For some in the game today, age can appear to be no barrier. At the end of the day, a footballer’s career is all too often over before it even begins. After all, with so much money in the soccer world, many are looking to earn as many bucks as possible before pulling the chord on their career. Whether this is through injury or simply down to another factor, players are here to make the most out of their natural talent.
Take for example one of the most gifted players in history, Ronaldo. The Brazilian has shocked many around the world by announcing he is to get in shape to turn out for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. At the tender age of 38, the three time FIFA world player of the year has dazzled many previously. Yet as he nears 40, age for some seems to be no issue.
In addition to this, Raul has dipped his footballing toe back in the game. One of the all-time greats for Real Madrid, the former Spanish international has recently laced up his boots up again for the New York Cosmos. Although he is one year younger than Ronaldo, he has shown that his passion for the game is everlasting despite featuring in the not so sought after NASL.
Aside from these legendary greats, there have also been a host of other footballers who have played on in spite of Old Father Time. This includes the likes of Chris Day who turned out for Stevenage Borough at the grand old age of 39. Meanwhile, the oldest player to appear in the Football League goes to Neil McBain who appeared for New Brighton. He was more than 50 years of age when he achieved this particular feat.
But who exactly are the oldest players of all time?
10. Kazuyoshi Miura
With many appearances under his belt for Yokohama FC, Kazuyoshi Miura is no stranger to the hallowed turf. He turned out several times for Japanese outfit Yokohama FC who play in Japan’s J League Division 2. At the time he was the grand old age of 47. Yet he came from South America originally where he started his soccer journey. Having signed up at just 15 years of age for Santos, Miura played his way around the continent for clubs such as Palmeiras and Coritiba. He returned to his native homeland in 1990 to play for Tokyo Verdy and netted an impressive 100 goals in less than 200 games. As far as his national team was concerned, Miura score on 55 separate occasions in 89 appearances.
9. Andrea Pierobon
Considered to be the oldest professional to turn out in a game in Italian football history, Andrea Pierobon is one among few. He played in his homeland of Italy at the age of 45 for Cittadella who were in Serie B. The former goalkeeper was a substitute on a number of different occasions and was famous for speaking directly to his gloves before games. He began his career when a young Diego Maradona was plying his trade for Napoli. Pierobon narrowly missed out on playing in the top tier of Italian football back in 2010. This was largely in part down to an agonising defeat to Brescia after a play-off showdown.
8. Faryd Mondragón
At 43 years old, Faryd Mondragón is a familiar name in the goalkeeping ranks. The Colombian international was an integral part of the national line up for many years. In fact he has been playing well into his 40’s and appeared until last year for Deportivo Cali in his native land. Some of the most notable tournaments that Mondragón has featured at include the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona as well as the Copa América and two CONCACAF Gold Cups. Furthermore, he has appeared for more than 10 different clubs in more than half a dozen countries from Turkey to the United States. One of his longest stints came at Galatasaray where he was between the posts for 185 matches. As recent as the FIFA 2014 World Cup, Mondragón came on as a substitute in Cuiabá against Japan. As a result, he broke the record as the oldest player to ever appear at the World Cup previously held by Cameroon’s Roger Milla.
7. Aleksandar Đurić
The name may not be that familiar to too many people but Aleksandar Đurić is another name to contend with. In a previous existence, believe it or not the former footballer’s claim to fame was that he was Yugoslavian kayaking champion. He achieved this unlikely feat at the youthful age of 15. He was ranked in the top 10 in the world and then went on to sign up for the Army at just 17 years old.
A real rags to riches story, Đurić had literally no money in his pocket and soon had no choice but to leave war torn Yugoslavia. He was soon to find himself competing for his home nation in the Olympic Games in 1992. After the games had come to a close, he went to Hungary and took up a career with Szeged LC and moved on to Australia. He signed for South Melbourne for the best part of five years and went to Singapore as a player coach for Tampines Rovers at 44 years old.
