The Premier League has been home to some of the best players in the world over the last few decades and we can’t believe some of the former stars that are still going strong elsewhere.
These days it’s become the norm for footballers to play into their late thirties or even into their forties in some instances. While some players like to go out at the top level, others enjoy the gradual step down towards the end.
We’ve looked through the footballing world and have compiled a former Premier League XI that we can’t believe are still playing in 2023.
GK: Brad Guzan
Having racked up over 150 Premier League appearances for Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, Guzan is still going strong in MLS at 38 years old.
The United States international has been the number one goalkeeper at Atlanta United since his arrival in 2017 and you might have caught a glimpse of him recently when Lionel Messi slotted a couple of goals past him.
Can't start any better than this. 🔥
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 26, 2023
RB: Jesus Navas
The former Man City defender really has aged like a fine wine. At 37 years old he is still one of the first players on the Sevilla teamsheet and he still gets called up to the Spanish national team squad.
“I don’t know when I’m going to retire. At 40? If I can, I’ll go further,” Navas told reporters. “I focus on the day-to-day, that’s the most important thing. If I could I would be playing soccer all day. I don’t set an age.”
CB: Adrian Mariappa
Mariappa will turn 37 later this year, but the former Watford defender isn’t ready to hand up his boots yet. After leaving the Hornets in 2020, the Jamaican defender has had short stints with Bristol City, Macarthur FC and Burton Albion.
He’s now dropped down to League Two and is currently playing for Salford City, having recently penned a one-year deal with the club. Salford fans will be hoping Mariappa’s experience comes in handy throughout the campaign.
CB: Curtis Davies
The 38-year-old defender has spent the last seven years outside the top flight and he’s now turning out for League One outfit Cheltenham Town.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the former Aston Villa and Hull City defender had hung up his boots as he regularly appears in punditry roles on Sky Sports these days, but there is still life in the veteran defender yet.
LB: Gael Clichy
After leaving the Premier League in 2017, we can’t imagine that many people have kept up with the day-to-day of Clichy. After leaving Man City the French defender has enjoyed stints in Turkey and Switzerland.
The 38-year-old is currently without a club, but by all accounts, he is still open to fresh opportunities as he told The Telegraph: “If a good project comes, I would think about playing one more year.”
He’s still got an eye for goal, that’s for sure.
Not sure what year or, indeed, dimension we're in but Gael Clichy scored from the halfway line todaypic.twitter.com/LrLEra2xZl
— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) May 13, 2023
RM: Morten Gamst Pedersen
Nothing else screams peak Barclays quite like Pedersen. The Norwegian midfielder is one of the finest dead ball specialists we have seen in the Premier League and he’s still going strong at 41 for Ranheim Fotball in the Norway second division.
“I play more centrally now,” the playmaker told Sportbible. “I can play as a central midfield or a number 10; more like a playmaker role. I also play on the wing as well, because if you get a full-back that’s good to overlap, that’s perfect for me.
CM: Alex Song
Since leaving the Premier League in 2016, Song has had a fascinating career. He spent short stints in Russia and Switzerland and is now playing for the Djiboutian side AS Arta/Solar7.
The Cameroon midfielder will turn 36 later this year and we reckon he’s still got a few more seasons left in him yet.
CM: Santi Cazorla
Having spent the last three seasons playing in the Qatar Stars League, Cazorla recently made his return to European football. The former Arsenal magician recently penned a one-year deal with his hometown club Real Oviedo.
Cazorla agreed to play on a minimum-wage Segunda Division contract which is believed to be worth around £1,200-a-week. We can’t help but love the guy.
Real Oviedo’s announcement video was absolutely spectacular too.
— Real Oviedo (@RealOviedo) August 16, 2023
Since leaving Old Trafford in 2014–15, Nani has become somewhat of a journeyman. The entertaining Portuguese winger has enjoyed stints in Australia, Portugal, Turkey, Spain, Italy and the United States.
These days you can find the 36-year-old playing for Turkish side Adana Demirspor who are managed by Dutch legend Patrick Kluivert. We can’t wait to see what tricks the winger still has up his locker.
ST: Leroy Lita
Yep, the former Premier League forward is still going strong in non-league.
ST: Roque Santa Cruz
The former Blackburn Rovers striker must hold the secret to eternal youth because he is still bagging goals aged 41. Santa Cruz left the Premier League over 10 years ago and he isn’t slowing down just yet.
He now plays back in his native country of Paraguay and is still sticking them away for Libertad. Some players just never lose it.