Top 7 Oldest Players to Ever Play in a World Cup

The World Cup is getting heated as we found out who will be playing in the quarter finals. The biggest surprise is most certainly Morocco, who manage to win against Spain in an intense penalty shootout. The next team they will face is Portugal. When we see the previous games from Portuguese, we can notice certain ups and downs in form and tactics.

Therefore, winning against them won’t be such a big surprise considering that they already won against Spain, while also beating France in the group stage. If you have any predictions that you think that are more likely to happen, you can make some money on it by betting. In that matter, check out Bet365.

Furthermore, it is currently a break of three days before the competition continues on Friday. You can use this break to learn more about different details about teams that are still competing, but also about those who failed to reach the same stage. There are some surprises related to failures as well, such as Germany that failure to pass the group, along with Belgium and Uruguay. Most people thought that we would watch these teams in the play-off round.

Also, this is a great time to compare some details with previous World Cups, such as the age of oldest players at the tournament. We saw that Nagatomo can still show some great skills, while Ronaldo is playing at top level even though he will be 38 soon. There were some even older players on previous tournaments, and we will present them to you in the following article.

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1. Angel Labruna

It is a bit of a surprise to see a player playing during the 50s, considering that the physical form of players from that time cannot be compared with the form of currently active players. His age during the World Cup in 1958 was 39. He had a decent career for the national team, scoring 17 goals. It is important to note that he was part of the legendary River Plate’s squad from the 50s, with players like Juan Carlos Munoz, Adolfo Pedernera, Manuel Moreno, and more.

2. David James


This is a player that most of us remember for playing for the UK national team and several clubs in the Premier League. He was one month older than the previous player on this list, with an age of nearly 40 when the tournament was held in South Africa. There is a saying for goalkeepers that they are like wine, and they will get better with age, and James was an excellent example of that.

3. Ali Boumnijel

This player was active during the world cup in 2006. He was over 40 at that time. The Tunisian player was also the oldest player on the tournament. He had a great career with longest contract with Gueugnon and a couple of short experiences in several French clubs like Bastia and Nancy. He was a goalkeeper of Tunisia national team between 1991 and 2007, which is impressive.

4. Dino Zoff


This player represents a legendary goalkeeper from Italy who played for many well-known clubs there, such as Udinese, Napoli, and Juventus. The longest part of his career was in the Torino Giants. When it comes to the national team, he was the main goalkeeper for a very long time, between 1968 and 1983. The biggest achievement was the Gold at the World Cup in 1982. He was over 40 of age during the tournament.

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5. Roger Milla


Milla was over 43 during the world tournament in 1994. He was the oldest goalscorer of all time at the tournament, which is a record that was older than 30 years at that moment. This player is the best proof that retirement is not a simple decision. He was getting back twice from his retirement.

6. Faryd Mondragon


It is not a surprise to see another goalkeeper in the list of oldest players at world cups. A lot of them are waiting for an older age to retire, and some of the best examples are Buffon, Van der Sar, and more. Faryd was 43 at the tournament in 2014. He was playing for Columbia that manage to reach quarter-finals, where they lost against Brazil. The most impressive detail is that his career started in 1990, which means that he was playing for nearly 25 years.

7. Essam El-Hadary


The most recent record is from the previous world cup in Russia, where Essam was playing for Egypt at the age of 45. He played over 150 games for national team in this long career that started in 1993, which means that he was active for 25 years. While they were not the best on the tournament in Russia, there are some great achievements made by Egypt in the Cup of Nations, where he won four times.

Last Words

The oldest player in the current tournament is the goalkeeper from Mexico, Alfredo Talavera, and he is 40 years old, which seems as nothing when we compare it to Essam. Moreover, defender from Portugal, Pepe, became the oldest player to even score a goal in World Cups.

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There are some young stars as well, such as Mukoko who just turned 18. When it comes to average age of teams, the absolute winner is Iran, with an average age of 30, while the youngest team is Ghana, with the majority of players younger than 25.

There are some benefits of having older players in the squad, especially when it comes to experience and the ability to provide calmness to the team. On the other side, form starts to be questionable when you reach 40 of age.

Still, having a team that is too young is also not the best option due to potential reckless moves and lack of experience. Therefore, the perfect combination is to have both young talents and veterans. A great example of that are Argentina and Croatia with stars like Messi and Modric, while there are young prospects that are still waiting to show full potential.

What do you think?

Verica Gavrilovic

Written by Verica Gavrilovic

My name is Verica Gavrilovic, and I work as a Content Editor at I've been involved in marketing for over 3 years, and I genuinely enjoy my job. With a diploma in gastronomy, I have a diverse range of interests, including makeup, photography, choir singing, and of course, savoring a good cup of coffee. Whether I'm at my computer or enjoying a coffee break, I often find myself immersed in these hobbies. In addition to these, I also love traveling, engaging in long conversations, going shopping, and listening to music.