Ronaldo & Batistuta: When the two legends played together for a World XI in 1997

What a strike force!

Ronaldo Nazario and Gabriel Batistuta are two of the greatest strikers the sport of football has ever seen.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the South American superstars scored a ridiculous number of goals for club and country.

Ronaldo finished his sparkling career with 357, including 47 in 49 games for Barcelona, while Batistuta racked up a sizeable total of 300.

In 1997, the pair were lighting up Serie A and they were probably the best out-and-out strikers on the planet at that time.

If they had they been at the same club in the Italian top-flight, it simply wouldn't have been fair on the other teams in the division.

There's significant visual evidence to back up that point as well.

Ronaldo with Inter Milan

That's because Ronaldo and Batistuta actually played up front together for 45 minutes while representing a World XI vs a European XI in a star-studded match ahead of the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

The showpiece event in France really was captivating, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Alessandro Costacurta, Fernando Hierro, Paul Ince and Patrick Kluivert all taking part.

But the Europeans were no match for Rest of the World and their deadly strike force. By half-time, the score was 5-1 in favour of Ronaldo and Batistuta's side and they'd secured that four-goal advantage just 26 minutes into the game after initially falling 1-0 behind.

Ronaldo & Batistuta

'O Fenomeno' finished with two goals and as many assists, while his partner-in-crime 'Batigol' recorded two goals and an assist to leave the opposition begging for mercy.

Take a look at the extraordinary footage of Ronaldo and Batistuta displaying an almost telepathic understanding with one another on the pitch below.

Video: Ronaldo & Batistuta vs European XI in 1997

Oh my.

Ronaldo's speed and trickery was complimented perfectly by Batistuta's intelligent movement and ability to find space where there appeared to be none.

Costacurta and Hierro, who were unquestionably two of the best defenders in the world at the time, struggled to even lay a glove on them.

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Rest of the World XI manager Carlo Ancelotti then decided to spoil all the fun by taking Ronaldo off and bringing on Deon Burton (yes, former Derby County striker Deon Burton) for the second half.

But for 45 glorious minutes on a balmy night in France, we really were treated to something very, very special.

Quiz: Can you name the footballer based on their Wikipedia page?

1 of 15
Wikipedia Page No.1

Who moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000?

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