Many football players continue to end their professional careers. The last of the most high-profile players was Franck Ribery, who hung up his boots at 39 during a season in Italy where he played for Salernitana.
While age may slow people down, these experienced players still have a lot to offer in terms of knowledge and skills. So, who is the oldest footballer in the world? We compiled the top 10 list of the oldest active players in 2023. The data is provided by Transfermarkt.Bet with 1xBet
Fun fact: There are 57 players who are 42 or older, and they haven't officially announced the end of their careers. Many of them are still on the field!
For example, the Bosnian Dragan Jolovic is 46 years. In the 2022/23 season, he played 13 games for Tekstilac, from the Second Bosnian League, playing all 90 minutes in all of them.
Or 45-year-old Brazilian fullback Fabio Lopez, who played 90 minutes for Sha Tin in a second-division game in Hong Kong in October. Now let's move on to the top players who are still fighting at the highest level. Who are the oldest players on the field?
10. Pepe Reina (Villarreal) - 40 years
The Spaniard is still fit and ready to replace Villarreal's main goalkeeper, Gerónimo Rulli. Pepe Reina is known for his play for Liverpool, with whom he won four titles, as well as Napoli. With the Spanish national team, where he played 38 games, the goalkeeper won the World Cup in 2010 and two consecutive European Championships (2008 and 2012). However, he almost did not play in those tournaments because of the great Iker Casillas. Reina appeared in only a few games in the Conference League in 2022/23.
9. Jorge Molina (Granada) - 40 years
The same Betis and Getafe forward is working his way through the Segunda and making sure Granada returns to the Primera. Molina hasn't won any major titles in his career, but he loves the game and is sure to be remembered by Spanish fans as a shot-stopper from outside the box.
8. Diego López (Rayo Vallecano) - 40 years 11 months
Another Spanish goalkeeper continues to take the field. He is remembered by AC Milan, Real Madrid, Espanyol, and Villarreal fans. He has won three titles in his career, all with the Madrid team, including the 2013/14 Champions League. López took part in one meeting this season and conceded three goals against Almeria in La Liga.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimović (Milan) - 41 years
The restless Zlatan continues terrorizing goalkeepers in the Italian Serie A and has no plans to end his career. Last season he led AC Milan to the long-awaited championship and was very active despite his age (8 goals in 23 games). In total, the legendary Swede has won 33 titles with Ajax, Inter, Barcelona, PSG, and Manchester United, and who knows how many more he will win. Now Ibrahimović is still recovering from knee surgery, and his national team Sweden did not make it to the 2022 World Cup. We are waiting for the king of the most spectacular goals of our time on the field after the new year.
I want to keep playing as long as possible without thinking about quitting. I don't want to be one of those players who later regret not continuing to play. I'm going to keep working. I'm going to play as long as I'm needed-
Ibrahimović in 2021
6. Roque Santa Cruz (Libertad) - 41 years
The former Manchester City, Bayern, and other top-five European clubs is finishing his career at home in Paraguay. This season, he has scored five goals in 17 games and is still giving youngsters a head start. His golden years came at the turn of the century when he played for the Munich team from 1999 to 2007. With them, he won 13 titles, including the 2000/01 Champions League. He also played 112 matches for the Paraguayan national team.
5. Joaquin (Betis) - 41 years
The Betis legend entered his 23rd season in his professional career and does not plan to stop there. Although a year ago, he admitted that he intended to finish: "I'm 40 years old now. I'm playing against guys who weren't even born when I made my debut. I'm starting to realize it's time." He also tore up the Internet with his answer to why he didn't play in one of his matches: "I'm not at that age anymore to make up ridiculous excuses. I was hungover." At the same time, this season, the midfielder played nine matches and even scored 1 goal.
4. Paulo Da Silva (12 de Octubre) - 42 years
A Paraguayan defender playing for a local team with an unusual name (that translates as October 12th) since January 2021б and regularly gets into the lineup. However, before that, he managed to play for Italian Venice, English Sunderland, and Spanish Zaragoza. He also appeared 150 times on the field in a Paraguayan national team shirt. In 2022, he played for the current club 35 matches in the top division of Paraguayan football and did not have any productive actions. You could say he is an acting coach.
3. Ildefons Lima (FC Andorra B) - 42 years
The best scorer in the history of the Andorran national team continues to play and plays for the second team of the Spanish Segunda club Andorra. Lima was born in Barcelona and began his career at the local club Sant Andreu. Then there were Mexican Pachuca, Spanish Las Palmas, Rayo Vallecano, Triestina (Italy), and Bellinzona (Switzerland). However, he became famous in matches for the national team. The defender played for the Andorran national team 134 matches and scored 11 goals.
2. Gianluigi Buffon (Parma) - 44 years
The legendary Juventus and Italy goalkeeper is still in action and has no intention of hanging up his gloves. He was not embarrassed by the prospect of playing in Serie B and returned to his native Parma in 2021. He is now playing his second season since his return and possibly the last of his remarkable career.
In my opinion, my career will be over by June 2023.
Gigi said in an interview before his transfer to Parma
The goalkeeper played 18 fine seasons for Juventus, with a break of two years at PSG. He has won 21 titles with the Turin side and won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, playing 176 caps for the national team.
In 2021, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) named Buffon first in the rankings of the best goalkeepers in the world in the 21st century. However, he is not the oldest footballer currently playing.
1. Kazuyoshi Miura (Suzuka Point Getters) - 55 years
Miura is the only professional football player to have played in five decades. The super veteran is now in his 37th season at the professional level. And yes, he is the oldest active professional football player.
He left for Brazil at age 15 to become a professional footballer and joined the Santos system four years later. At 23, Kazuyoshi returned to his homeland and signed a contract with Tokyo Verdi. Then in 1990, he was first called up to the Japanese national team. The rest is history. Two years later, he won the first Asian Cup in the national team's history.
In 1994, Miura came to the Italian Genoa, but a year later, after playing 21 games, he returned to his homeland. In 1999 he had another attempt to launch his career in Europe in Croatsia, but it was unsuccessful.
Since 2005 the veteran has belonged to Yokohama and played for the club until February 2022, after which he was loaned to Suzuka PG. In 2012 at the age of 45, Miura debuted in the Japanese national team in mini-football and in the first game against Brazil, scored a goal. In the next game, Kazuyoshi scored a goal against Ukraine. Later, at the 2012 World Cup, Miura played in all four games but did not produce any results.
Miura is not the kind of legend who sits out his days on the bench; he still gets to play! He's played 14 games in the Japanese Fourth League this season, playing almost 80 minutes in some games. I wonder how much longer he'll be in the game?