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Players who stopped the clock: Five of the oldest outfield greats after Kazuyoshi Miura goal

Holly Thackeray | August 10, 2016

Time is no footballer’s friend, but 49-year-old Kazuyoshi Miura, a former Japan international, is paying no attention to the ticking clock.

The ex-Blue Samurai striker, who plies his trade at J2 League team Yokohama and turns 50 in February, is the world’s oldest professional footballer but rolled back the years recently by notching his second goal of the season (and it was sweet strike).

Soccer - UMBRO Cup - Brazil v Japan - Goodison Park, Liverpool

Miura’s magnificent effort means Kazu (as he’s also known) broke his own record as the oldest goalscorer in Japan’s professional leagues. Not bad at all!

See Miura strike aged 49:

With that milestone in mind, Coral experts put their heads together to come up with some of the oldest outfield stars to have defied convention and kept on playing well past their salad days.

Here are our favourite five outfield players that slowed the hands of grandfather time…

Ryan Giggs

When modern-day Manchester United legend Giggs blew out the candles on his 40th birthday cake back in November 2013 he was still going strong in a Red Devils shirt as a player-coach.

The original Welsh wing wizard eventually hung up his boots at the end of that term after a spell as interim manager, bringing the curtain down on a glorious 27 playing years with the Northwest club he joined as a 14-year-old in 1987.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Hull City - Old Trafford

A famous Fergie Fledgling from the Class of ’92, Giggs still graced the Old Trafford touchline for two terms as assistant to former coach Louis van Gaal and is synonymous with United’s success in the Premier League era, having taken part in a record 13 title triumphs.

Giggs transformed from tricky speedster to patient playmaker in a bid to extend his Old Trafford stay, going on to make history with 632 Premier League appearances, the most of any player to date.

Watch the Welshman’s Man Utd journey in goals (yes, including that solo spectacular against Arsenal):

Paolo Maldini

AC Milan defender Maldini was truly evergreen, continuing to play at the highest level throughout his 30s before eventually bowing out aged an amazing 41.

The classy veteran was also a one club player, helping the Rossoneri (33/1 with Coral to win Serie A) to seven Scudetti and five Champions League titles. One of the greatest defenders the game has known, Maldini’s tactical intelligence and technique meant he seamlessly switched from full back to centre half as he matured, becoming a master of both positions.

Maldini makes tackling look like an art form:

Lothar Matthaus

Matthaus is one of the most enduring figures from German football, and once typified his nation’s stereotypical combination of power, mental determination and precise passing in the 80s and 90s.

Having appeared in a fantastic five World Cups for both West and later reunified Germany, winning the coveted trophy in 1990 with the former, Matthaus also achieved much glory at club level with both Bayern Munich and Inter Milan (14/1 to win Serie A). The box-to-box midfielder’s sublime positional sense meant he eventually transitioned to a sweeper, saying goodbye to the game aged 39.

See some classic Matthaus moments:

Rivaldo

Former Ballon d’Or and World Cup winner Rivaldo is best remembered for his dazzling displays in Barcelona and Brazil shirts, though the skilful Samba superstar only retired in 2014 aged an exceptional 42.

Clearly in love with the beautiful game, the adaptable attacker represented a whopping 15 clubs overall, beginning with Santa Cruz in 1991 and most recently finishing at Brazilian minnows Mogi Mirim.

Watch ruthless Rivaldo’s highlights:

Javier Zanetti

Few are so fondly remembered and revered in football as Inter’s erstwhile Zanetti, who only received two red cards in his career, but was amazingly often overlooked by several Argentina coaches for World Cup squads.

El Tractor’s incredible consistency and adaptability meant he was integral to the Italian giants over the course of his 19-season stay at the San Siro, where he played in both full back positions and defensive midfield, with his experience and leadership a crucial component in Jose Mourinho’s 2010 treble-winning team.

Now Nerazzurri vice president, Zanetti played his last game for the club against Lazio in 2013/14 age 40.

Check out Zanetti’s retirement speech:

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