The men’s Olympic football tournament is not like the World Cup, which every four years brings together in its promoters the best and most admired athletes in the number one sport on the planet.
But while it was restricted to amateurs there in the past and currently with an age limit of 23/24 (with three exceptions per team), the IOC competition has also seen talent displays from top football stars.
The “Blog de Rafael Reis” presents less than seven great names in the history of sport who have shone on the Olympic lawns.
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Long before he won the 2021 Copa America, his first title with the senior team, the record holder for the best player in the world had already led Argentina to an Olympic gold medal. The six-time FIFA election champion was the football champion at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Messi scored two goals and distributed three assists in Argentina’s campaign that ended with his country’s 1-0 victory over Nigeria (Di Maria’s goal, also a continental champion he won this month ). Success in the Olympics, combined with the good football shown in the Barcelona jersey, led Messi to second place in the ace of the planet election that year.
Ferenc Buscus (Hon)
Hungary shares the title of greatest champion in Olympic football history with the United Kingdom. And of course the greatest player of all time is one of those responsible for this feat. Puskas, the Real Madrid star who was named FIFA’s Most Beautiful Goal of the Year, was one of the champions of Hungary’s first out of three achievements, at the 1952 Helsinki Games. “Major Galopante” scored four goals during the competition. One of them paved the way for a 2-0 win over Yugoslavia. Puskas could have fought for the dual Olympics in Melbourne in 1956, but Hungary gave up traveling to Australia to compete in the tournament.
In the 1980s, when he had not yet left Vasco to be successful in Europe, “Bixinho” made his name in Olympic history. Romario couldn’t lead Brazil to their first gold medal, but he was football’s top scorer at the 1988 Seoul Games. Thanks to the seven goals he scored for what would be the future quadruple champion, the team faced five opponents (Australia, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Argentina and West Germany) until they defeated him. The Soviet Union in the final. However, the striker made his mark in the 2-1 defeat.
Hector Scaron (Euro)
The leading player in Uruguay’s first World Cup title in 1930, the former striker for Nacional, Barcelona and Inter Milan was also key to Uruguay’s two gold medals in the 1920s (Paris 1924 and Amsterdam-1928), which earned the team the nickname Celeste Olimpica. “. Scaroni scored eight goals in the two campaigns and to this day is part of the top 10 goalscorers in football tournament history.
The main Brazilian player in recent years, the star of Paris Saint-Germain, lived his greatest moments with the national team shirt at the Olympic Games. Neymar was the No. 10 shirt, the captain and technical reference for the team that won the Rio 2016 games, in the crowded Maracana, against the same Germany that they beat 7-1, winning the only title that Brazil missed, the gold. Olympic. And this is not the only medal in the striker’s curriculum. Four years ago, Neymar had already won the silver medal in London in 2012.
Pep Guardiola (Spain)
The famous Manchester City coach didn’t win anything with the Spanish senior team, but he lived the greatest moment in his country’s football in the 1990s. In Barcelona 1992, the defensive midfielder was one of the greatest names of “Furia” who took advantage of the house factor to win his first Olympic gold is yours. Guardiola became an icon of this team not only because of the football he played, but also for being a Catalan player who played for the biggest team in the city, Barcelona. Nearly 30 years later, the Spanish title remains the latest European achievement in the men’s Olympic football tournament.
Romario’s striker companion in the tetra campaign, Bebeto is the only Brazilian to have scored more Olympic nets than Neymar and “Baixinho”. Bahian scored twice in the 1988 Seoul Silver Medal campaign, and as one of those called up in 23 years, the 1996 Atlanta Artillery partner with Hernan Crespo. In the United States, Bebeto scored six more goals and took another medal, bronze. Like Scaroni, he appeared in tenth place in the rating of the greatest scorers in the history of the Olympic Games.