Just recently, the amazing news of Clyde boss Danny Lennon substituting himself in at the age of 50 (having hung up his boots 11 years ago) to help his side beat a Celtic’s Colts team 3-1 in the Glasgow Cup competition is making headlines in the media. He was 33 years ago older than 1 of his opponents on the pitch! Here, we also showcase some of the oldest footballers around who have made a comeback!
1. Isaak Hayik (Ironi Or Yehuda)
In a record that’s unlikely to be broken any time soon, 73 year old Israeli Isaak Hayik became the Guiness World Record’s oldest player to have taken part in a professional game when he played the entire 90 minutes for 4th tier Israeli side Ironi Or Yehuda earlier this year in April.
2. Jens Lehmann (Arsenal)
Having left the Gunners in 2008 and subsequently calling it a day in 2010, Lehmann came back into action a year later at the age of 42 when Arsenal suffered a catastrophic situation of having all 3 of their first team goalkeepers injured. With the back-up Almunia injured during the warm up to a league game, Lehmann stepped in and played his part in a 3-1 win over Blackpool.
3. Roger Milla (Montpellier)
Having initially retired at the age of 37 in 1989 from club football, Roger was called back into action by Cameroon president in 1990 to help the country out in the World Cup finals. He enjoyed it so much that it not only prompted him to come back into club football with Cameroon club Tonnerre, he also managed to play on in the next World Cup finals in 1994 at the age of 42 years old! He eventually retired in 1996 after 2 further stints with 2 Indonesian clubs at the age of 44 years old.
4. Edwin Van Der Sar (VV Noordwijk)
Another goalkeeper in this list, Edwin Van Der Sar had a very decorated career both with Ajax and Manchester United before retiring at the ripe old age of 41 with the Red Devils. In 2016, 5 years after retiring, he made a surprise announcement that he was making a one game comeback for Dutch 4th division side VV Noordwijk after they had lost their first choice goalkeeper to injury. Having started the game, he even saved a penalty and helped the team to secure a crucial 1-1 draw!
5. Henrik Larsson (Råå IF)
Another player to have spent some time with the Red Devils, Larsson retired at the age of 38 having had a decorated career with some of the biggest European clubs. 3 years later, as the manager of Swedish second division club Landskrona, he made a surprise comeback appearance for Swedish 5th division club Råå IF, coming on a substitute for them. If that’s not surprising enough, one year later, after departing from his managerial role, to keep fit, Larsson trained and registered himself with 4th division side Högaborgs where he also worked as an assistant manager. During the season, when the first team was suffering an injury crisis, Larsson managed to make 2 appearances for the team, one of which was alongside his 16 year old son Jordan!