the tournament alongside Argentina's Lionel Messi.

After representing Colombia at under-20 level in the 2017 South American U-20 Championship, Díaz was called up to the full squad on 27 August 2018, for friendlies against Venezuela and Argentina. He made his full international debut on 11 September, replacing Juan Cuadrado in a 0–0 draw against the latter at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Díaz scored his first international goal on 26 March 2019, equalising in a 2–1 friendly loss away to South Korea. He was part of Carlos Queiroz' 23-man squad for the 2019 Copa América in Brazil.

Díaz was included in Colombia's squad for the 2021 Copa América. On 23 June, he scored the opening goal in a 2–1 first round loss to hosts Brazil with a bicycle kick, and on 6 July he scored their goal in a semi-final draw against Argentina, which ended in an Argentine victory following a penalty shoot-out. Three days later, he scored twice, including the match-winning goal, in a 3–2 victory over Peru in the third-place match. He ended as joint top goalscorer of the tournament alongside Lionel Messi.

8. Alexis Sanchez

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Alexis Alejandro Sánchez Sánchez (born 19 December 1988), also known mononymously as Alexis, is a Chilean professional footballer who plays as a forward for Serie A club Inter Milan and the Chile national team. He is often lauded as the greatest Chilean player of all time.

Dubbed "El Niño Maravilla" (The Wonder Child), Sánchez began his senior club career playing for Cobreloa, and signed with Udinese in 2006, aged 18; he won consecutive league titles while on loan to Colo-Colo and River Plate. Sánchez was the subject of a record association football transfer when he signed for Barcelona in 2011 in a transfer worth €37.5 million, becoming the most expensive Chilean player of all time. There, Sánchez won six trophies, including a La Liga title and a Copa del Rey. He then joined Arsenal in 2014 in a transfer worth £31.7 million (€35 million), and won two FA Cups, the 2015 PFA Fans' Player of the Year, and was voted into the 2015 PFA Team of the Year. In 2018, he moved to league rivals Manchester United in a swap deal; he signed for Inter Milan a year later, and won a Serie A title.

Sánchez made his senior international debut for Chile in 2006 at age 18, and has since earned 148 caps, appearing in eight major tournaments and becoming both his country's most capped player and all-time top goalscorer. He led Chile to their first victory in a major tournament by winning the 2015 Copa América, scoring the winning penalty in the final; he captained the team to a repeat of this triumph at the Copa América Centenario, winning the Golden Ball for Best Player.

9. Edinson Cavani

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Edinson Roberto Cavani Gómez (born 14 February 1987) is a Uruguayan professional footballer who plays as a striker for the Uruguay national team. Nicknamed El Matador ('The Bullfighter'), he is widely considered one of the best strikers of his generation, being known for his intelligent movement off the ball, clinical finishing, and heading ability.

Cavani began his career playing for Danubio in Montevideo, where he played for two years, before moving to Italian side Palermo in 2007. In 2010, Cavani signed for Napoli, who signed him on an initial loan deal before buying him for a total fee of €17 million. He helped them win the Coppa Italia in 2012 and established himself as the most dominant striker in Serie A. In mid-2013, Cavani joined Paris Saint-Germain in France for a reported €64 million, at the time the most expensive signing in French football history. With PSG, Cavani won six Ligue 1 titles, five Coupes de la Ligue and four Coupes de France. He also ranks as the club's all-time top goalscorer. In 2020, Cavani signed with Manchester United.

Cavani scored on his Uruguay debut against Colombia in 2008, and has since then earned 133 caps and scored 58 international goals, only behind strike partner Luis Suárez among Uruguayan internationals. He has participated in nine major international tournaments: the FIFA World Cup in 2010, 2014 and 2018, the Copa América in 2011, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2021, and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013. Cavani scored at the 2010 World Cup to help Uruguay to fourth place in the tournament, and in 2011 was part of the Uruguay squad that won a record fifteenth Copa América title. He finished as the CONMEBOL 2018 World Cup qualification top scorer with ten goals.

During his time in Serie A, Cavani was named in the Serie A Team of the Year three times and was Serie A top scorer in the 2012–13 season. During his time in Ligue 1, he was named in the UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year three times, was awarded Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the 2016–17 season, and was the league's top scorer in the 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons. He was awarded the Golden Foot in 2018 for his achievements in football.

10. Antonio Valencia

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Luis Antonio Valencia Mosquera, known as Antonio Valencia (born 4 August 1985), is an Ecuadorian former professional footballer who played primarily as a right-sided player throughout his career, initially as a right winger, before developing into a right-back.

After progressing through the youth system at El Nacional, Valencia became a first team regular and made over 80 appearances for the club. He won the Ecuadorian Serie A with them before signing for La Liga side Villarreal in 2005. He only made two league appearances for the Spanish side in between loan spells at Recreativo for the 2005–06 season and later English Premier League club Wigan Athletic from 2006 to 2008. Wigan Athletic later signed Valencia on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee in January 2008. His performances for Wigan Athletic soon attracted attention from several high-profile clubs, eventually signing for Manchester United in June 2009. Regarded as one of Ecuador's top players in history, Valencia was voted into the PFA Team of the Year in his debut season with the club, and he went on to win two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, three FA Community Shields and the UEFA Europa League. In July 2019 Valencia returned to Ecuador, signing with LDU Quito, with whom he won the inaugural Copa Ecuador in his first season. He announced his retirement in May 2021.

Valencia made his Ecuador debut in 2004 and has represented his country at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the 2007 Copa América, the 2011 Copa América, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Copa América Centenario and the 2019 Copa América. Valencia won 99 caps and scored 11 goals for his country.

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