The undisputed kings of South American football have been hogging the headlines in combustible fashion throughout the now completed Copa America group stages.
Crashing his Ferrari under the influence of the demon drink hasn’t been enough to stop Arturo Vidal leading a Chile cruise into the knockout rounds with three goals.
Meanwhile, Neymar was proving himself virtually the single-handed saviour of Brazil’s illustrious reputation before his contra-Columbian belligerence saw him suspended from the competition.
Besides the aforementioned lightning conductors, the quieter brilliance of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero has navigated favourites Argentina through a treacherous Group B in less tempestuous fashion.
However, it hasn’t only been the established elite who have shone, with our three selections announcing themselves to the wider footballing world in no uncertain terms.
Charles Aranguiz, 26 – Internacional and Chile (above left)
Linked with Arsenal after a promising World Cup in the La Roja middle band last summer, Aranguiz was full of praise about his potential suitors at the time.
He has once again proved an excellent foil for the buccaneering Arturo Vidal, looking a complete midfielder in the process.
Aranguiz is averaging a tournament-high three key-passes per game so far, yet also finding the time to average 2.3 tackles an outing and he’s bagged twice for good measure.
Derlis Gonzalez, 21 – Basel and Paraguay
Liverpool will know a thing or two about Gonzalez, who featured against them home and away in the Champions League last term, a campaign in which he notched three times at Europe’s highest level.
His half-time introduction against the Argentines played a big part in the fight back from 2-0 down to share the spoils, belying his incisive quality.
He averages a tournament top-ten 2.3 key passes an outing despite a total mean of just 17.3 distributions (no other player on that shortlist made less than 35 an outing).
Jeison Murillo, 23 – Internazionale and Colombia
Shrewdly acquired by the Nerazzurri from the Pozzo family-owned Granada earlier this summer, Watford’s loss will undoubtedly be the Italians’ stone-cold coup.
The young centre-half has been a bright spot in an otherwise underwhelming campaign for the Cafeteros so far, scoring the winner against Brazil and producing the kind of commanding performances that earmark him as destined for the top.
An average of 4.7 interceptions an outing vouches for his heightened game-reading ability, as has the accomplished way in which he covers for his marauding nearest full-back Pablo Armero.