Celtic-linked Piero Hincapie named in Stat Perform's Copa America Team of the Tournament

By David Walton

July 12, 2021

Reported Celtic target Piero Hincapie has been named in Stat Perform’s Opta-driven Copa America Team of the Tournament.

The Scottish Sun reported at the end of June that Celtic had been keeping their eye on Ecuador centre-back Hincapie. It was claimed that he would only cost the club around £3.5m.

Since then, Hincapie’s club Talleres have stated that they’re in talks with a team from Italy [El Desmarque]. But as of yet, there’s been no confirmation of a move.

Instead, Hincapie has been focusing on thriving for his country at Copa America. The centre-back played a key role in shutting out the likes of Richarlison and Roberto Firmino in a 1-1 draw with Brazil en route to the quarter-finals, where eventual winners Argentina knocked them out.

And after impressive displays against Venezuela, Peru, and Brazil respectively, Hincapie has been named in Stat Perform’s Team of the Tournament alongside Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos [AS].

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Piero Hincapie shines at Copa America; Celtic won’t be alone after exploits

If it was going to be difficult to sign Hincapie before, things won’t get much easier now. Not with him having played such a key role in Ecuador’s quarter-final push.

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Interestingly, AS reports that he carried the ball over 600m up the field throughout the entire tournament. 44m more than any other centre-back involved in the competition. You can’t help but think of Kris Ajer’s ability to roam out from defence and create space for the attacking players. Hincapie, it appears, has no issue doing this himself.

He also managed the most passes per game on average for Ecuador at 52.2 [AS]. At only 19 years of age, Ange Postecoglou would surely admire the player’s ball-playing skills.

Photo by DOUGLAS MAGNO/AFP via Getty Images

His only real sour note at this year’s tournament came in that quarter-final tie with Argentina. Hincapie was sent off late on in added time for hauling back Angel di Maria, with Lionel Messi rattling home the free-kick to make it 3-0.

But he’s made a massive impression this year. With Celtic seemingly not closing in on any particular centre-back, you would hope our interest in Hincapie remains alive.

If it is, this isn’t one we should be stalling on. The Ecuadorian will be snapped up before we know it.

In other news: THE Celtic support is starting to get behind Vasilis Barkas again