6. Teddy Sheringham
With his last club in 2008, Teddy Sheringham was one of the oldest players of all time. His last club was for lower league side Colchester United where he turned 42 years old. This was back in 2008 but it was for another United where he achieved iconic status. The former Tottenham Hotspur striker moved to Old Trafford and was one of the scorers in the momentous win over Bayern Munich in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final.
Coupled with this, Sheringham has several other records to his name. This includes being the third ever oldest player to feature in an FA Cup Final. He achieved this by coming on for West Ham United at 40 years of age back in 2006. In a career which spanned more than 700 appearances, Sheringham is one of the oldest ever outfield players to appear in the Premier League aged 40 years and 272 days.
5. Marco Ballotta
His last club may have been back in 2012, but there is no denying the fact that Marco Ballotta deserves his place on the list. The former goalkeeper appeared for San Cesario at the age of 43 having made his debut in the game three decade earlier. Ballotta played for a variety of clubs during his lengthy career such as Modena not to mention Reggiana and Lazio.
Around 10 years ago, Ballotta broke the previous record held by Dino Zoff of the oldest player to feature in a Serie A game. Ballotta played in the UEFA Champions League for Greek side Olympiacos and set a new record for the oldest player to appear in the tournament. This was held before by iconic Italian defender Alberto Costacurta. Another twist of fate saw him sign to play up front for lower league team Calcara Samoggia before he eventually called it a day.
4. John Burridge
Fondly known as “Budgie” to many people, John Burridge was an extremely experienced goalkeeper. He started off back in 1969 for Workington Town and during his actual playing career he turned out for an incredible 28 different sides. This list is by no means exhaustive but he appeared for Newcastle United, Norwich City, Stoke City, Blackpool, Hibernian as well as more than a dozen league clubs. It is truly mind boggling but a footballer cannot go on forever and his last club was North Eastern side Blyth Spartan. At the time Burridge was pushing 44 years of age, whilst he has also acquired a myriad of medals along the way. Some of his trophy haul features picking up a League Cup medal with Aston Villa and a Second Division title with Crystal Palace.
One of the most gifted Brazilian players of his generation, Rivaldo courted the headlines last year for an altogether different reason. The former Barcelona great turned out for Mogi Mirim in his native Brazil at 42 years of age in 2014. Better known as Rivaldo Vitor Borba Ferreira, he was actually playing at the same club as his son called Rivaldinho. A former World Player of the Year, Rivaldo has had many awards bestowed upon his legendary footballing shoulders. This includes being inducted into the Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame.
After his greatest spell of football playing at the Nou Camp, he enjoyed several stints at AC Milan, Corinthians, Palmeiras and Deportivo La Coruna. On the other hand, Rivaldo’s footballing experience took him to other places in the world such as Olympiacos where he averaged nearly a goal every other game. Aside from Angola, another unusual destination where Rivaldo headed to for footballing reasons was Uzbekistan where he spent two years with Bunyodkor.
2. Andy Legg
In the game, there have been few people who could throw the ball as far as Rory Delap and Andy Legg. Launching it well over 30 yards at a time, Legg turned pro with Swansea City back in 1988 and made over 160 appearances for the Welsh side. His nomadic career took in spells from Birmingham City and Ipswich Town to Notts County and Reading. He had battled several illnesses and even had to have two lumps removed from his throat. After this period, Legg went on to make a wealth of appearance for clubs such as Maesteg Park and Newport County. His last club was to be Llanelli in Wales where he would pull on the shirt at 42 years of age.
1. Dave Beasant
Formerly one of Wimbledon’s famous “Crazy Gang” side which beat Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup Final Dave Beasant has rolled back the years recently. In fact he was to go down in the record books in the very same Cup Final. This was for being the first keeper to save a penalty spot kick in an FA Cup Final. His playing career took in numerous clubs ranging from Chelsea to Southampton and Newcastle United. Yet Beasant came to the fore in the last few months as he was named as a substitute for his current club Stevenage Borough. At present, Beasant is a goalkeeping coach but the club called upon his experienced shoulders after his son Sam was unable to play. This took place in a fixture against Carlisle United in October 2014 with Beasant appearing on the bench at an astonishing 55 years of age.
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