Former Man City and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure is reportedly close to joining Brazilian side Vasco da Gama. Toure has been a free agent for six months following his exit from Chinese League One side Qingdao Huanghai, but aged 37, he has no intentions of retiring and instead, he’s set to move to Brazil. In honour of Toure, we’ve taken a look at some other players who you may be shocked to learn are still playing competitive football.
Michael Essien is a Chelsea legend, but he hasn’t hung up his boots just yet! He’s currently in the Azerbaijan Premier League with Sabail. They were only founded four years ago!
Most fans will wonder what happened to Robinho after he left AC Milan in 2015. Well, the Brazilian has played in China, Brazil and is now in Turkey with Istanbul Basaksehir at the age of 36.
Remarkably, Japanese star Kazuyoshi Miura is still playing professional football at the age of 53! He’s still on the books of Yokohama in the J1 League.
Andres Iniesta is one of the best players of the last 20 years. Aged 36, he is still playing in Japan with Vissel Kobe and hasn’t hinted at retirement just yet.
Morten Gamst Pedersen
Morten Gamst Pedersen starred for Blackburn between 2004 and 2013. Aged 38, he’s still playing for Alta in his native Norway.
Carlos Tevez has been involved in some controversial transfers during his playing days, and he’s still turning out at the age of 36. He returned to Boca Juniors in 2018 and is closing in on his 700th career appearance.
Gael Clichy spent 14 years of his career in England, winning three Premier League titles. The former Arsenal and Manchester City man left the Etihad in 2017, and he’s been with Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir since then.
Celtic fans will have great memories of Shunsuke Nakamura, and the Japanese midfielder is still turning out at the age of 41! The free-kick specialist is now with Yokohama FC.
Milan Baros was part of that Liverpool side who completed a memorable comeback against AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League football, and he’s another still playing. He’s been back in his native Czech Republic since 2014 and is now turning out for Banik Ostrava.
Didn’t Javier Mascherano call it a day when he left Barcelona in 2018? The answer to that question is no, with the versatile midfielder instead moving to China with Hebei China Fortune. The Argentine returned home earlier this year to sign for Estudiantes.
You’d be right to think that Tim Howard hung up his gloves recently. However, the 41-year-old has been lured out of retirement to play in America’s second-tier with Memphis 901, where he is also a sporting director and minority owner.
To be honest, we thought Mario Gomez was a lot older than 34! The German striker is still playing in the Bundesliga, returning to boyhood side Stuttgart in 2018.
Roque Santa Cruz
Roque Santa Cruz will best be remembered for his time with Bayern Munich, Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City. The Paraguayan returned back to Olimpia in 2016 and is still playing for them now.
Istanbul Basaksehir have had a bit of a habit of picking up some well-known stars towards the end of their careers over the last three years. Former Newcastle United and Chelsea striker Demba Ba has been with the Turkish side for the last 12 months and has scored 14 goals for the club during that time.
Martin Skrtel as well? Yep, he’s also at Istanbul Basaksehir and now has hair! The 35-year-old spent eight years with Liverpool and is showing no signs of slowing up just yet.
Nigel de Jong
Nigel de Jong helped Manchester City win their first Premier League title in 2012, and the no-nonsense midfielder is still going strong at 35. His kung-fu kick on Xabi Alonso at the 2010 World Cup is probably his most memorable moment on the world stage, and he’s currently in Qatar with Al-Shahania SC.
Don’t worry, you can still use Vagner Love in your active Valentines Day XI! The Brazilian has played for nine different sides since beginning his career in 2002 and is currently with Corinthians at the age of 35.
Newcastle United fans will have fond memories of Emre Belozoglu, and they’ll be surprised to learn that he’s still playing in his native Turkey. He’ll be 40 in September and is into his third stint with Fenerbahce.
Lukas Podolski recently sealed a move to Turkish side Antalyaspor, and he looks set to continue his playing days for the next 18 months.
Remember when Chelsea signed Ricardo Quaresma on loan in 2009 when he was labelled the worst player in the Serie A? It didn’t prove to be the best call by the Blues, but Quaresma is still going strong at the age of 36 and is another player who now plies his trade in Turkey as he’s on the books of Kasimpasa.
Japanese star Keisuke Honda is younger than you might think as he’s been around for a long time. The 33-year-old is currently in Brazil, playing for Botafogo. Interestingly, he is also the general manager and coach of the Cambodia national team!
34-year-old defender Thomas Vermaelen, of Arsenal and Barcelona fame, is also playing in Japan for Vissel Kobe.
Newcastle United fans love former forward Papiss Cisse, and we reckon some Magpies supporters will still be following his career closely! He’s now 34 and is still playing in Europe with Turkish side Alanyaspor.
We love this one. Jason Puncheon spent 16 years of his career in England with numerous sides, but he decided to move to Cyprus last year and sign for Pafos – who can blame him, bet the weather’s nice!
No player has made more Premier League appearances than Gareth Barry, and he’s still a professional footballer with West Brom. The midfielder was released then re-signed by the Baggies last year, and at the age of 39, his experience in the Midlands will be crucial at The Hawthorns as West Brom push for promotion.
