Footage emerges of a 19-year-old Ronaldo playing for Brazil at the 1996 Olympics

The 1996 Olympic football tournament was probably one of the best tournaments the sport has ever seen.

Ok, we may be exaggerating slightly but it featured a whole host of young talent that would go on to become world-class stars.

Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Diego Simeone, Roberto Ayala, Roberto Carlos, Hernan Crespo, Robert Pires, Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Nesta, Fabio Cannavaro and Raul were just some of the players that featured.

But none of them ended up lifting the trophy in America.

Instead, remarkably, it was Nwankwo Kanu and his Nigerian side that went all the way.

Kanu scored three goals during the tournament, including a 90th-minute equaliser and a 94th-minute extra-time Golden Goal winner to beat Brazil in the semi-finals.

Lining up for Brazil was O Fenomeno, who would go on to become the greatest No.9 football has ever seen.

But how good was the original Ronaldo back in 1996 when he was just 19-years-old?

Well, luckily for us, throwback footage has emerged on Twitter showing just how incredible he was back then.

Just one month later, Barcelona signed Ronaldo for $19.5 million.

He scored five goals during the tournament and the clip shows him embarrassing defenders for fun as Brazil claimed the bronze medal.

Incidentally, Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima was known as Ronaldinho – or Little Ronaldo – back then.

That was because there was another Ronaldo in Brazil’s squad, Ronaldo Guiaro of Sao Paulo. And, as the older player, he was allowed to keep his name while poor little Ronaldo had to change his.

And if you don’t believe Ronaldo was the greatest striker ever, Lionel Messi disagrees with you.

“Ronaldo was my hero. He was the best striker I’ve ever seen. He was so fast he could score from nothing and could shoot the ball better than anyone,” Messi once said.

And we’re not arguing with that.

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