Messi, at the Camp Nou, with the Gold Medal he won in the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB

FC Barcelona has had 24 representatives at the Olympic football tournament over the years. Josep Samitier, Agustí Sancho, Félix Sesúmaga and Ricard Zamora set the ball rolling in 1920, and since then the club has been represented at ten editions, those of 1920, 1924, 1968, 1976, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008.

From Samitier silver to Messi gold

Between 1920 and 2008, there have been highs and lows. Samitier, Sancho, Sesúmaga and Zamora were the first medal winners in 1920, when they got silver, but it would not be until 1988 that FCB had another finalist, in the form of Aloisio Pires with Brazil. But the most memorable occasion was that of the Barcelona 92 Games, when there were three FC Barcelona stars (Josep Guardiola, Albert Ferrer and Antoni Pinilla) in the side that beat Poland to win gold at the Camp Nou.

Four years later, in 1996, Ronaldo won bronze in Atlanta with Brazil and at Sydney 2000, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernández and Gabriel Garcia brought home silver.

Two more for Argentina

The last two Olympic Games, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, have had a major FCB presence in conjunction with Argentina. In 2004, Javier Saviola won gold when his country beat Paraguay in the final (1-0). Four years later, at Beijing 2008, Leo Messi and Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0 in the final to ensure back-to-back successes. That side also featured a future FC Barcelona man in Javier Mascherano.

Potential 27

The tally could rise as high as 24 next month if the presence of Tello, Montoya and Jordi Alba is confirmed in the Spain team that will be announced on July 21.

Thiago Alcántara, however, will not be going to the UK as he has not recovered in time from his tibia injury, and neither will Dani Alves, who Mano Menezes has not included in his Brazilian selection. The three players aged over 23 picked in his squad were finally Marcelo, Hulk and Thiago Silva.

Barça's Olympians

Ricard Zamora - Antwerp 1920
Josep Samitier – Antwerp 1920
Félix Sesúmaga – Antwerp 1920
Agustí Sancho – Antwerp 1920

Vicenç Piera – Paris 1924
Josep Samitier – Paris 1924
Domènec Carulla – Paris 1924

Pere Valentí Mora – Mexico City 1968
Ramon Alfonseda – Mexico City 1968

José Vicente Sánchez – Montreal 1976
Miquel Mir – Montreal 1976
Antonio Olmo – Montreal 1976

Aloisio Pires – Seoul 1988

Albert Ferrer - Barcelona 1992
Josep Guardiola – Barcelona 1992
Antoni Pinilla – Barcelona 1992

Óscar García – Atlanta 1996
Iván de la Peña – Atlanta 1996
Ronaldo Nazario – Atlanta 1996

Carles Puyol – Sydney 2000
Xavi Hernández – Sydney 2000
Gabriel García “Gabri” – Sydney 2000
Gbenga Samuel Okunowo – Sydney 2000

Javier Saviola – Athens 2004

Leo Messi – Beijing 2008

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