When you think of the retirement for a footballer, 35 or 36 would typically be the first ages that spring to mind.

Indeed, football is a young man’s game these days as they need to be as fit and healthy as possible, with the demands of the sport being at their greatest.

Of course, we have seen a number of individuals continue to push boundaries and play at a later age and still show some of us who might be in our teens or early 20s that they are fitter than we would ever be, rather than perhaps enjoying the time that they have on brand new casinos instead!

However, if you were to take your mind to the fact that retirement would typically be around 35, and players do not typically start playing until they are around 17 or 18, then you would have to think that there can not be anyone who made their professional debut in the 1990s still playing professional competitive football, right?

Wrong. In fact, there are a handful of individuals who love the game so much and have managed to keep themselves as fit as they need to be that they have reached their 40s and later and still play today, despite making their debuts in the 90s!

GiveMeSport provided us with a rundown of players that they found to have made their debuts in the decade before the Millennium, with the following individuals having been highlighted:

  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic (40) – Year of professional debut: 1999
  • Gianluigi Buffon (44) – Year of professional debut: 1995
  • Roque Santa Cruz (40) – Year of professional debut: 1997
  • Milan Baros (40) – Year of professional debut: 1998
  • Shunsuke Nakamura (44) – Year of professional debut: 1997
  • Kazuyoshi Miura (55) – Year of professional debut: 1986

Yeah, these guys put me and many of us to shame as they continue to do something in their 40s and 50s that we might not have been able to do when we were at our fittest or healthiest during our 20s.

Each of the names are legends in their own right, with each of them having managed to accomplish something in the sport, however the fact that Miura is still playing at the age of 55 professionally should be inspiring and be applauded for as long as physically possible.

Ibrahimovic has shown no signs of slowing down despite tough injuries, having recently signed a new contract extension with AC Milan, while Buffon is set to enter his 27th season as a professional footballer.