What happened to former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor? He’s still just 34 but has seemed to vanish from professional football. He’s actually playing for New Zealand outfit Wellington Phoenix.
Remember when Jo was viewed as the next big thing when he moved to the Premier League in 2008? He struggled massively in England with Manchester City and Everton, and nine years on, he’s still playing. The Brazilian turned 33 in March and has spent the last two years of his career with Japanese side Nagoya Grampus.
There aren’t many outfield players who still play at the top level over the age of 40, but Claudio Pizarro is one of them. The former Chelsea striker is on the books with Werder Bremen for the fourth time and has been since 2018.
38-year-old England one-cap wonder striker Jay Bothroyd has been in Japan for the last five years, three of which have come with current club Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.
Brad Guzan ended his nine-year association in England by leaving Middlesbrough in 2017, and some probably would’ve thought that the American is now retired. He’s not. The goalkeeper, 35, has been back in the states with Atlanta United since leaving the Riverside.
Remember Jurgen Klopp’s decision to sign defender Steven Caulker on loan in 2016 and use him as an emergency forward? That was the last we saw of Caulker in England, but fast forward four years and he’s still playing. Turkish side Alanyaspor have had Caulker on their books since 2019.
Nani has played for five different sides since leaving Manchester United in 2015 and is currently in the MLS with Orlando City. He’s 33 and probably has a few more years left in the tank!
Chelsea fans will remember Salomon Kalou, and West Ham supporters will know he’s still playing today after being linked with the winger back in January! The Ivorian, who will be 35 in the summer, has been with Hertha Berlin since 2014, making over 170 appearances during that time. However, he was recently suspended by the Germans after he was filmed breaking the country’s strict lockdown rules.
Brad Jones has played for 12 different clubs during his 19-year career. The former Middlesbrough and Liverpool man is still going strong at the age of 38 with Al-Nassr, and he helped them win the Saudi Professional League last season.
Hugo Rodallega was relatively successful in the Premier League with Wigan Athletic and Fulham, and his displays during a six-year spell in England went under the radar. The forgotten figure is still playing at the age of 34 for Turkish side Denizlispor.
Cameron Jerome ended his 15-year association in English football in 2018 when he left Derby County. Some will be wondering what happened to the forward next. The answer? He’s been in the Turkish Super League with Goztepe.
Maynor Figueroa is a Wigan Athletic hero, and Latics fans will remember his time in England for that long-range strike against Stoke City back in 2009. He’s still turning out 11 years on at the age of 37. Figueroa’s been in the MLS since 2015 and currently plays for Houston Dynamo.
Many would have forgotten about Alexander Buttner ever since he left Manchester United in 2014, and to be honest, so did we! The full-back’s career has gone downhill following his Old Trafford exit, but he’s still playing and recently moved to the MLS with New England Revolution.
Liverpool fans will remember Maxi Rodriguez, and some Reds supporters will be surprised to learn that he’s still playing at the age of 39. He began his career with Newell’s Old Boys and looks set to end his playing days with them after re-joining the historic Argentine side last year.
Bradley Wright-Phillips is one of the most successful Englishmen to have played in the MLS, and he ended his six-year stint with New York Red Bulls in 2019. Fear not, the striker is still going strong stateside and is now with Los Angeles FC.
If you’re a fan of French football, you’ll know exactly who Hilton is. The Brazilian defender has played in France for the last 16 years and he’s still a regular for Montpellier at the age of 42!
Stephane Sessegnon played in the Premier League for five years, and the former Paris Saint-Germain, Sunderland and West Brom man is still playing at 35. Turkish side Genclerbirligi have been paying his wages since 2018.
We’re not sure why, but we were adamant Alvaro Negredo ended his playing career. He hasn’t, and he’s still leading the line in Dubai for Al-Nasr. The 34-year-old has been there since 2018.
Where did Mousa Dembele go? Did he retire? No, the Belgian midfielder left Tottenham for Chinese side Guangzhou R&F last summer. He’s had his injury issues, so at the age of 32, he might not have too many years left in the tank.
Leeds United and Sheffield United fans will know just who Matthew Kilgallon is, and the experienced defender is still playing, but not in England! The 36-year-old is in the Indian Super League with Hyderabad.
Some probably thought that Nedum Onuoha retired when he left QPR in 2018, but he’s been playing in American with Real Salt Lake since then. He was involved in a heated clash with Zlatan Ibrahimovic last year.
Powerful Italian striker Fabio Quagliarella made his professional debut back in 2000, and he’s never left Serie A during his lengthy career. He’s still an important player for Sampdoria at the age of 37.
Many won’t remember Reto Ziegler, but those who do will be surprised to learn that he’s still playing. The former Tottenham and Juventus left-back has been with FC Dallas since 2018.
Let’s save one of the best for last. Former Premier League right-back Pascal Chimbonda, we’re pretty sure, is still playing in England, but way down the divisions at non-league level. His last known team was Ashton Town!