7 Oldest Soccer Players in the World

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Soccer, or football as its known around the world, is probably the world’s most popular team sport and its players usually develop large fan followings. Professional soccer careers can be very lucrative, but tend to only last for around eight years, with the average age of retirement being 35 years old.

All of the players on this list far exceeded the average career length and went on to play well into their 40s. The oldest player on this list is currently still active and will probably hold the record for being the oldest soccer player ever for many years to come as he is in his 50s. 

7. John Burridge

Oldest Age While Playing:  46
Country of Origin:  England
Last Team: Blyth Spartans
Years Played: 1969 – 1997  
  Career Length: 28 years

John Burridgephoto source: mcfcwatch.com 

John Burridge is one of England’s oldest soccer players and holds the record for playing on 15 teams in the English Football League. Over his nearly thirty year career, Burridge played in 771 league games in the English and Scottish leagues. From 1993 – 1997, Burridge continued to play as a goalkeeper for any team that requested his services, despite being in his 40s. During this time, he usually only played one or two games with these football clubs as an emergency goalkeeper.

When Burridge played for Manchester City in 1994, he became the oldest player to appear in the Premier League at age 43. Since retiring as a player, Burridge has worked as a coach for various clubs and is credited with discovering Oman international goalkeeper, Ali Al-Habsi when he was 16 years old. 

6. Faryd Mondragón

Oldest Age While Playing:  43
Country of Origin:  Colombia  
Last Team: Deportivo Cali
Years Played: 1990 – 2014  
  Career Length:  24 years

Faryd Mondragón photo source: Wikimedia Commons 

Faryd Mondragón is notable for being the oldest professional soccer player to appear in a FIFA World Cup match – he played in the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the age of 43, before retiring after Colombia was outed in the quarter-finals. Prior to his retirement,  Mondragón was the last active member, besides Mario Yepes, of the 1990s golden generation of Colombian soccer.

He competed as a member of the Colombian national team at the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup. In 2010, he re-joined the Colombian national team and is the only Colombian player to have participated in five FIFA World Cup qualification campaigns.  

5. Marco Ballotta

Oldest Age While Playing:  43
Country of Origin:  Italy 
Last Team: Società Sportiva Lazio
Years Played: 1982 – 2008   
  Career Length:  26 years

Marco Ballotta photo source: laziochannel.it

Marco Ballotta is the second oldest Italian player ever whose career spanned over 25 years. He is also the oldest player to appear in both Serie A (Italy) and the Champions League. Ballotta appeared in 138 Serie A games and mostly played for the football club, Lazio.

In 2007, Ballotta, at age 43, became the oldest player to play in a Champions League match, beating the old record held by Alessandro Costacurta who was 40. Ballotta retired from his professional career in 2008 after his contract with Lazio expired, despite expressing an interest in continuing to play.  

4. Aleksandar Đurić 

Oldest Age While Playing:  44
Country of Origin:  Yugoslavia 
Last Team: Tampines Rovers Football Club
Years Played: 1992 – 2014   
  Career Length:  22 years

Aleksandar Đurićphoto source: Alchetron

Aleksandar Đurić is a Yugoslavia-born former professional player, best known for being an excellent striker and playing for various football clubs in Singapore. He is also one of the oldest soccer players ever as he retired at age 44. Đurić competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics in the C-1 500 m canoeing event and after the Games, he resumed his soccer career which had started earlier that year in Hungary.

He first signed with the S.League (Singapore) in 1999 and went on to eventually become the league’s all-time top scorer. He played for different teams in the S.League until the end of his career as a player in 2014 – Đurić said that he continues to stay involved with Singapore soccer as a coach.  

3. Andrea Pierobon 

Oldest Age While Playing:  45
Country of Origin: Italy
Last Team: Associazione Sportiva Cittadella
Years Played: 1987 – 2015   
  Career Length:  28 years

Andrea Pierobonphoto source: it.eurosport.com

Andrea Pierobon holds the record for being the oldest Italian soccer player. He had a career as a goalkeeper spanning nearly 30 years. The last team that Pierobon played for was Cittadella, which was also the first team to sign him when he began his professional career.

While playing for Cittadella before retiring in 2015, Pierobon’s teammate nicknamed him “Nonno”, Italian for grandpa. In one of his last interviews as an active player, Pierobon said that he had plans to use his years of experience to mentor youth players and become a coach.  

2. Stanley Matthews   

Oldest Age While Playing:  50
Country of Origin: England
Last Team: Stoke City Football Club  
Years Played: 1932 – 1965   
  Career Length:  33 years

Stanley Matthewsphoto source: Daily Mail

Stanley Matthews is considered to be one of England’s greatest soccer players and until Kazuyoshi Miura broke his record in 2017, Matthews was the oldest professional soccer player to ever play the sport and score a competitive goal. He played his last game in 1965 and ealier that year he became the only soccer player to ever be knighted (for services to football).

After he retired as a player, Matthews tried his hand at coaching and the most notable thing he did as a coach was established an all-black team in Soweto, South Africa in 1975 during the country’s apartheid laws.  

1. Kazuyoshi Miura     

Oldest Age While Playing:  50 (current age as he is still active)
Country of Origin: Japan
Last Team: Yokohama FC (current team)  
Years Played: 1986 – Present    
  Career Length:  31 years

Kazuyoshi Miuraphoto source: Italian Wikipedia

Kazuyoshi Miura is currently the oldest soccer player ever at the age of 50 and it looks like he might break this record again next year as he has signed a one-year extension on his contract with his current team, Yokohama FC. Miura, who is affectionately called Kazu, started his soccer career in 1986 and rose to fame in the early 1990s, making him Japan’s first soccer superstar.

He was the first Japanese player to receive the Asian Player of the Year award in 1993, which is presented by the Asian Football Confederation. In early March 2017, Kazu became the oldest professional soccer player to score a competitive goal, scoring the only and winning goal in Yokohama FC’s match against Thespakusatsu Gunma.

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