Professional football has always been a young man’s game, especially at its highest levels. Nevertheless, the 2022 World Cup has seen its fair share of international stalwarts who’ve defied age and continued playing football in their twilight years.
Most World Cup players are usually in their late 20s or early 30s. By mid-30, most players are usually past their prime. Hence, it’s pretty unusual to see veterans over 35 years old taking the spotlight in the World Cup.
This article pays homage to the oldest players in this year’s World Cup competition.
Alfredo Talavera – 40
On the 2022 World Cup opening day, Alfredo, a Mexican substitute goalkeeper, was 40 years and two months old.
Born on 18th September 1982, Alfredo is the oldest football player in the World Cup. He has been on the Mexican national team since 2011, where we’ve seen him in action in numerous international tournaments.
Alfredo is also the goalkeeper for FC Juarez.
Atiba Hutchinson – 39
At 39 years, Atiba entered FIFA 2022 as the captain of the Canadian National Team. This might be his last World Cup, but Atiba promised to put his best foot forward, hoping to go out with a bang.
Atiba is also a defensive midfielder for Turkey’s Besiktas JK.
Atiba was born on 8th February 1983.
Pepe – 39
At 39, Pepe has made his fourth appearance in the ongoing Qatar World Cup. Being a first-choice for Portugal doesn’t come as a surprise, given that he’s easily one of the best defenders alive.
Although his defensive playing style is often criticized for attracting cards, Pepe remains a legendary footballer. He has played for notable clubs like Besiktas and Real Madrid. Currently, he is a center-back and captain for Portuguese giants FC Porto.
Born as Kelper Laveran Lima Ferreira on 26th February 1983 in Brazil, he has grown to be known by his very popular nickname, Pepe. This tough, no-nonsense center-back has extended his stellar career well into his late thirties.
Eiji Kawashima – 39
FIFA 2022 is Eiji’s fourth World Cup. Playing at 39 years of age, Kawashima is officially the oldest Japanese to ever play in the World Cup.
He has been the first choice for Japan’s National Team’s goalkeeper for the past 12 years. It is easy to understand why. Kawashima is renowned for his intelligence, skillfulness, and strong belief that one should lead by example.
This has made him a valuable asset for the Japanese; he mentors younger team members, sharing his past world cup experiences.
Besides being a goalkeeper for the Japanese national team, Kawashima is also the goalkeeper for RC Strasbourg.
He was born on 20th March 1983 in Yono.
Dani Alves – 39
Dani Alves is a successful footballer who’s defied all odds to play his third world in Qatar at age 39. He is currently the oldest Brazilian on the field.
Dani’s success in the field is well-known, having won almost every international trophy, including Olympic Gold, Confederations cup, Copa America, and 3 Champions Leagues. However, although Dani is the most trophied footballer worldwide, the World Cup has always eluded him.
Known for his technical skills and stamina, Alves is appreciated as one of the best fullbacks of his generation. He plays for Puman UNAM as a midfielder and right-back.
Dani Alves da Silva was born on 6th May 1983 in Brazil.
Remko Pasveer – 39
39-year-old Remko is goalkeeping for the Netherlands national team in Qatar. He is the second-oldest Dutch to ever play for the Dutch team in the World Cup.
Remko is also the goalkeeper for AFC Ajax.
Remko Julian Pasveer was born on 8th November 1983.
Aymen Mathlouthi – 38
38-year-old Mathlouthi is one of Africa’s finest goalies. He plays for the Etoile du Sahel club. His smooth ball handling, agility, and unique playing style are often highly regarded.
Aymen will be playing for his Tunisian team in FIFA 2022.
Also known as Balbouli, Aymen was born on 14th September 1984.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 37
At 37 years of age, Cristiano is playing his fifth and possibly final World Cup in Qatar. In addition to being the highest international football goal scorer, FIFA 2022 may make him the highest World Cup goal scorer in history. Ronaldo is currently a free agent, and it is still unknown where will he end up after the World Cup. According to football bookmakers, he will most likely sign for some Saudi Arabian club, as the odds are currently 2/1 on that option.
Cristiano Ronaldo was born on 5th February 1985 in Funchal, Portugal.
Luka Modrić – 37
Modrić is a midfielder who currently plays as a captain for Real Madrid and the Croatian national team. Even though he is 37 years old, he still performs at the highest level and Real refuses to let him go.
Modrić is currently the only player that has featured in World Cups and EURO Championships in three different decades. In the last World Cup, he was voted as the tournament’s best player, winning the Golden Ball.
Luka was born on September 9th, 1985 in Zadar, Croatia.