15 players we can’t believe are still playing in 2023: Pedersen, Podolski…

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Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa - Ewood Park. Morten Gamst Pedersen, Blackburn Rovers

The modern game is getting faster and footballers seem to be getting younger all the time, but there’s still a place in the game for the experienced heads to offer something.

With constant advances in technology and dieting, it has now become the norm for footballers to play into their late thirties and even into their forties in some instants.

We’ve rounded up 14 footballers who we cannot believe are still going strong in 2023. There are some fun names in this one.

Morten Gamst Pedersen

Still got it.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa - Ewood Park. Morten Gamst Pedersen, Blackburn Rovers

READ: Morten Gamst Pedersen is alive, well, and scoring goals from corners in honour of the streets

Roque Santa Cruz

The former Blackburn Rovers striker still knows where the back of the net is, even at 41 years old. Since 2016 he has been playing in Paraguay, where he has scored 75 goals in 178 matches.

He made the controversial switch from Club Olimpia to their rivals Club Libertad in January. The move ultimately saw him lose thousands of followers on social media.

Vagner Love

The Brazilian forward will always hold a place in everyone’s heart who played FIFA 13 Ultimate Team. In January this year, he renewed his contract with Sport Recife for another season.

Last year he bagged three goals across 15 matches in the Brazilian second division. Now 38 years old, he’s probably still got a few years left in him yet.

Phil Jagielka

After brief stints at Sheffield United and Derby County, Jagielka has found his new home at Stoke City. The 41-year-old marked his 600th league appearance with a goal against Huddersfield Town.

Diego Godin

From one veteran defender to another, Godin is now playing out in the Argentine Primera Division for Velez Sarsfield. The 37-year-old even starred in the World Cup for Uruguay in what proved to be the last hurrah for several of their older stars.

Alex Song

Song made headlines last year when he revealed the reason he left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2012.

“I met Barca’s sporting director,” Song said in an Instagram chat, “and he told me I would not get to play many games, but I didn’t give a f*ck – I knew that now I would become a millionaire.”

Money can’t be his only motivation though, as Song is still playing for Djiboutian champions Arta Solar 7 aged 35.


The Portuguese winger was a bag of tricks during his time at Old Trafford and he remains a cult hero today.

Now 36 years old, he is playing out in Australia for Melbourne Victory.

Luis Nani celebrates after scoring for Manchester United.

READ: Nani, Man Utd, and the unfair portrayal of a ‘frustrating’ talent

Claudio Bravo

Bravo’s stint at Manchester City was plenty of fun. The former Barcelona goalkeeper was one of Pep Guardiola’s first signings at City as he replaced the outgoing Joe Hart.

Now 39 years old, the Chilean goalkeeper is the backup option at Real Betis, playing a number two role to Rui Silva.

Gael Clichy

The French full-back won three Premier League titles during his spells with Arsenal and Man City and he is now playing for Servette FC in the Swiss Super League at 37.

Papiss Cisse

The 2011-12 season will live long in the memory for Newcastle fans as Cisse and Demba Ba became the modern equivalent of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole for one season.

After stints in China and Turkey, the 37-year-old is now playing in the French second division for Amiens. We will never tire of watching that goal against Chelsea.

Brad Jones

The Australian goalkeeper only made 27 appearances for Liverpool throughout his five-year stint with the club and he’s actually got more first-team action since turning 30 than ever before.

He made over 100 appearances for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Professional League and is now back in his native Australia playing for Perth Glory.

Lukas Podolski

Podolski made his debut for Germany as a teenager and is now still playing at 37. He spent a few years at Vissel Kobe with Andres Iniesta and is now playing in Poland for Gornik Zabrze.

Fabio Quagliarella

From Antonio Di Natale to Francesco Totti, Serie A seems to be the place for older strikers to blossom.

Quagliarella is still going at 40, although his powers are finally fading, as he awaits his first Serie A goal of the 2022-23 campaign. To be fair, most of his appearances this season have been as a late super-sub for relegation-bound Sampdoria.

Fabio Quagliarella, Sampdoria v Genoa, Italy Sport, Soccer Sampdoria vs Udinese - Italian Serie A Football Championship 2021/2022 03 October 2021

READ: 14 great Serie A strikers who defied age: Quagliarella, Di Natale, Totti…

Lisandro Lopes

In Europe, Lopes will be fondly remembered from his spells at both Porto and Lyon. He has predominately spent his later years playing in Argentina, with the exception of a short stint at Atlanta United in the MLS.

The Argentine striker will be celebrating his 40th birthday next month and was considering retirement last year. He managed to get sucked back in though and is now entering into his second year with Sarmiento.

Neil Kilkenny

Leeds United fans are bound to have fond memories of the Australian midfielder, who helped Leeds gain promotion to the Championship back in 2010.

The midfielder spent most of his career in England bouncing between League One and the Championship, although he did spend one season in the Premier League with Birmingham. Now 37 years old, he is playing for Melbourne Victory in Australia.

READ NEXT: Ranking every 22-23 Premier League club by average age of their squad

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