Five of the best: Players over 40
5 players who have continued their careers into their fourth decade
Following the recent announcement that the age-defying Ryan Giggs would be extending his stay at Manchester United beyond this 40th birthday, we look at 5 other players who have continued their career beyond their fourth decade with varying degrees of success.
Former Brazil, Barcelona and AC Milan forward Rivaldo is currently playing for Sao Caetano in the Brazilian Serie B having moved from Angolan side Kabuscorp at the age of 40. He had a successful spell in Angola, the former FIFA World Player of the Year scoring an impressive 11 goals in 21 games. It was also reported that Charlton Athletic turned down the opportunity to sign the veteran - quite a fall for a man who had been inducted into the Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame.
2. David James
Another player who has been forced to drop down the leagues in order to elongate his career is the 42-year-old former England international, plying his trade at League 1 Bournemouth at present. However, he is no longer the first choice and there have been rumours that he has been training with Icelandic side IBV, who are coached by his former team-mate Hermann Hreidarsson.
3. Mark Schwarzer
It is hard to believe that the agile Aussie is now 40. He continues to turn in stunning performances for Fulham and shows no signs of slowing down, with talks of a new contract at his current club apparently underway. His aim is to play for Australia at the World Cup in Brazil before retiring, for whom he has 104 caps, but he wants assurances he will remain first choice. Despite his age, he would probably be a number one for most Premier League sides.
4. Paolo Maldini
Milan legend Maldini's career spanned a quarter of a century, the former captain amassing over 900 club appearances in the process in addition to 126 international caps. There is not enough I can say to do this man credit. Five Champions League winners' medals and seven Serie A titles are a small selection of the array of trophies he has won. He retired at the age of 41 - his number 3 shirt was also retired in his honour (unless one of his sons breaks into the Milan first team) - and continued to contribute until the end of his career: he was voted Defender of the Year at the age of 39.
5. Derek May
Derek has been reported to be the oldest player still playing football at any level. The 73-year-old had over 2,000 appearances and 1,000 goals to his name and keeps adding to that tally, turning out for Meridian FC on a regular basis.
Who knows, we could see the Welsh Wizard at Old Trafford for another 30 years...