The calendar year of 2021 is almost at an end, with the year seeing a number of top performances from players across the world. South America as a continent has given some of the greatest players in the history of the sport and it is no different at the current point of time.
Here, we take a look at the five best South American footballers in 2021.
1. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain/Argentina)
Lionel Messi might not have had the best of starts to life in Paris this season, but there is no doubt that he has had a brilliant year on the pitch as he finally led Argentina to his first major international honour and also win his seventh Ballon d'Or award.
The 34-year-old enjoyed a prolific second half of the campaign for Barcelona and while he is yet to recapture the same form for Paris Saint-Germain, his numbers speak for themselves, with the striker establishing himself as arguably the best player in the history of the sport.
2. Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa/Argentina)
Emiliano Martinez had the best year of his career in 2021 as he cemented himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League thanks to his performances for Aston Villa, while also playing a major role in guiding Argentina to their first Copa America title since 1993.
Martinez was named the best goalkeeper at the 2021 Copa America and was identified by Messi as one of the best shot stoppers in the world.
3. Juan Cuadrado (Juventus/Colombia)
Juan Cuadrado was moved to the right-back position and despite being unfamiliar in the role, he impressed immediately registering 10 assists for Juventus in the Serie A while also the UEFA Champions League's top assist provider with six assists in only six matches throughout the tournament.
Cuadrado was also impressive for Colombia leading them to the semi-final of the 2021 Copa America, only for them to be eliminated in penalty shootouts by the eventual champions Argentina.
He played in six games throughout the competition, scoring one goal and providing one assist.
4. Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid/Uruguay)
Luis Suarez made a mockery of Barcelona who sold him to Atletico Madrid by helping his new club win the 2020/21 La Liga title, with the striker scoring 21 goals and providing three assists in 32 league games.
Suarez was said to be too old by the Barcelona management, but he showed them that class is always permanent by ending as Atletico's highest goalscorer while also maintaining his standing as the Uruguay's greatest ever player.
5. Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid/Argentina)
The calendar year of 2021 has been the best of Rodrigo De Paul's career as he played a key role in Argentina's 2021 Copa America title win and was one of the best players in the 2020/21 Serie A season.
The central midfielder has been successful both in his defensive duties as well as the attacking ones. He scored nine goals and provided nine assists in his 36 appearances for the Italian side in the 2020/21 campaign.