'It is one of my most important titles' - Ex-Argentina star D'Alessandro still treasures Olympic gold
The former River, Internacional Portsmouth and Wolfsburg star helped the Albiceleste to their first-ever football gold medal at Athens 2004
Olympic Games winner Andres D'Alessandro still fondly remembers winning gold with Argentina at Athens 2004, labelling the experience "one of the most important" of his trophy-laden career.
The Albiceleste ran out Olympic football winners for the first time in their history 17 years ago, beating out neighbours Paraguay to take the crown.
And D'Alessandro, still active at the age of 40 for Uruguayan giants Nacional, believes that the competition is like no other in the professional game.
What was said?
The playmaker won multiple league titles at the start of his career with River Plate, and also drove Internacional to the Copa Libertadores in 2010.
However, for him, the Olympics ranks up there with the most treasured moments of his time in the game.
"It is definitely one of the most important [titles] for me, because you can't play the Olympics often," D'Alessandro, who starred alongside the likes of Carlos Tevez, Gabriel Heinze and Javier Saviola at the 2004 Games, explained to Goal .
"It was brilliant to have been at the Olympics, representing my country, spectacular, previously it was very important to bring home Argentina's first gold medal in football, it was a really proud moment, we had a great team.
"The Olympics are special because you live in that amateur spirit, in the Olympic Village, that is fantastic because things happen which don't happen in other competitions, like sharing an apartment with another team, taking the bus to have breakfast, eat your meals, sharing your table with athletes from other sports, we all used to meet up with other Argentine athletes to eat, that was really amazing.
"Then, we played a brilliant Olympics, we were unbeaten, beating big teams with big names. I remember Italy with [Andrea] Pirlo and [Daniele] De Rossi in the quarters and Paraguay in the final with [Carlos] Gamarra.
"It was a unique experience and, without a doubt, one of the most important titles I have in my career."
Where is D'Alessandro's medal?
That gold, the first of two Argentina managed in the men's football discipline in consecutive games – the nation also won in 2008 with Lionel Messi and Juan Roman Riquelme starring – remains in safe hands, as D'Alessandro went on to explain.
"My mum and dad have the medal, they keep everything [from my career]," the Nacional man revealed.
"Not even I can take it off of them because they have it kept very safe! Those things are staying there for the day after [retirement]. In the future, I will show them to my children so that they can see how it feels and what their dad achieved."
Third time lucky?
Argentina are back in Olympic action in 2021, as the Games finally begin after a one-year postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The team coached by Fernando Batista kick off their Group C campaign on July 22 against Australia before going on to meet Egypt and Spain in the first round of the competition.