Copa America 2021 has finally begun and the battle for the continent's ultimate prize is already on. This time, only the ten South American nations are taking part in the tournament, unlike previous editions in which guests from other regions were invited. However, some players who were not born in South America are taking part in this tournament.
It's no surprise to see nationalized players not featuring for their home countries nowadays, but it is unusual to see players not born on this continent representing any of these nations. In fact, there are only six of them in this Copa America and they are split between Chile, Peru, and Bolivia.
Many of these already had caps before Copa America began, while others were expecting to make their debut in this competition. Here, take a look at the six players who were not born in South America and are playing in Copa America 2021.
Gianluca Lapadula (Peru - Italy)
Born in Torino to an Italian father and a Peruvian mother, the 31-year-old has played almost his entire career in Italian soccer except for a short loan spell in Slovenian club ND Gorica. Gianluca Lapadula has played for the likes of AC Milan and Parma, after making his first steps with Juventus youth teams.
During his last season at Benevento, he got his Peruvian citizenship and was called up for the November international window. Ricardo Gareca named Lapadula again for the last Conmebol World Cup Qualifiers double-fixture before selecting him for the current Copa America 2021.
Jaume Cuéllar (Bolivia - Spain)
Born to Bolivian parents in Granollers, Spain, Jaume Cuéllar belonged to Barcelona's academy before joining SPAL in Italy. The 19-year-old played mostly in SPAL Primavera, the club's youth team, until he made his Serie A debut on July 22, 2020, against AS Roma.
Bolivia manager César Farías called up Cuéllar for the recent South American World Cup Qualifiers 2022 Matchday 7 and 8 games and the Copa America 2021 as well. He made his debut in La Verde's defeat at the hands of Paraguay, where he saw the red card early in the second half.
Ben Brereton (Chile - England)
Ben Brereton's selection by Martín Lasarte came as a shock as the British striker, who has played for Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers so far, used to be part of England's U19s in the past few years. Born to a Chilean mother and an English father, he was eligible for La Roja and the new coach seized it.
Lasarte first called up the 22-year-old striker for the World Cup Qualfying double-fixture and then confirmed him for the Copa America 2021, where he made his international senior debut in Chile's 1-1 draw with Argentina.
Santiago Ormeño (Peru - Mexico)
The 27-year-old striker, who is set to join Club León in July after performing well with Puebla last season, has been called up by Peru after Gerardo Martino didn't consider him for the Mexican national team. Santiago Ormeño expects to make his debut with La Blanquirroja in Copa America 2021.
His grandfather, Walter Ormeño, was born in Peru and even featured for the national team during the '40s. The striker has played his entire professional career in Mexico but has declined any possibility of wearing La Tricolor's colors by accepting Ricardo Gareca's call.
Erwin Sánchez (Bolivia - Portugal)
Son of former Bolivia international Erwin Sánchez, who was nicknamed 'Platini' in honor of the great French superstar, he was born in Portugal while his father was playing for Boavista. However, Sánchez stuck to his Bolivian roots.
The midfielder was called up to La Verde's senior team for the first time in November 2015 for the World Cup Qualifiers but he had to wait a few more years to make his debut, which came on November 2020 against Paraguay. He already saw Copa America 2021 action in the 3-1 defeat against La Albirroja.
Adrián Jusino (Bolivia - United States)
Adrián Jusino was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, but his family's heritage is deeply rooted in him as he was even grew up in Bolivia. The center back has featured for several local clubs such as Always Ready, Petrolero, Unión Maestranza, and Bolívar, and has also appeared for American teams Ventura County Fusion and Roughnecks FC. Jusino, who currently plays for Greek club AE Larissas, has already appeared in Copa America 2019 with Bolivia and has amassed 12 caps with the national team so far.