Gabriel Batistuta is unrecognisable without luscious locks in recent snap

Serie A icon Gabriel Batistuta looks unrecognisable from his playing days in a recent snap shared to social media.

If not for the greatness of Lionel Messi, the former Argentina striker would be his nation's greatest scorer of all time after netting a remarkable 54 times in his 78 caps.

He guaranteed goals wherever he went, hence his 'Batigol' nickname, and Fiorentina and Roma both benefitted from his clinical finishing.

And he also took with him his luscious blond locks which ensured he became a memorable figure amongst the footballing world.

However, fans would not spot Batistuta nowadays after he traded his signature look.

Throughout his whole career the now 52-year-old never chopped his hair off, so perhaps he was bored of the length by the time he retired.

The locks are long gone over 15 years on with his hair much shorter and also turning grey.

Batistuta has embraced his facial hair fully too, abandoning the goatee he sported on the pitch and letting his beard grow out.

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He began his career in his home country for Newell's Old Boys and had further spells with River Plate and Boca Juniors.

But it was in Italy where Batistuta really made a name for himself after he impressed for Argentina as they won the 1991 Copa America.

Fiorentina's president spotted him during the tournament and subsequently signed him for £2.25m that summer.

Despite his legendary status with the club, he never won the Scudetto with them.

However, he did help them to Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana glory in 1996.

Batistuta moved to Roma in 2000 for a fee in excess of £30m and it was there when he did finally win a Serie A title.

His career then faded out with a loan spell at Inter Milan and two seasons in Qatar with Al-Arabi.

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