One of the South American players with more history in the CONMEBOL Copa America is the Ecuadorian Alex Aguinaga who occupies the first place in the list of footballers with more participations in what is the oldest tournament of selections in the world.
Debut in Argentina 1987
The legendary 10 of the Ecuadorian tricolor played in 8 editions of the tournament and in three different decades. His debut match at the CONMEBOL Copa América was in the 1987 edition of Argentina, on July 4 during the same year. Ecuador faced Peru in the Monumental stadium of Buenos Aires, in the second game of ‘La Tri’ in the championship. The duel ended with a draw and Aguinaga was replaced at minute 69 by Galo Vásquez. Ecuador, eliminated in the first phase.
Talent, control and precision
Even without having the physical power compared with other players, Aguinaga developed his way to play with talent, precision and ability in order to manage the times and space within the field. Thus, he performed his debut at age 16 with Deportivo Quito, where he played for 6 seasons before becoming a player of the Mexican Necaxa, which he arrived in 1989; He was there for 14 years.
A short step by Cruz Azul (Mexico) in 2003, before returning to Ecuador in 2004 to finish his sports career as a player of the Liga de Quito in 2005. In clubs, he played 707 games and scored 132 goals.
In eight Copa America, six goals … And one World Cup
Of their eight participations in the CONMEBOL Copa América between 1987 and 2004, Alex Aguinaga and Ecuador had the best participation in 1993, year in which they hosted the tournament and finished in fourth place. In all the previous ones, had ended in the first phase.
In the edition of 1993, the Ecuadorian 10 played six games, scored 2 goals and led the tricolor to fourth place in the competition. Something they had never achieved. In total, 29 games and 4 goals was the result of the Aguinaga performance in CONMEBOL Copa América.
In addition, between CONMEBOL Copa América in 2001 and 2004, Aguinaga led the Ecuadorian team that qualified for the first time to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which was played in Japan and Korea. Aguinaga played all three matches of the first phase but did not score goals. The first Ecuadorian experience in the World Cup ended in the first round, but with the help of Aguinaga, they made history.
Alex Aguinaga and the Uruguayan Angel Romano are the two players with the most participation in CONMEBOL Copa América. The Uruguayan striker also played in eight editions of the tournament, between 1916 and 1926, was a goalscorer of the 1920 edition and three times champion in the South American Football Tournament.