Oldest Footballers | Football Players Who Refuse to Retire – 12th Man

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Oldest Footballers: Football Players Who Refuse to Retire


When a footballer reaches his 30's they may begin to think about hanging up their boots, possibly moving from the pitch to the dugout, tv studio or simply put ting their feet up. However for some, like the oldest goalkeeper to play in a world cup Essam El Hadary, retirement is not an option.

So in honour of those who refuse to retire here is a list of some of the oldest football players....

Oldest Player to Appear at a World Cup

Essam El Hadary 45 years and 161 days

Essam El-Hadary became the oldest player in World Cup history after being named in Egypt’s starting eleven against Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s 45-year-old captain was an unused substitute in the opening two games but earned a start for the dead-rubber in Volgograd. El-Hadary made his first professional appearance in 1993 for local club Damietta and played his first game for Egypt three years later. Could we see him again in Qatar 2022. 

Read more about his life and career here 

Oldest Outfield Player & Oldest Goalscorer at the World Cup 

Roger Milla 42 years and 39 days

Roger Milla become the oldest goalscorer in a world cup when netting for Cameroon against Russia at USA 94 in group game. Rather embarrassingly for Roger and Cameroon they lost 6-1 against a Oleg Salenko inspired Russian team. To this day he is also the oldest outfield player to appear at a world cup making his final appearance in the same game. Milla made his first professional appearance in 1970 for local club Leopards Douala and played his first game for Cameroon three years later. Roger eventually hung up his boots in 1996 at the age of 44 before moving into coaching. 

Read more about his life and career here

Oldest Premier League Player 

John Burridge 43 years and 162 days 

John Burridge "Budgie" became the oldest player to appear in the Premier League when keeping goal for Manchester City on 14th May 1995 against Queens Park Rangers. In a long and distinguished career Burridge signed for a remarkable 30 different clubs, keeping goal for teams including Aston Villa, Southampton and Darlington. Budgie eventually retired in 1997 at the age of 45, some 28 years after first keeping goal. 

Read more about his life and career here 

Oldest Current Professional Footballer 

Kazuyoshi Miura

Kazuyoshi Miura Current age 51 

Kazuyoshi Miura "Kazu" holds the records for being the oldest footballer and oldest goalscorer in a professional league. Despite most teammates and opponents being half his age Kazu shows no signs of quitting having just signed a one year extension to his contract with current club, J League 2 Yokahama FC. In a career that has seen Miura play in Brazil, Italy and Croatia, as well as scoring 55 goals in 89 appearances for Japan when he does eventually retire his record will surely never be broken. 

Read more about his life and career here

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