Who are the oldest players in each of Europe's top five leagues?
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Who are the oldest players in each of Europe's top five leagues?

18/05/24 12:07

As the sport becomes more and more demanding on the body, and the lust for young talent freezes out some of football’s finest professionals, a golden generation of talent edges closer to a step away from the beautiful game.

Household names of European football. Veterans of our sport. That moment when you’re watching football and say to yourself “I didn’t realise he was still playing.” Memories come flooding back from a time much simpler. Echoes of historic World Cups and Champions League nights on ITV. These golden oldies have helped us fall in love with football.

Here are the oldest players from each of Europe’s top 5 divisions:

Premier League - Thiago silva (39 years old)

The Brazilian titan is entering the final few weeks of his Chelsea contract having signed for the club in August of 2020. Joining the Blues at 35, Chelsea fans can’t have imagined the impact he would have on the club over the next four years.

The 39-year-old veteran brought a wealth of leadership to a young Chelsea backline and was a Stalwart for Thomas Tuchel’s side as they lifted the Champions League in 2021. Brazil’s former captain spanned a lengthy career in Europe winning 7 French titles and the Serie A once with AC Milan.

At almost forty, the highly decorated centre back became the third-oldest scorer in Premier League history after he netted a fine header against Manchester City earlier this season.

But the Chelsea man shows no interest in retirement as he recently penned a two-year deal with boyhood club Fluminese in his native Brazil, where he won a league title all the way back in 2007.

Bundesliga - Makoto Hasebe (40 years old)

Makoto Hasebe recently announced that he will lace up his boots for the final time today against RB Leipzig.

Frankfurt’s number 20 has only made 2 league starts this season becoming the 9th oldest Bundesliga player in history.

A Japan and Frankfurt hero. The 40-year-old spanned an incredible career having played over 300 times for Die Alder, and 156 times for Wolfsburg; as well as a short stint at Nürnburg.

One of the most respected veterans in Europe and a highly decorated player, the former Urawa Red Diamonds star went on to win a German title with Wolfsburg and the DFB Pokal for Frankfurt.

The central defender was also part of Oliver Glasner’s side who achieved Europa League victory in the 21/22 campaign playing a pivotal role in the final.

A diamond in the Japanese national team, Hasebe hangs up his boots with 114 international caps, captaining the Samurai Blues at three consecutive World Cups and leading his side to the 2011 Asian cup.

Making his professional debut over 20 years ago, Hasebe has created a legacy, inspiring a wave of Asian talent to make waves in the Bundesliga.

The Frankfurt engine will be sorely missed in the German top flight.

Serie A - Guillermo Ochoa (38 years old)

Ochoa at World Cups. One of the best versions of any player in football history. While the Mexican carved a successful club career in Europe, the shot stopper is widely remembered as Mexico’s World Cup favourite.

After an unbelievable 150 caps and counting for the national side, Ochoa has earned his place on the Mount Rushmore of World Cup cult heroes. But the Salernitana keeper has been left out of Mexico’s Copa America squad after picking up an injury in late April.

Salernitana have had a season to forget in the Serie A picking up just 16 points from 36 games thus far. Ochoa had conceded 44 goals in his 21 appearances this season as his powers began to fade.

But the former Malaga star should be remembered for his historics on the world's biggest stage.

The veteran keeper has played at five World Cups for El Tri producing some of the finest goalkeeping performances of the century.

Unfortunately, Salernitana have not renewed the contract of the journeyman goalkeeper and he will be available on a free this summer. At 38, he could still be a useful backup option.

La Liga - Pepe Reina (41 years old)

From one Veteran goalkeeper to another. Pepe Reina has had one hell of a career.

The former Spanish international started his career in the infamous La Masia but never made a first team appearance for the Blaugrana.

But two impressive seasons for Villareal earned him a move to Liverpool where he made 385 appearances on Merseyside.

Having lost his place to Simon Mingolet, the World Cup winner opted for a move elsewhere, joining Napoli on loan before the move was made permanent following a brief spell at Bayern Munich.

Pepe Reina went on to make over 200 appearances in the Serie A for Napoli, Lazio and Ac Milan.

In 2020, he made an unexpected return to the Premier League spending half a season on loan at Aston Villa. The move didn’t work out as Villa barely survived relegation with Reina struggling to keep up to pace on his return to England’s top flight.

A story of homecomings continued as Reina rejoined Villareal 17 years after he left the Yellow Submarine to join Liverpool.

Now 41, Reina has seen his playing time significantly reduced acting as back-up making just 1 league appearance this year. But the Spaniard has said that he has no intention of retiring after his contract expires in June.

** Ligue 1- Dante (40 years old)**

Completing the Brazilian Centre Back partnership within this list, Dante has rolled back the years with consistent dominant performances for Nice this season.

At 40, the former Bayern man has shown no signs of ageing, playing all but one league games for the French outfit as they secured Europa League qualification.

Their captain has been instrumental under Fransesco Farioli driving the team up the pitch with deceivingly precise dribbling and footwork.

A former Brazilian international, Dante played in the Bundesliga for 7 years winning consecutive league titles at Bayern Munich.

The then 32 year old left Germany for France and has since made 282 appearances in the heart of the Les Aiglons back line.

Dante was involved in the Ligue 1 team of the season as a reward for his titanic performances for Nice.

His contact is set to expire in June, but negotiations are underway for a new deal.

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