10 Oldest Active Soccer Players in the World

Like all of the major sports in the world, soccer takes a heavy toll on players’ bodies. Due to this, soccer players hit their prime in their early 30s and most active players are much younger. However, there are many outliers and several soccer players are still going strong in their late 30s, 40s, and in Kazuyoshi Miura’s case, their 50s! All of the players on this list have had careers spanning several decades and still appear to be in the top of their career. There’s no telling when the soccer players on this list will retire.

As of May 2021, the information on this list is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed.

10. Phil Jagielka (August 17, 1982 – Present)

Current Age (as of May 2021): 38 years, 8 months, 21 days
Country of Origin: Sale, England
Current Team: Sheffield United
Years Played: 2000 – Present
Position: Center Back

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Phil Jagielka is an English soccer player who has been playing professionally for over 20 years. In his youth career, Jagielka spent time training with Stoke City and Manchester City before joining Sheffield United in 1998 when he was 15 years old. Jagielka made his way through the team’s youth ranks before debuting professionally in 2000.

For nearly a decade, Jagielka stayed with Sheffield United, but he signed to Everton in 2007 and spent the next 12 years with the team. Jagielka returned to Sheffield United in 2019 and has signed one-year contracts for the past few years.

Did You Know?

Phil Jagielka has received 40 England caps and was included in the England squads at UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

9. Zlatan Ibrahimović (October 3, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of May 2021): 39 years, 7 months, 4 days
Country of Origin: Malmö, Sweden
Current Team: A.C. Milan
Years Played: 1999 – Present
Position: Striker

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Zlatan Ibrahimović is a Swedish soccer player, who is considered one of the greatest strikers in the history of the sport. Ibrahimović started playing soccer when he was six years old and his rough childhood almost led to him quitting his soccer career when he was 15 years old. The manager of Malmö FF convinced Ibrahimović to keep playing and it turned out to be the right decision.

Ibrahimović moved up to the senior side of  Malmö FF in 1999. Following a few seasons with his hometown team, Ibrahimović played for various teams around Europe in countries such as Spain, Italy, and France. He even briefly played for the LA Galaxy in the U.S. Ibrahimović has been with A.C. Milan since 2020.

Did You Know?

Zlatan  Ibrahimović has over 570 career goals, including more than 500 club goals, and has scored in each of the last four decades.

8. Willy Caballero (September 28, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of May 2021): 39 years, 7 months, 9 days
Country of Origin: Santa Elena, Argentina
Current Team: Chelsea Football Club
Years Played: 2001 – Present
Position: Goalkeeper

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Willy Caballero is currently the oldest soccer player in the English Premier League at the age of 39. Caballero is originally from Argentina and started his career with Boca Juniors in 2001. In 2004, Caballero moved to Spain and played for Elche and Málaga. A decade later, Caballero made his way to England where he joined Manchester City before signing with Chelsea Football Club in 2017. Caballero’s contract with Chelsea only lasts through 2021, but he has not yet said anything about retiring from soccer.

Did You Know?

Willy Caballero played for the Argentine National Team in 2018 and was also a non-playing member of the team when it won a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

7. Roque Santa Cruz (August 16, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of May 2021): 39 years, 8 months, 22 days
Country of Origin: Asunción, Paraguay
Current Team: Club Olimpia
Years Played: 1997 – Present
Position: Striker

Roque Santa Cruzphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Roque Santa Cruz is another long-time soccer player who will be turning 40 later this year. Santa Cruz is from Paraguay and is regarded as one of the country’s best soccer players ever. His youth career began in 1990 with Club Olimpia and he made his professional debut with the team in 1997. Following a few seasons with Olimpia, Santa Cruz moved to Germany and spent the next few years with Bayern Munich. Santa Cruz then played in England, Spain, and Mexico, before moving back home to Olimpia in 2016.

Santa Cruz was on the Paraguay National Team from 1999 to 2016, when he said that he wanted to retire from international play. However, in 2019, Santa Cruz said he was interested in playing international soccer again.

Did You Know?

Roque Santa Cruz is the record goal scorer of the Paraguay National Team has earned over 100 caps for his country.

6. Joaquín Sánchez Rodríguez (July 21, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of May 2021): 39 years, 9 months, 17 days
Country of Origin: El Puerto de Santa María, Spain
Current Team: Real Betis
Years Played: 1999 – Present
Position: Right Winger

Joaquín Sánchez Rodríguezphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Joaquín Sánchez Rodríguez, simply called Joaquín, is currently the second oldest European soccer player, after Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon. Joaquín has been playing professional soccer since 1999 and has primarily played for Spanish teams, starting with Real Betis. He did spend a few years in Italy with Fiorentina. Joaquín returned to Real Betis in 2015 and has been with the team since then. Additionally,  Joaquín played for the Spanish National Team between 2002 – 2007.

Did You Know?

