We run through the all-time Copa America top scorers and outline those forwards’ most impressive tournament statistics and goal records.

Copa America All-Time Top Scorers

17 – Norberto Méndez (Argentina), Zizinho (Brazil)
15 – Severino Varela (Uruguay), Teodoro Fernández (Peru)
14 – Paolo Guerrero (Peru), Eduardo Vargas (Chile)
13 – Lionel Messi (Argentina), Ademir (Brazil), Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), Jair (Brazil), José Manuel Moreno (Argentina), Héctor Scarone (Uruguay)

= 1. Norberto Méndez (Argentina) – 17 goals

Born in 1923 in Pompeya, one of the many neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires, Norberto “Tucho” Méndez is not only the joint-record goalscorer in the history of the CONMEBOL Copa America but also a three-time winner.

His first appearance in the tournament came in 1945, where Méndez netted six of Argentina’s goals, including a hat-trick against Brazil. Just one year later, he added five more goals to his tally, with the Albiceleste successfully defending their trophy.

Six more goals came in 1947, his personal best total in a single tournament, as he helped Argentina to another triumph, including two goals apiece against Uruguay and Bolivia.

During those golden years of three Copa America wins in as many years, Méndez shared the pitch with some of the most recognizable names in Argentine football: Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ángel Labruna, Adolfo Pedernera and “El Charro” Moreno. His 17 Copa America goals put him right up there in the pantheon of Argentinian greats.

= 1. Zizinho (Brazil) – 17 goals

Thomaz Soares da Silva – who has also made the second-most appearances in Copa America history – jointly holds the record of being the competition’s top goalscorer.

Most commonly known as Zizinho, the attacking midfielder was not only Pele’s idol growing up but also a six-time participant in the Copa America, lifting the trophy in 1949.

His debut tournament came in 1942 when Brazil finished third. Zizinho grabbed two goals in that edition, and repeated that feat the following year in Chile where Brazil were losing finalists.

It was in 1946 – where Brazil again finished second – and in 1949 – when they won it – that Zizinho truly made his mark, netting five times in each of those editions.

= 2. Severino Varela (Uruguay) – 15 goals

Severino Varela, also known as “The Phantom Beret”, took part in only three editions of the Copa América but managed to reach at least the semi-final in every single one.

After making his debut for the Uruguayan River Plate, he moved to Peñarol, and his performances there put him on the map for the national team.

In 1937 he made his debut for La Celeste in the continental tournament, scoring five times. He then replicated this feat in his two subsequent appearances; the first in 1939, where Uruguay reached the final and lost to Peru, and in 1942, where they were triumphant.

Varela scored two hat-tricks in the Copa América, with both coming against the same opposition in Ecuador (1939 and 1942).

After winning the tournament, he moved to Boca Juniors, where he played for a few years before returning to Peñarol in Uruguay, before eventually retiring in Sud América.

= 2. Teodoro Fernández (Peru) – 15 goals

Tied in second place, we find one of the legends of Peruvian football: Teodoro Fernández. He spent his entire career donning the colours of Universitario, whom he represented from 1930 to 1953, but Teodoro Fernández was also instrumental in one of Peru’s two Copa America triumphs, inspiring them to victory in 1939.

After scoring just one goal for La Albirroja in his debut tournament in 1935, and two in 1937, it was in 1939 that he etched his name in history. Scoring seven goals on the way to Peru lifting the trophy as host nation saw him named the Player of the Tournament.

Three more goals in 1941 and two in 1942 saw Fernández reached his tally of 15 goals.

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