Top 10 Veteran Footballers Still Playing

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2012

Top 10 Veteran Footballers Still Playing

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    We've seen a bunch of young players ruling world football, like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Bojan, Danny Welbeck, Mario Goetze—you name it.

    But who says that only those under-30s can make a difference in soccer because of speed or strength?

    Experience is something that any squad needs. Knowing how to give a pep talk in the locker room or taking things slower on the pitch are things that only the years can teach.

    Coaches and teammates know it and appreciate it, so here's a list of some of the most brilliant players that, despite age, are still kicking the ball!

Michael Ballack

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    Michael Ballack plays for Bayer Leverkusen. This season he has appeared 16 times and scored three goals.

    Ballack has won four Bundesliga titles: Kaiserslautern (1) and Bayern Munich (3), and was runner-up with Bayern Leverkusen (2). He also hoisted the Premier League trophy with Chelsea.

    At age 35, he has played 98 times and scored 42 times with Germany in tournaments such as the 2002 and 2006 World Cups; 2004 and 2008 UEFA Euros; and the 2005 Confederations, to name a few.

Alessandro Del Piero

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    At age 37, Alessandro Del Piero is currently playing his 19th season with Juventus, which sets him as the all-time leading scorer (286) and appearance leader (693) of the club.

    With Juve, Del Piero has won seven Serie A titles, two of them taken away after the 2006 Calciopoli; he has also held the Champions League, Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia, to name a few. 

    Del Piero was a key part of Italy's national football team since his debut at the 1996 Euro. He has played in three World Cups: 1998, 2002 and 2006, the latter won by the Azzurri.

Ryan Giggs

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    With 22 seasons under his belt at 38 years old, Ryan Giggs is a fan favorite and a standard bearer of Manchester United. He has won the Premier League 12 times and two Champions League titles.

    Giggs has been a key player for the Red Devils, and he holds the record as the footballer with most Premier League appearances (628).

    In 2005 he was indicted into the English Football Hall of Fame. He has been part of the PFA Team of the Year six times.

    With Wales' national football team, he has played 64 times and scored 12 goals.

Raúl González

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    Raul is one of Spain's most respected footballers. He started his career with Real Madrid C in 1994, and that same year he made it to the B team. His skills sent him straight to the first team, where he played 16 seasons.

    With Los Blancos, he won the Champions League (3) and La Liga (6). He also became Real Madrid's top scorer in European competitions (67) and the player with most appearances (135).

    At age 34, Raúl plays for German club, Schalke 04, where he has continued to show his skills and has become the top scorer of European competitions (73).

    He also played for Spain's national football team and until March 2011, he was the top scorer of the squad.  David Villa holds the record now. 

Carles Puyol

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    Carles Puyol made his debut with Barcelona's first team in 1999, but he had been part of the club (Barça C and B squads) since 1996. He's the captain of the team and is known as one of the toughest defenders in soccer.

    Despite playing as back, he has scored in key moments. His personal count with the club is eight goals in 357 appearances. At age 33 he has won the Champions League (3), La Liga (5), and Club World Cup (2).

    He has been part of Spain's national team's most memorable moments. He lifted the UEFA Euro in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010. Puyol has been called 98 times, the fifth-most capped in the team's history.

Clarence Seedorf

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    Clarence Seedorf has been a professional footballer since 1992, when he made his debut with Dutch club Ajax. He spent three seasons there and left to Serie A's Samporia.

    From 1996 to 2000 he wore Real Madrid's jersey. He finally went back to Italy and signed with Inter. Seedorf currently plays his 10th season for Milan. At age 35 he has appeared 409 times and scored 75 goals.

    During his career, the midfielder has won the Champions League (4), Serie A (2), Eredivisie (2), and La Liga (1).

    With Netherlands' football team he has played three UEFA Euro (1996, 2000 and 2004) and a World Cup (1998).

Francesco Totti

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    Francesco Totti is the player with most appearances with Roma (626), as well as the top scorer (266). At age 35, Totti is in his 20th season with the Giallorossi.

    Some of Il Bimbo d'Oro's achievements include winning the Serie A (1), Supercoppa Italiana (5) and Coppa Italia (2). He was also part of Italy's 2006 World Cup squad.

    Individually, Totti has been named Italian Footballer of the Year (5), Serie A Player of the Year (2) and Serie A Goal of the Year (2).

Mark Van Bommel

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    The captain of The Netherlands' national team has been part of Milan since 2010, but Mark van Bommel started his professional career at the Dutch club Fotuna Sittard in 1992.

    After seven seasons, he signed with PSV Eindhoven. He played there until 2005 and then went to Barcelona one season; he left for Germany's Bayern Munich before finally heading to Italy, where he has disputed 36 games.

    At age 34, Van Bommel has lifted several trophies, including the Serie A (1), Bundesliga (2) and Eridivisie (4); he was also part of the 2010 World Cup runner-up squad.

Juan Sebastián Verón

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    The 36-year-old Argentinian has played for some of the best European and Latin American Clubs in his 18-year career.

    La Brujita debuted with Estudiantes de La Plata and then played for Boca Juniors. In 1996 he headed to Europe after signing with Samporia. Two years later, Verón switched clubs and played for Parma from 1998 to 1999; then went to Lazio for two seasons.

    In 2001 he became part of Manchester United, but only two years later he switched the Red Devil's jersey for Chelsea's. He went back to Italy in 2004, after an agreement with Inter. He currently plays for Estudiantes.

    With Argentina's national team, he has been capped for the 1998, 2002 and 2010 World Cups. Overall Verón has scored nine times in 73 games.

Javier Zanetti

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    At age 38, Javier Zanetti is the captain of Inter, but also a standard bearer for the Nerazurri, where he's playing his 17th season.

    Il Capitano made his professional debut in 1991 with Argentinian club Talleres, and one season later he went to Club Atlético Banfield. His toughness and ability to become part of the attack took him to Italy, where he has played since 1995.

    Pupi has lifted several trophies, such as the Serie A (5), Coppa Italia (4) and Champions League (1). With Inter he has played 552 times and scored 13 goals.

    As a member of Argentina's national team, Zanetti holds the record as the most capped player (145). He played the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, as well as the 2005 Confederations Cup.