It’s Just a Number
Football is an intense game that even when not played at the highest of levels requires a kind of physical prowess that most people don’t measure up to. It is because football is so physically demanding that most professionals only have a narrow window of time to play in the big leagues effectively. However, there area few rare breeds that buck the average retirement age and wow everyone with their performances.
There is something inspiring about seeing someone do something everyone else thought was impossible. This includes watching professional football players continuing to play long after many thought they would retire. We put together a list of the oldest football players to stay in the game:
John Burridge – Burridge played until he was 46 years old. An English goalkeeper, John just never got the impulse to quit the game, and there were plenty of teams willing to employ his talents, even after he was well into his 40s. John even holds a record for playing in over 15 different teams. While he was still technically playing in his 40s professionally, it is important to note that a lot of the clubs only kept him as a backup in emergency situations.
Faryd Mondragon – This Colombian player was well decorated throughout his amazing 24 year long career. Faryd is particularly famous for being the oldest professional football player to appear in a FIFA match. He played in the 2014 cup at an impressive 43 years old. Before his retirement Faryd was considered the last member of the 1990s golden Colombian club. Faryd was an impressive player, making it on the national Colombian team in the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Kazuyoshi Muira – Known as King Kazu in Japan, this remarkable player has been playing professionally for over three decades. King Kazu has still not retired, and is now in his 33rd year contract. At 51 years old, Muira holds the world record for being the oldest football player to still be playing professionally. He has shown many that age is just a number, as he continues to perform at a high level, and is even stepping into coaching. Before Muira came along to take the title of the oldest football player, it originally belonged to an Englishman, who previously held the title for over 50 years. Part of the reason Muira has gotten to play so long is he has avoided injury and played smart.
Marco Ballotta – This Italian played the game until he was 43 years old. He played the game professionally for 26 years before finally hanging up the gloves. Ballotta is one of only two Italians to ever play the game that long. In 2007, Ballotta became the oldest player to play in a Champion’s League match. Ballotta finally retired in 2008 when his contract with Lazio expired. Ballotta became an inspiration to Italians all over the world with his strong performance in the league despite his age. His perseverance showed everyone what they are capable of when they push themselves.