Joaquín has appeared in 552 La Liga matches over 17 seasons and scoring 74 goals.

5. Maxi Rodríguez (January 2, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of May 2021): 40 years, 4 months, 5 days
Country of Origin: Rosario, Argentina
Current Team: Newell’s Old Boys
Years Played: 1999 – Present
Position: Attacking Midfielder (Winger)

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Maxi Rodríguez is currently the oldest soccer player in Argentina. Rodríguez spent his entire youth career with Newell’s Old Boys and also made his professional debut with the team. In his early 20s, Rodríguez moved to Spain and spent a good chunk of his career playing for teams in the country.  Rodríguez also had a brief stint with in England with the Liverpool Football Club. In 2012, Rodríguez returned to Argentina to once again play with Newell’s Old Boys. In July 2017, 36-year-old Rodríguez moved to Uruguayan club Peñarol, but came back to Newell’s Old Boys in 2018.

Did You Know?

Maxi Rodríguez played with the Argentine National Team in three world cups and placed second in 2014.

4. Shunsuke Nakamura (June 24, 1978 – Present)

Current Age (as of May 2021): 42 years, 10 months, 13 days
Country of Origin: Yokohama, Japan
Current Team: Yokohama FC
Years Played: 1997 – Present
Position: Midfielder

Shunsuke Nakamuraphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Shunsuke Nakamura is the second oldest soccer player from Japan and is over a decade younger than Kazuyoshi Miura. Nakamura, who was born and raised in Yokohama, has played soccer competitively since he was five years old. In 1997, Nakamura began his professional career with J1 League club Yokohama Marinos. After several years with the Marinos, Nakamura moved to Europe and played in Italy, Scotland, and Spain. Nakamura returned to the Yokohama Marinos in 2010 and since 2019, he has played with Yokohama FC.

Did You Know?

Shunsuke Nakamura is the only person n to have been named J.League Most Valuable Player more than once, receiving the award in 2000 and 2013.

3. Gianluigi Buffon (January 28, 1978 – Present)

Current Age (as of May 2021): 43 years, 3 months, 10 days
Country of Origin: Tuscany, Italy
Current Team: Juventus F.C.
Years Played: 1995 – Present
Position: Goalkeeper

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Gianluigi Buffon, who hails from Italy, is considered by many to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. Buffon grew up in an athletic family; his mother, Maria Stella Masocco, was three times Italian champion in shot put and discus throw, his father also did shot put, and his sisters were professional volleyball players.

Buffon’s youth career began in 1991 when he was 13 and he made his professional debut in 1995 with Parma. It did not take long for Buffon’s talent to shine through and he became one of the most promising young goalies in Italy. Since then, Buffon has dominated as a highly skilled and competent goalkeeper, setting many records. Buffon has 176 international caps, making him the most capped player in the history of the Italy national team, the seventh-most capped soccer player of all time (joint with Hossam Hassan), and the second-most capped European international player ever.

Did You Know?

Gianluigi Buffon holds the record for the longest streak without conceding a goal in Serie A history, achieved over twelve league matches; he kept the opposition out for 974 consecutive minutes during the 2015–16 season, achieving the most consecutive clean sheets (10) during that run.

2. Vitorino Hilton (September 13, 1977 – Present)

Current Age (as of May 2021): 43 years, 7 months, 24 days
Country of Origin: Brasilia, Brazil
Current Team: Montpellier HSC
Years Played: 1996 – Present
Position: Center Back

Vitorino Hiltonphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Vitorino Hilton is a Brazilian soccer player and one of a few players in his early 40s. Hilton began his professional career in 1996, playing for Chapecoense. After a few years, Hilton moved to Europe and has played for teams in Switzerland and France. Hilton has been with Montpellier HSC since 2011. He is currently also the team’s captain.

Did You Know?

On 7 February 2017, Vitorino Hilton, at the age of 39, became the oldest French Ligue 1 goalscorer. His record was broken a few months later by Benjamin Nivet.

1. Kazuyoshi Miura (February 26, 1967 – Present)

Current Age (as of May 2021): 54 years, 2 months, 11 days
Country of Origin: Shizuoka, Japan
Current Team: Yokohama FC
Years Played: 1986 – Present
Position: Forward

photo source: FIFA.com

Kazuyoshi Miura, nicknamed King Kazu, is currently the oldest active soccer player in the world at the age of 54. Not only is Miura the oldest player still in the game, but he is the oldest soccer player ever! Miura began his professional career way back in 1982 when he was just 15 years old. He traveled by himself to Brazil and played for Clube Atlético Juventus, a youth club in São Paulo. In 1986, Miura joined his first professional football club, Santos.

Miura has not slowed down since then and has played for a number of teams in Brazil in Japan. Since 2005, Miura has played for Yokohama FC.

Did You Know?

Kazuyoshi Miura holds a few age related soccer records, including being the only professional soccer player active in five separate decades (1980s-2020s).



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