11 Oldest Soccer Players in the World (Updated 2021)

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.  

As of April 2021, this list is accurate and will be updated as needed.

Please note that this list only include players from the Top Leagues in the their countries.

However, Ezzeldin Bahader from Egypt, currently holds the Guinness World Record for oldest professional football player at the age of 74 years, 11 months, and 3 days. Bahader played in a third division match on October 6, 2020. We chose to leave Bahader off our list because he did not have a career as a pro footballer — Bahader worked as a civil engineer. 

11. Teddy Sheringham (April 2, 1966 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing:  42 years, 1 month, 30 days on June 1, 2008
Country of Origin:  England
Last Team: Colchester United
Years Played: 1983 – 2008 (24 years)
 Position: Striker

Teddy Sheringhamphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via TottenhamFan

Teddy Sheringham was an English footballer whose career lasted for more than 24 years. Sheringham began his professional career in 1983 with Millwall Football Club. He played with the team until 1991 and is Millwall’s second all-time leading scorers (111 goals).

Although Sheringham had a strong career for many years, he did not join England’s national team until 1993 when he was 27 years old. Obviously, Sheringham proved that his age wouldn’t slow him down and he played for the national team 50 more times. Sheringham continued to play professionally until 2008 when he retired at the age of 42. Since 2014, Sheringham has been in various coaching positions for different teams.

Did You Know?

After he retired in 2008, Teddy Sheringham started playing in various professional poker competitions.

10. Faryd Mondragón (June 21, 1971 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing:  43 years, 3 days on June 24, 2014
Country of Origin:  Colombia
Last Team: Deportivo Cali
Years Played: 1990 – 2014 (24 years)
 Position: Goalkeeper

Faryd Mondragónphoto 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.

Mondragón 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. Before his record was broken in 2018 by Essam El-Hadary (also on this list), Mondragón was the oldest player to ever appear in a FIFA World Cup.

Did You Know?

After making his debut in 1993, Faryd Mondragón went on to play for the Colombian national team over 50 times.

9. Rivaldo (Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira) (April 19, 1972 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing:  43 years 3 months, 26 days on August 14, 2015
Country of Origin:  Brazil
Last Team: Mogi Mirim
Years Played: 1991 – 2015 (24 years)
 Position: Attacking midfielder/Forward

Rivaldophoto source: footballtop.com

Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira, better known as Rivaldo, is not only one of the Brazil’s greatest soccer players ever, he is also the oldest. Rivaldo had a career spanning over 24 years and retired in 2015 at the age of 43. His final team was the Mogi Mirim Esporte Clube and Rivaldo is currently the team’s president.

Rivaldo overcame great odds to become the soccer legend he is today. As a child, Rivaldo was malnourished and sickly, but he was still picked up by Paulistano Futebol Clube in 1989, even though the coaches thought Rivaldo was too physically weak to succeed. Eventually, Rivaldo proved them wrong and he debuted with the Brazilian national team a few years later in 1993.

Did You Know?

In 1999, Rivaldo received the prestigious Ballon d’Or and was also named FIFA World Player of the Year.

8. Zé Roberto (July 6, 1974 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing:  43 years, 4 months, 20 days on November 26, 2017
Country of Origin:  Brazil
Last Team: Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras
Years Played: 1994 – 2017 (23 years)
 Position: Left Back, Midfielder

Zé Robertophoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Zé Roberto played his last soccer match on November 26, 2017 at the age of 43. The Brazilian footballer’s career spanned over 23 years on teams including Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, and Palmeiras.

Roberto began his professional career in 1994 and spent time abroad during most of his career. He returned to Brazil 2012 and joined Grêmio and had expressed interest in retiring with the team. However, Roberto went on to join Palmeiras and did not retire until 2017. Since retiring from professional soccer, Roberto serves as a technical advisor to Palmeiras.

Did You Know?

During Zé Roberto’s time with Bayer Leverkusen, the team had its most successful period, finishing as runners-up in the German Bundesliga (the country’s top league) on three occasions.

7. Marco Ballotta (April 3, 1964 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing:  44 years, 1 month, 15 days on May 18, 2008
Country of Origin:  Italy
Last Team: Società Sportiva Lazio
Years Played: 1982 – 2008 (26 years)
 Position: Goalkeeper

Marco Ballottaphoto 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.

