Piero Hincapie is flourishing in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen. - © Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty
Piero Hincapie is flourishing in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen. - © Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty

Piero Hincapie: Who is the Bayer Leverkusen and Ecuador defender?


Bayer Leverkusen's Piero Hincapie is widely regarded as one of the most promising defenders in football. bundesliga.com profiles the Ecuadorian youngster...

Data correct as of 24 August 2023

Piero Hincapie

Age: 21 (born: 9 January 2002)
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Position: Centre-back/ left-back
Country: Ecuador (27 caps, one goal)

Key stats

Hincapie made the switch to Leverkusen at the age of 19, after impressing for Ecuador at the 2021 Copa America. Handed his senior international debut in the group opener against Colombia, the 6'0" defender started all five games as his country reached the quarter-finals, where they lost 3-0 to eventual winners Argentina. He had already made 33 competitive appearances for Argentinian club Talleres when he signed a five-year deal with Leverkusen, for whom he debuted and scored his first goal in the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League groups.

His maiden international strike followed in a 1-0 2022 World Cup qualifying win over Venezuela - three points that ultimately proved the difference between his country's automatic passage to the finals and a place in the play-offs - and he ended the year with a first Bundesliga goal, against Greuther Fürth, to his name.

Hincapie wrapped up his debut Bundesliga season with 27 appearances under his belt, along with a tackle success rate of 85 percent and 82 percent pass completion. He went to the 2022 World Cup with Ecuador and lasted the duration of all three of his countries games as they exited at the group stage. A 2020 U20 Copa Copa Libertadores winner with boyhood club Independiente del Valle, the Leverkusen No.3 has since played 14 times in UEFA club competition. He flits between centre- and left-back in Die Werkself colours, but has won all his senior international caps to date at the heart of the Ecuador defence. On 12 February 2023, Hincapie extended his Leverkusen contract by an additional year to the summer of 2027. Once again, he was hovering around the 80 percent mark for challenges won and pass completion at the end of 2022/23.

Plays a bit like: Lucas Hernandez

Tenacious, comfortable with the ball at his feet, versatile and left-footed: Hincapie has a lot in common with ex-Bayern Munich counterpart Lucas Hernandez. Statistically - at least for slide tackles, aerial challenges and passes to a man in 2022/23 - he's even ahead of the France 2018 World Cup-winning defender.

Watch: Skip to 00:51 seconds to see Piero Hincapie's first Bundesliga goal

Did you know?

Hincapie says his brother has compared him to Argentina's Cristian Romero, but the man himself modelled his game on legendary Spain centre-back pair Carles Puyol and Sergio Ramos.

"On Fridays, when we travelled by bus for seven or eight hours to play for Independiente del Valle, I watched a lot of videos of Puyol and Sergio Ramos," Hincapie - who left home at 10 to pursue his dream of one day playing football professionally - told Scouted Football.

"I watched the videos so I wouldn't get bored on the bus, and that's when I realised that I really liked Puyol. He had a special way of playing, perhaps less technical than Ramos, but he was a leader and captain. One of the best centre-backs I've ever seen."

What they're saying

"We knew he had the potential, but the way he's rising to the challenge and coping with the intensity levels is really impressive. We're pleasantly surprised with how he's performing in the Bundesliga and Europe." - former Leverkusen head coach Gerardo Seoane

"Piero’s signing 18 months ago was an investment in the future, back then he was a talented central defender with really big potential. He became a key performer for our Werkself a long time ago, he has shown his international quality in the Bundesliga, in the Champions League and recently at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Piero is one of the key elements in the team who we can count on to help us achieve ambitious targets in the next few years." - Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes after tying Hincapie down to a new deal