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Colombia squad for 2021 Copa América: selected players absences...

Reinaldo Rueda's Colombia are in Group B of the 2021 Copa América, together with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

Colombia's Edwin Cardona (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Ecuador during the Conmebol Copa America 2021 football tournament group phase match at the Pantanal Arena in Cuiaba, Brazil, on June 13, 2021. (Photo by DOUGLAS MAGNO / AFP)

James Rodríguez is the most eye-catching absentee from Colombia’s squad for the 2021 Copa América, having been left out after it was deemed he was not sufficiently fit.

Everton midfielder James had been racing to make the tournament in Brazil after missing the last two matches of the Premier League campaign with a calf injury, an issue that plagued him throughout his first season at Goodison Park.

James "not at the optimal level", say Colombia

In a statement at the end of May, the Colombian FA said James was "not at the optimal level of competition" and confirmed that Colombia head coach Reinaldo Rueda had opted against picking the 29-year-old for the Copa América, or for the World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Argentina earlier in June.

Player says he was fit for Copa América

James has disputed this explanation, insisting he is in good physical shape and accusing Rueda of a lack of respect. "I was fit to play,” he said on social media. “This is a managerial decision, and I accept it, but I don't agree with it because they disrespected me."

He added: “Another thing is for him [Rueda] to tell me, I don't like you as a player, and if that's the case I close the book and leave."

Colombia originally named a 28-man squad for the Copa América, but forward Juan Ferney Otero withdrew last week after testing positive for covid-19, and has not been replaced.

Colombia are in Group B of the 2021 Copa América, alongside Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. They began their campaign on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Ecuador, Edwin Cardona scoring the winner.

Colombia's Copa América squad in full:

Goalkeepers: David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Aldair Quintana

Defenders: Stefan Medina, Óscar Murillo, Carlos Cuesta, William Tesillo, Yerry Mina, Daniel Muñoz, Davinson Sánchez, Jhon Lucumí

Midfielders: Wílmar Barrios, Gustavo Cuéllar, Edwin Cardona, Juan Cuadrado, Mateus Uribe, Yairo Moreno, Leandro Campaz, Sebastián Pérez, Baldomero Perlaza

Forwards: Duván Zapata, Luis Muriel, Luis Díaz, Rafael Santos Borré, Miguel Borja, Alfredo Morelos, Yimmi Chará


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