Football is all about speed, stamina, agility and skills. Even as the crucial skill grows with experience, the first three prime traits to excel at the top level have a lot to do with the youthful energy.
However, there are sporting heroes who are defying the age to be good enough to represent their respective national teams at the FIFA World Cup 2018 Finals in Russia.
Age is nothing but a number for some of the players playing in the FIFA World Cup 2018. They may not be that young but will not be short of skills despite being on the wrong side of 30s and 40s. Yes, you read it correct, the 40s. Without revealing much, let us look at the list of the oldest players participating in FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.
InsideSport.co introduces to its reads the oldest five footballers who will be seen in action during the FIFA World Cup 2018 Finals in Russia.
NUMBER 5 – OLDEST PLAYERS IN FIFA WORLD CUP 2018
In the list of Oldest players in FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 list, at number 5 is 36-year-old Willy Caballero. Caballero is the goalkeeper for the Messi’s Argentina team and is lucky to be in Russia as a replacement for the injured national goalkeeper Sergio Romero. He will not only be playing his first World Cup but surprisingly made his debut for Argentina when he had already celebrated his 36th birthday. Since then he has played for Argentina in 3 international games.
Surprisingly Caballero was named on the Argentina substitutes’ bench against Tunisia in a Confederations Cup match on June 15, 2005, but did not get chance to play. Finally, when he got his chance against Italy, the year was 2018 and Caballero had turned 36 by then.
NUMBER 4 – OLDEST PLAYERS IN FIFA WORLD CUP 2018
Number 4th in the oldest players list is host Russia’s 38-year-old defender Sergey Ignashevich. Unlike Caballero, Ignashevich has played for Russia 121 times and will be in all likelihood playing his last World Cup. Sergey made his debut in the year 2002 against Sweden. He came out of retirement at the behest of the new manager to support the Russian team in pursuit of their World Cup glory. He is considered a skillful defender with a knack for scoring, especially with headers. He will be one of the more experienced heads that Russians will be looking up to steer the team into the second round.
NUMBER 3 – OLDEST PLAYERS IN FIFA WORLD CUP 2018
Australian football’s most renowned face Tim Cahill is the 3rd oldest to play in FIFA 2018. At the age of 38 when most of the players lose their edge and agility to opt for happy retired life, Cahill is still considered the main goal scorer for the Kangaroos. Cahill has already scored 50 goals for Australia in 105 matches. FIFA said on their website, “If he succeeds in scoring in Russia, the attack-minded Australian will enter an elite club, as only Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose have previously notched a goal in four different editions of the prestigious tournament.”
Australia will open their World Cup against France on June 16 in Kazan with all eyes on Cahill who is still going strong after making his debut for Australia in 2004.
NUMBER 2 – OLDEST PLAYERS IN FIFA WORLD CUP 2018
The Second oldest player in Russia will be from Mexico. The 39-year-old Rafael Marquez will become the third player ever to play in 5 World Cup tournaments. The mercurial defender cum midfielder has already retired from the club football after terminating his contract with Atlas Guadalajara.
Marquez made his debut for Mexico in 1997 when Messi or Ronaldo had not even started their professional careers. He is also tipped to lead Mexico in Russia. In case he is given that responsibility, he will create history by becoming the first player in FIFA World Cup to lead his country in four editions.
Mexico is placed in difficult group with defending champions Germany and dangerous Sweden.
NUMBER 1 – OLDEST PLAYERS IN FIFA WORLD CUP 2018
The oldest player in the FIFA World Cup 2018 Finals in Russia will be Egypt’s veteran Essam El-Hadary. Believe it or not, Hadary has already celebrated his 45 birthday. If he gets to play even for a minute in Russia, he will create history to be the oldest ever player to play in a FIFA World Cup Finals. Hadary is yet to make his FIFA World Cup Finals debut even after earning 157 caps for Egypt.
Playing in Saudi Arabia’s top tier league with Al-Taawoun, El-Hadary has been a professional since 1993 when he started with Damietta of Egypt, aged 20.
This remarkable career that has seen him play for the three Egyptian heavyweight clubs – Zamalek, Ismaily, and Al Ahly. He also played in Europe with Sion of Switzerland. In a 25-year career, El-Hadary has kept goal for 11 different clubs across three continents – Africa, Asia, and Europe.
In April, he told the BBC, “’I’m very happy to play at the World Cup, and that is a message to all footballers and others around the world, that you should believe in your dreams and fight to make them come true. My age is 45 years old, but for me, this is just a number on paper.”
Yes for the names mentioned above, age is just a number on paper.