Ahead of Copa America 2024, we identify the players who’ve scored the most goals during a single edition of the tournament.

Most Goals at a Single Copa America by a Player

9 Goals – Humberto Maschio (Argentina, 1957), Javier Ambrois (Uruguay, 1957), Jair (Brazil, 1949)
8 Goals – Pelé (Brazil, 1959 (1)), Nicolás Falero (Uruguay, 1947), Rodolfo Micheli (Argentina, 1955), Evaristo (Brazil, 1957), Antonio Valentin Angelillo (Argentina, 1957), Francisco Molina (Chile, 1953).

9 Goals

Humberto Maschio (Argentina) – 9 goals in 1957

Humberto Maschio tied a CONMEBOL Copa America record by scoring nine goals in the 1957 tournament, which he won while playing all six matches with champions Argentina. Los Carasucias, the nickname of that youthful Albiceleste squad, netted 25 goals in the championship, averaging 4.2 per game.

“El Bocha” Maschio scored a hat-trick in Argentina’s opening 8-2 win against Colombia. He then netted twice against each of Uruguay (4-0 win) and Chile (6-2 win), reserving his final goal for the 3-0 triumph over Brazil. That win remains the joint-heaviest victory in the Argentina-Brazil rivalry in the history of this continental competition.

Maschio would later play one match in the FIFA World Cup. Oddly enough, it was not for Argentina but for Italy, whom he represented in 1962.

Javier Ambrois (Uruguay) – 9 goals in 1957

Just like Maschio, Uruguay’s Javier Ambrois scored a record nine goals in six matches in the 1957 Copa America tournament. However, unlike the champions, his side scored just 15 goals, with Ambrois netting 60% of them.

He scored two hat-tricks, netting four goals in a 5-2 win over Ecuador and another four in a 5-3 victory against Peru. To this day, he remains the only player to score 4+ goals in two matches at the Copa America. His final goal came in a 3-2 triumph over Brazil.

Ambrois had previously played in his only FIFA World Cup, appearing in four matches with Uruguay in the 1954 tournament, scoring once in a 4-2 win against England in the quarter-final.

Jair (Brazil) – 9 goals in 1949

Jair Rosa Pinto was the first player to score nine goals in a single Copa America tournament, netting them all in just seven matches with champions Brazil in 1949. In doing so, he broke the previous record of eight set by Uruguay’s Nicolás Falero in 1947.

Brazil plundered 46 goals that year, the highest tally of any side in a single edition of the tournament.

In the league stage, “Jajá” netted once against Bolivia and twice against Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay. In Brazil’s 7-0 triumph over Paraguay in the final, he scored a brace, ending his country’s 27-year drought without a trophy.

8 Goals

Pelé (Brazil) – 8 goals in 1959 (1)

Fresh off the back of his first of three World Cup trophies, Pelé participated in his only Copa America in the first of the two editions held in 1959. He was the tournament’s top scorer, netting eight goals in six matches as Brazil went unbeaten with four wins and two draws. However, hosts Argentina were champions after an extra victory saw them top the table by just one point.

“O Rei” averaged 1.33 goals per match in his Copa America career, a tally only bettered by two players among players to have made five or more appearances (Humberto Maschio 1.5; Herminio Masantonio 1.38).

Pelé scored in five of the six matches, including a hat-trick in a 4-1 triumph over Paraguay, a brace in a 3-0 win against Chile, and Brazil’s only goal in the 1-1 draw in their final match versus Argentina.

Also on 8 goals:

  • Nicolás Falero (Uruguay, 1947)
  • Rodolfo Micheli (Argentina, 1955)
  • Evaristo (Brazil, 1957)
  • Antonio Valentin Angelillo (Argentina, 1957)
  • Francisco Molina (Chile, 1953)

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