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The Last Dance: About 40% of the Peruvian National Team would be playing their last Copa América in the United States

The Last Dance: About 40% of the Peruvian National Team would be playing their last Copa América in the United States

The Last Dance: About 40% of the Peruvian National Team would be playing their last Copa América in the United States

The 2024 Copa América finds the Peruvian National Team immersed in a moment of uncertainty and doubts. The team led by Jorge Fossati failed to convince in the last friendlies, which has generated a lot of skepticism about the performance that the bicolor team could have in the United States. Although the focus is on the debut against Chile, it is inevitable to think about what could happen in the next most important national team championship in America. DT of El Comercio has identified that 39% of outfield players in the current Peruvian squad will probably not be available in the next edition, excluding goalkeepers, mainly due to age.

Taking as a reference that the average retirement age of a footballer ranges between 36 and 37 years, a projection was made on the age that the current bicolor teams will have towards mid-2028, the date predicted for the next Copa América, even without defined headquarters. It was found that nine players would arrive with ages ranging between 36 and 44 years, which would practically leave them out of said tournament.

As expected, Paolo Guerrero leads the list at 44 years old, followed by Aldo Corzo at 39 years old. Then, the group is completed by Carlos Zambrano, Gianluca Lapadula and Luis Advíncula, who would be 38 years old and would also be ruled out. A little further back comes André Carrillo at 37 years old, and Christian Cueva, Alexander Callens and Anderson Santamaría close, who would be 36 years old for the next continental event.

In the best scenario, considering optimal physical performance throughout their careers and no injuries, the only one who could reach the next edition of the Copa América is Alexander Callens. However, it is likely that he will not be an undisputed starter, although he could contribute to the team from a less leading role, depending on his physical condition at that time.

NameCurrent ageAge at the Copa América 2028
Paolo Guerrero40 years44 years
Aldo Corzo35 years39 years
Carlos Zambrano34 years38 years
Gianluca Lapadula34 years38 years
Luis Advíncula34 years38 years
Andre Carrillo33 years37 years
Christian Cueva32 years36 years
Alexander Callens32 years36 years
Anderson Santamaria32 years36 years

If there is an important name to consider that has not been part of this call, it is Yoshimar Yotún, who will miss the tournament in the US due to injury. The Sporting Cristal player, at 34 years old, would arrive with 38 birthdays for the next competition. With this, we would have ten top players in that situation. Furthermore, if we look at those who were in Russia 2018, we find that 70% of that group represented the national team in that historic tournament for our football.

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Peru will suffer it down and up

Among the biggest names who will probably not be able to be in the next Copa América due to a generational issue, there are at least three players whose absence will be difficult to fill, since a suitable replacement has not yet been found in the team. We are talking about Carlos Zambrano, Paolo Guerrero and Gianluca Lapadula. All of them have had successful careers abroad and have proven to be fundamental pieces in this Peruvian team.

Particularly, the defensive zone is where we have the least generational change. Not only because Carlos Zambrano, at 34 years old, is one of the permanent central defenders in Jorge Fossati’s eleven, but because the other options, such as Anderson Santamaría and Alexander Callens, according to the projection made, would not be suitable for 2028 either.

We lack youth among the defenders, Luis Abram being the youngest of them, who turns 28 this year. Next to him is Miguel Araujo, close to turning three decades old. Both would be the standard bearers of central defenders in the future, although they have not yet achieved constant ownership. However, every time they have been called upon, they have responded to the trust of the coaches, be it Gareca, Reynoso or now Fossati.

Another area of ​​the playing field where we will suffer the most is, without a doubt, the forward line. It is almost a fact that this will be the last time we will see Paolo Guerrero in the Copa América with Peru and it is very likely that it will also be the case for Gianluca Lapadula. Unlike the defense, there are no clear backup options for the Peruvian National Team’s goal. Currently, Fossati’s option as a net center forward is José Rivera, who has shown some lights but who is just beginning his cycle with the national team at 27 years old. Afterwards, we do not have many alternatives that we can say with certainty that will replace Guerrero and Lapadula when age no longer allows them to break the nets of other teams.

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Among the options that can be sought would be forwards who are at least 30 years old, so that they reach the maximum age of 34, the age at which they could give their last great explosion. Within this exploration of players, we found four who have already gained minutes with Peru and who would fit the profile of that age: Alex Valera, Santiago Ormeño, José Rivera and Yordy Reyna.

Although their numbers make it clear that we will miss the last two important ‘9’s we have had for a long time, with only five scores in 59 games in total. Only Lapadula, with almost half of those games, reached nine scores. There could be more names, such as Matías Succar, called up for the game against El Salvador, although he has not yet played any game with the bicolor to evaluate his performance with the national colors. Just like the case of Succar, there are more players who represent hope, although less and less, of contributing goals to everyone’s team.

Alex Valera28fifteen3
Santiago Ormeño30eleven0
Jose Rivera2730
Yordy Reyna30302

Is there a replacement in Jorge Fossati’s Peru?

After the 16 teams presented their lists for the Copa América, Peru stood out as the oldest team, with an average age of 29.1 years under the direction of Jorge Fossati. This is mainly due to the selection of several players who are 30 years old or older, making a total of 12 on the list. Furthermore, the absence of footballers aged 20 or younger stands out, a significant concern given the inevitable generational change that the national team will face in the medium term.

In the list that the FPF delivered to Conmebol, it stands out that only five players are between 21 and 23 years old, including goalkeeper Diego Romero, 22 years old. The youngest is Joao Grimaldo, 21 years old, followed by Piero Quispe, 22 years old. Jesús Castillo and Oliver Sonne are 23 years old, although the latter will turn 24 this year.

Kendry Paez17 yearsEcuador
Endrick17 yearsBrazil
Andy Rojas18 yearsCosta Rica
Luc de Fougerolles18 yearsCanada
Valentin Carboni19 yearsArgentina
Kervin Andrade19 yearsVenezuela
Kaheim Dixon19 yearsJamaica
Omar Valencia20 yearsPanama
Dario Osorio20 yearsChili
Julio Encisco20 yearsUruguay
Miguel Terceros20 yearsBolivia
John Duran20 yearsColombia
Marcelo Flores20 yearsMexico

When comparing with the other 15 teams, it is evident that all, except Peru, Uruguay and the United States, have at least one U-20 player. However, Uruguay and the United States, although they do not have players under 20 years of age, have enviable average ages of 26.2 and 25.2 years, respectively. Is the gap widening even further for us? Only time will tell.

Source: Elcomercio

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