Uruguay’s Standout Players at CONMEBOL Copa América 2024™

Discover the standout players of the Uruguayan National Team during their CONMEBOL Copa América 2024™ campaign.

July 10, 2024
CONMEBOL Copa América™
  • De La Cruz, Ugarte, Araujo and Rochet have been some of the highlights of Uruguayan’s electric campaign at CONMEBOL Copa América™.

  • Uruguay faces Colombia on July 10th for the last spot in the Final of CONMEBOL Copa América 2024™.

Marcelo Bielsa made his return to CONMEBOL Copa América™ 20 years after his last appearance at the 2004 edition where he led his native Argentina to the final. Two decades later, and he has Uruguay at the doorstep of the final against non-other than La Albiceleste.

The neighboring countries are tied at the top of the trophy count in the competition with 15 titles each, and Bielsa and his team have a chance to reach the final and claim that record outright.

This Uruguayan team has shown incredible grit and explosive attacking prowess so far. Throughout the competition they’ve scored nine goals which lead the tournament in the Group Stage, while also only conceding one goal, which is tied with Argentina as the best defensive record. Bielsa-Ball is often thought to be a tactic of increasing your attacking output at the expense of your defensive security (all while running nonstop) but this year’s Uruguay has shown something different. There’s no lack of star power, that’s for sure. Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde, FC Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo and Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez are headliners for a squad filled with talent who’ve each had an excellent tournament so far.

Then there’s also Nicolas de la Cruz, who’s been nicknamed Nicolas de la Cruyff, after his brilliant ability with the ball, akin to the Dutch great Johan Cruyff. There’s Manuel Ugarte who sits at the heart of La Celeste’s defense. Sitting next to Valverde, Urgate has been a defensive monster in the midfield, sweeping up loose balls and making hard tackles allowing Valverde to get further forward without worry. Maximiliano Araujo hit one of the goals of the tournament in the first match against Panama, and Sergio Rochet in goal has been key to helping the Uruguayans have the tied best defensive record in the tournament.

Learn more about how some of Uruguay’s standout players have performed at CONMEBOL Copa América 2024:

Nicolás de la Cruz


The “De La Cruyff” nickname is no joke. Those who’ve watched Uruguayan this tournament have likely been impressed by the attacking midfield who’s been orchestrating La Celeste’s brilliant attack. De La Cruz is second in the competition with key passes (14), tied with James Rodriguez and only behind Lionel Messi. Two other great names to be associated with. In addition to his passing ability, he also continuously shows a willingness to get stuck in and track back on defense, a must for a Bielsa midfielder. The CR Flamengo man has two assists so far and is a key reason his country is a match away from the final.

Manuel Ugarte


Paris Saint-Germain midfielder is tied for the third most tackles in the tournament (21) and tied for fifth in interceptions (6). The work he does on the defensive output next to his midfield partner Federico Valverde, also an incredible defender, has opened the offensive possibilities for the Real Madrid man, knowing Ugarte will be there to cover. Still only 23 years old, the midfielder from Montevideo has already made a name for himself at PSG and is now showing how crucial he is to Bielsa’s Uruguay side.

Maximiliano Araújo


Araujo has scored two goals and recorded one assist so far this tournament and is having a breakthrough tournament with the national team. Araujo only made his senior debut in 2023 and has just 12 national team caps under his belt. At this tournament however, he started four games for Bielsa’s side. You could argue his goal he scored against Panama, Uruguay’s first of the tournament, set the tone for the rest of their campaign so far. From the top left of the box, the CD Toluca winger struck the ball powerfully and with finesse and it flew into the back of the net. Considered one of the goals of the tournament, Araujo’s name is one to remember when Uruguay plays Colombia in the Semifinal.

Sergio Rochet


The biggest match of the tournament for Uruguay went to penalties. Facing Brazil in the Quarterfinals, nothing could separate the two CONMEBOL teams in regular time. Even going a man down, Uruguay’s stout defense refused to allow a goal, while goalkeeper Sergio Rochet had to make three saves. He’d come up big again in the penalty shootout, where he’d save Eder Militao’s penalty shot to give Uruguay the early advantage they’d never surrender. The Internacional shot-stopper keeps stepping up in big moments for Uruguay, and is a massive reason they’re tied for the best defensive record in the competition so far.

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