Oldest footballers.

Oldest footballers: After Kazuyoshi Miura passes Stanley Matthews’ record

Oldest footballers

Japanese forward Kazuyoshi Miura has been in the news a lot over the past few years, due to his reluctance to quit football.

But most recently he turned 50, and surpassed a certain Sir Stanley Matthews’ longevity record of still playing professional football by two days.

The achievement happened while playing for J-League second division team Yokohama, a week after his milestone birthday.

Miura has been playing for the club since 2005, but started off his senior career way back in 1986 for Brazilian outfit Santos before turning out for the likes of Genoa and Dinamo Zagreb, while he scored 55 goals in 89 Japan international appearances from 1990-2000.

So, in light of his record, we go through a list of some of the oldest footballers to have played the game.

Note that we don’t count those who’ve come out of retirement to make one-off appearances.

Stanley Matthews

Stanley Matthews (centre) features on our oldest footballers list.

We start off with the man that Miura recently surpassed, but in the Japanese’s own words: “I don’t actually feel like I’ve gone past a legend.

“I may have surpassed him in longevity but I won’t ever be able to match his statistics and the career he had.”

Stoke City, Blackpool and England legend Matthews was the oldest person to play English top-flight football, finishing aged 50 and five days, as well as for England (42).

His career remarkably spanned from 1932-1965, and he’s the only footballer to be awarded a knighthood while still playing.

Andrea Pierobon

Andrea Pierobon holds the record of being oldest professional in Italian football history.

There are no other quinquagenarians that played professionally on this list, but Italian Pierobon wasn’t far behind.

While never playing top-flight football and not at the standard of Miura or Matthews, the former keeper was still going aged 45 for Serie B side AS Cittadella.

Pierobon holds the record for being the oldest professional in Italian football history.

Faryd Mondragon

Faryd Mondragon is the oldest person ever to play at a World Cup.

Again slightly younger in age when he finished playing, ex-Colombia goalkeeper Mondragon makes this oldest footballers list after breaking the record at the last World Cup after playing aged 43 – ironically against Japan in a 4-1 win.

The former Galatasaray, Cologne, Metz and Real Zaragoza stopper retired after the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

Wayne Shaw

Check out our Wayne Shaw interview!

Besides Miura, Shaw is the only one on this oldest footballers list still technically not retired.

Shaw, 45, hit the headlines when his non-league Sutton United side made a remarkable FA Cup run this season, but his spell at the club was later controversially cut short.

The then-second choice keeper spoke to us ahead of his former side’s narrow loss to Arsenal, which is available to read here.

Aleksandar Duric

Striker Aleksandar Duric (right) finished playing aged 44.

It is fair to say that Duric has had an eventful life, even before he became a footballer from 1992-2014 – finishing aged 44.

Born in Bosnia, he was called up by the Yugoslav People’s Army aged just 17 ahead of the Bosnian War, which took the life of his mother, before being instructed by his father to leave to chase his dream of being a sportsman.

Duric even represented the newly former Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 1992 Summer Olympics in kayaking before becoming a professional footballer.

He spent most of his early career in Australia, but settled in Singapore, who he represented 54 times (scoring 24) as a striker after gaining citizenship in 2007.

Marco Ballotta

Marco Ballotta played as a striker in the Italian lower leagues after retiring as a keeper.

Another Italian to feature on this list. Despite having played for the likes of Inter Milan, Lazio and Parma (winning multiple trophies with the latter duo) as a keeper from 1991-2008, Ballotta never gained international caps.

However, he does hold records for being the oldest person to play in the Champions League (43 years and 252 days) and Serie A (44 years and 38 days).

Ballotta initially retired in 2008, after starting his career in 1982, but incredibly carried on playing football as a forward for eight-tier team Calcara Samoggia until 2015 in his 50s.


After winning many personal and team awards, Rivaldo travelled the world from club to club.

Rivaldo’s career spanned until he was 44.

Along with Matthews, Rivaldo is head and shoulders above the others on this oldest footballers list, in terms of ability and achievements.

The former Brazil star was in his prime for Barcelona and his nation way back in the early 2000s, but was still playing up until 2015 aged 42.

Rivaldo was a World Cup winner with the Samba Boys in 2002, and was renowned for his skill and creativity, as well as scoring spectacular goals.

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