Top five: Stars of yesterday

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Over the years we have seen some top talents, but a few have somewhat disappeared. This may be due to age or fatigue, however it's interesting to see what these old stars are up to in today's football. 

Here we take a look at five of the best talents that are still playing their trade, in a not so familiar location. 

Alexander Hleb | BATE Borisov

Alexander Hleb had great success at Arsenal and he was a popular player with the fans - playing just fewer than 90 games for the north London outfit. 

Whilst he wasn’t known for his goals, his technique made him one of the best in the Premier League at the time. However, it wasn’t any surprise that he was later sold by Arsenal to another top club - Barcelona in 2008. 

This move was evidence that he was a classy player, but since the move, his career went down-hill. After being on loan to clubs such as Birmingham City and Vlf Wolfsburg, he now plays in his home country for a team by the name of BATE Borisov. 

He’s now just an old name who used to play for Arsenal. From a promising young player, to a small-town hero. He’s just one example of a star from the past, currently still playing his football.   

David James | Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja

It was back in the late 90’s and the early 2000’s that we started to witness a great goalkeeper. With a combined total of 307 appearances at top English clubs Liverpool and Manchester City, James had a great career. 

In addition to this, James made a total of 53 appearances on the international stage with England. He helped them through the toughest matches, including friendlies, the Euros and the World Cup.

In 2010, James left struggling Portsmouth, to join a team he always had close to his heart-hometown club Bristol City. His ambition and desire was to go back to his childhood dream and get Bristol City back in the Premier league. However, this dream fizzled out and he didn’t quite achieve it. He then exited and after joining Bournemouth, he now plays for an Icelandic club called Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja.

It’s fair to say that he is 42-years-old, and with the likes of Joe Hart in the England squad, there’s no wonder that James isn’t quite what he used to be. 

However, it seems a little strange that a player who broke the record for the most amount of Premier League appearances of all time (back in 2009 with 536 appearances) now plays for a club many have never heard of or even seen play. 

Thierry Henry | NY Red Bulls

Without a doubt Arsenal fans will be singing his name for many years to come. He is simply one of the best the club has ever seen. In 258 appearances he has managed to smash a fantastic 175 goals for the Gunners. Unfortunately, Arsenal couldn’t keep hold of their star and let him join Spanish giants Barcelona. 

His later quest saw him join American side New York Red Bulls. He has so far bagged himself 37 goals and there’s no doubt he will be able to score some more stunners before he hangs up his boots. 

Henry is another example of a player who his miles past his prime. His age may not be on his side, and he may still be a great striker, but it’s interesting to think that one of the biggest legends to play in an Arsenal shirt plays in the American league today.

Eiður Guðjohnsen | Club Brugge

His amazing talent and clinical finishing saw him score some extraordinary goals during his time at Chelsea. His overhead kick against Leeds in the 2002–03 season for Chelsea is perhaps his finest strike to date. 

Other notable goals came against Fulham at Stamford Bridge in 2003–04. He made around 60 assists during his time with Chelsea. His touch and vision saw Chelsea manager José Mourinho deploy Guðjohnsen into a deeper midfield role. He simply became a lethal player. 

His career has now seen him recently join Belgium side Club Brugge. So far he hasn’t played with this side as of yet, but he will sure be a great asset to this side. He was once one of Mourinho’s lethal men, alongside a legendary Chelsea line-up.

Gabriel Heinze | Newell’s Old Boys

Heinze was once a top player at Manchester United and Real Madrid. He was a great defender at these clubs and made some terrific tackles. He’s even managed to grab 17 club goals over the course of his career.  

The Argentine managed to claim the La Liga, the English Premier League and Ligue 1. 

Now, he plays his football in his hometown where it all started - Crespo Argentina. Newell's Old Boys were the first professional club to witness the star in his early years. And at the age of 35, he joined them once more.

So we know that players get old,and will never be the same in their mid-thirties as they were in their young twenties. However, it’s interesting and fascinating to know where all those amazing world-class players have disappeared to and where they are hiding.

Once upon a time these players were in top divisions and were having a great run for their international sides. Now, they play their football with clubs we would have never associated these stars with.

Nevertheless we have plenty of young and unique talent all over the world of football, so this is probably why these old stars aren’t missed today. 


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