Messi, Neymar to Pep Guardiola – Notable players who have won Olympic gold medal

Several young players who have played in the Olympics went on to become superstars in the past…

Football in the Olympics is not played at a senior professional level as teams are allowed to field U23 players thus making it a youth competition. Only three players over the age of 23 are allowed in the squad.

The U23 rule has been in place since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. A primary reason why the football competition was converted into a U23 affair so that to avoid competition with the World Cup which is the biggest tournament in football.

Several top players have played in the Olympics in the early part of their careers. Players like Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Samuel Eto’o represented their countries and have even won gold medals. Eto’o had won the Olympic gold medal in 2000 with Cameroon. He later went on to become one of the greatest African strikers of all time and one of the best players to have donned the FC Barcelona shirt.

Samuel Eto

Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria were an integral part of the Argentina squad which the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Current Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola and Spain national team coach Luis Enrique are also Olympic gold medal winners with Spain at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

In the last Olympics, Brazil along with their star player Neymar won their maiden gold medal. Here, we take a look at some of the players who won an Olympic gold medal and later went on to become superstars.

Which notable football players have won an Olympic gold medal?

Player Country Year
Luis Enrique Spain 1992
Pep Guardiola Spain 1992
Nwankwo Kanu Nigeria 1996
Samuel Eto’o Cameroon 2000
Roberto Ayala Argentina 2004
Javier Mascherano Argentina 2004
Carlos Tevez Argentina 2004
Pablo Zabaleta Argentina 2008
Juan Roman Riquelme Argentina 2008
Angel Di Maria Argentina 2008
Javier Mascherano Argentina 2008
Lionel Messi Argentina 2008
Sergio Aguero Argentina 2008
Gabrie Jesus Brazil 2016
Neymar Brazil 2016
Marquinhos Brazil 2016


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