Did You Know?

Although Marco Ballotta had officially retired from professional soccer, in late 2008, he joined Prima Categoria, an Italian amateur league, as a forward (despite playing as a goalkeeper for his entire professional career).

6. Aleksandar Đurić (August 12, 1970)

Oldest Age While Playing:  44 years, 2 months, 24 days on November 5, 2014
Country of Origin:  Yugoslavia
Last Team: Tampines Rovers Football Club
Years Played: 1992 – 2014 (22 years)
 Position: Striker

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.

Đurić 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.

Did You Know?

During his international career in Singapore, Aleksandar Đurić received seven S. League titles, three Singapore’s Cup, four Golden Boot awards, 200-goal and 300-goal milestone special awards and was named as League Player of the Year three times.

5. John Burridge (December 3, 1951 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing:  45 years, 7 months, 29 days on August 1, 1997
Country of Origin:  England
Last Team: Blyth Spartans
Years Played: 1969 – 1997 (28 years)
 Position: Goalkeeper

John Burridgephoto source: mcfcwatch.com

John Burridge is one of England’s oldest soccer players ever and had a career lasting nearly 30 years. 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.

Did You Know?

John Burridge holds the record for playing with the most English Football League teams ever (15).

4. Andrea Pierobon (July 19, 1969 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing:  46 years old in 2015
Country of Origin:  Italy
Last Team: Associazione Sportiva Cittadella
Years Played: 1987 – 2015 (28 years)
 Position: Goalkeeper

Andrea Pierobonphoto source: it.eurosport.com

Andrea Pierobon holds the record for being the oldest Italian soccer player ever. Pierobon 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.

Did You Know?

Andrea Pierobon played his last game just two weeks after his 46th birthday.

3. Essam El-Hadary (January 15, 1973 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing:  47 years, 10 months, 3 days on November 18, 2020
Country of Origin:  Egypt
Last Team: None at the moment
Years Played: 1993 – 2020 (27 years)
 Position: Goalkeeper

Essam El-Hadaryphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Анна Нэсси

Before his retirement in late 2020, Essam El-Hadary was the second oldest active soccer player in the world. At the time, he made international headlines for setting a Guinness World Record. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, El-Hadary, who is a goalkeeper, became the oldest footballer to play in a World Cup at the age of 45. 

Following his impressive achievement, El-Hadary announced that he would retire from playing for Egypt’s national team. El-Hadary first played for Egypt in 1996 and has appeared in 159 international games. While El-Hadary has retired from the national team, he has not retired from the sport.

Although El-Hadary did sign with Nogoom Football Club, he left the club at the end of the 2019 season. In November 2020, El-Hadary announced his retirement to focus on his coaching career. 

Did You Know?

Essam El-Hadary has won the Africa Cup of Nations four times and was named the tournament’s best goalkeeper three times.

2. Stanley Matthews (February 1, 1915 – February 23, 2000)

Oldest Age While Playing:  50 years, 5 days on February 6, 1965
Country of Origin:  England
Last Team: Stoke City Football Club
Years Played: 1932 – 1965 (33 years)
 Position: Outside Right

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 earlier 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 establish an all-black team in Soweto, South Africa in 1975 during the country’s apartheid laws.

Did You Know?

Stanley Matthews was an inagural inductee to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

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

Oldest Age While Playing:  55 years, 1 month, 12 days (as of April 7, 2022)
Country of Origin:  Japan
Last Team: Yokohama FC (current team)
Years Played: 1986 – Present (34 years)
 Position: Forward

Kazuyoshi Miuraphoto source: Italian Wikipedia

Kazuyoshi Miura is currently the oldest soccer player ever in the world at the age of 55 and he continues to break his age record when he re-signs at the start of a new season. Because he remains active today, Miura is also the oldest active soccer player

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.

Miura 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.

Since December 2021, Miura has been playing for the Suzuka Point Getters, as part of a loan from Yokohama FC. 

Did You Know?

According to Kazuyoshi Miura’s official website, so far in his career he has played 37,384 minutes, scored 163 goals, and has had 52 assists.


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