Many of the world’s greatest football players retire in their late 30’s from the professional game. Franck Ribery did so at the age of 39 while playing for Salernitana in Italy, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired earlier this year at the age of 41 at AC Milan.
These experienced footballers still have a lot to contribute in terms of knowledge and abilities, despite the fact that being older may show some signs of slowing down on the pitch. There is a large number of players who are 42 years old or older who haven’t formally retired from the game. They’re still out there in large numbers! Who is the world’s oldest footballer, then? Here’s all you need to know about the oldest active players in the world.
10. Pepe Reina, Villareal, age: 40
Gerónimo Rulli, the primary goalkeeper for Villarreal, will be replaced by the Spaniard, who is still in shape. Pepe Reina is well-known for his time at Liverpool and Napoli, teams for which he won four titles. The goalkeeper won two successive European Championships (2008 and 2012) and the 2010 World Cup with the Spanish national team, for which he played 38 games. However, the great Iker Casillas almost managed to prevent him from participating in those competitions. In 2022–2023, Reina played in handful of Conference League games.
9. Jorge Molina, Granada FC, age: 40
The same forward for Betis and Getafe is making his way through the Segunda to ensure that Granada gets back into the Primera. Despite his lack of major championships, Molina is a passionate footballer who will always be remembered by Spanish fans as a shot-stopper from beyond the box.
8. Diego Lopez, Rayo Vallecano, age: 40
As the game goes on, another Spanish goalie enters the game. Fans of Villarreal, Real Madrid, Espanyol, and AC Milan all remember him. In the course of his career, he has won three championships, all with the Madrid squad, including the 2013–14 Champions League. López participated in one game this year and let up three goals versus Almeria in La Liga.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimović, AC Milan, age: 41
Zlatan, who scared goalkeepers in the Italian Serie A, had no intention of retiring until earlier this year. Despite his advanced age, he remained highly active and helped AC Milan win the long-awaited championship last season (8 goals in 23 games). While he began his career at Malmo in 1996, and quickly signed for some of the best clubs in the world, including Manchester United in the Premier League, with Ajax, Inter, Barcelona, PSG, and Manchester United, the Swede has amassed a total of 33 championships in his professional career.His retirement was marked with an amazing farewell from AC Milan fans and people watching from all around the world.
6. Roque Santa Cruz, Club Libertad FC, age: 41
The former top-five European teams, including Manchester City, Bayern, and others, is wrapping off his career at home in Paraguay. He has five goals this season in 17 games and continues to give younger players an advantage. His prime years were around the turn of the century, from 1999 to 2007, when he was a member of the Munich team. He won 13 championships with them, including the Champions League in 2000–2001. He also participated in 112 national team games for Paraguay.
5. Joaquin, Real Betis FC, age: 41
The legendary player for Real Betis is currently in his 23rd season of professional play, and he has no intention of stopping. Although he admitted a year ago that he planned to finish: “I’m now 40 years old. The players I’m up against now weren’t even alive when I made my debut. It’s time, I’m beginning to see”. He also caused a stir online when he said that he was no longer old enough to make up excuses for missing one of his matches. Even though he once had a hangover, the midfielder appeared in nine games this season, and he even managed to score one goal.
4. Paulo Da Silva, Independiente FC, age: 42
A Paraguayan defender who has been a regular starter for a local side with an odd name (which translates to October 12th) since January 2021. But before that, he was able to play for Spanish Zaragoza, English Sunderland, and Italian Venice. He also made 150 appearances on the pitch while wearing a Paraguayan national team jersey. He participated in 35 matches for the present club in the premier division of Paraguayan football in 2022 but had no useful acts.
3. Ildefons Lima, FC Andorra B, age: 42
The top goal scorer in Andorra’s history is still an active footballer and represents the second squad of the Spanish Segunda club Andorra. Lima was born in Barcelona, where he started his professional football career with Sant Andreu. He also played for Italian club Triestina, Spanish club Las Palmas, Mexican Pachuca, Rayo Vallecano, and Swiss Bellinzona. He did, however, become well-known during national team games. The defender appeared in 134 games and scored 11 goals for the Andorran national team.
2. Gianluigi Buffon, Parma, age: 44
The Juventus and Italy goalkeeper is still playing and plans to continue to play. He didn’t feel self-conscious about the idea of playing in Serie B, and in 2021 he went back to his hometown of Parma. He is currently in the middle of his second and perhaps final season of his extraordinary career.
The goalkeeper enjoyed 18 successful seasons at Juventus, with a two-year gap spent at the top level in France with Paris Saint-Germain. He played 176 times for Italy and won the 2006 World Cup with them. He has won 21 trophies with the Turin squad.
Buffon was ranked first among all goalkeepers in the world by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) on their list of the top keepers of the twenty-first century. He is not, however, the oldest football player still active on the pitch, or the oldest footballer in the world.
1. And the oldest football player in the world in 2023 …. Kazuyoshi Miura, Suzuka Point Getters, age: 55
Since his professional debut in 1950, Miura is not only the oldest footballer currently, but also the only active professional football player still going strong. The super veteran is now playing in his 37th professional season, and Suzuka Point Getters is where he is currently playing.
At the age of 15, he moved to Brazil to pursue a career as a professional player. Four years later, he joined the Santos system. At the age of 23, Kazuyoshi went back to his own country and joined Tokyo Verdi. Later, he received his first call-up to the Japanese national team in 1990. What follows is history. He brought the nation’s squad its first Asian Cup victory two years later.
Miura arrived at Genoa, Italy, in 1994, but after 21 games, he left for his own country. He made another attempt to start his career in Europe in 1999 in Croatia.
The more-than-experienced player in international football has been a member of Yokohama since 2005. He played with the team until February 2022, when he was loaned to Suzuka PG. Miura made his mini-football national team debut for Japan in 2012 at the age of 45. He scored in the opening match against Brazil. Kazuyoshi scored a goal against Ukraine in the next match. Miura appeared in all four games of the 2012 World Cup but did not contribute to any victories.
Miura has surpassed the famous Sir Stanley Matthews, who retired from professional football at age 50, to hold the titles of oldest player and oldest goalscorer in the history of the game, according to Guinness World Records.