Over the years, we have witnessed incredible performances from players of all ages. As the FIFA World Cup continues to captivate audiences every four years, it is inevitable that new records will be set and new legends will emerge.
In this post, we will explore the oldest players to ever participate in the World Cup and the records they set.
Essam El-Hadary: The Oldest Player in World Cup History
As of November 2022, Egypt’s Essam El-Hadary holds the record for being the oldest player to have ever played in the FIFA World Cup.
Born on January 15, 1973, El-Hadary made his World Cup debut on June 25, 2018, against Saudi Arabia at the age of 45 years and 161 days.
El-Hadary’s career as a goalkeeper spanned several decades, and he represented the Egyptian national team with distinction.
His inclusion in the 2018 World Cup squad made him not only the oldest player in tournament history but also the oldest player to represent Egypt at any major international competition.
El-Hadary’s presence in the Egyptian team brought a wealth of experience and leadership.
Despite his age, he displayed remarkable agility and skill between the goalposts, making crucial saves throughout the tournament.
His performance against Saudi Arabia was particularly noteworthy, as he became the oldest player to save a penalty in a World Cup match.
El-Hadary’s achievement serves as an inspiration to athletes around the world, proving that age is just a number and that determination and passion can overcome any obstacle.
Roger Milla: The Oldest Outfield Player in World Cup History
While Essam El-Hadary holds the record for the oldest player overall, the title of the oldest outfield player in World Cup history belongs to Roger Milla of Cameroon.
Born on May 20, 1952, Milla made his mark on the tournament at the age of 42 years and 39 days during the 1994 World Cup held in the United States.
Milla’s performance in the 1990 World Cup in Italy had already captured the world’s attention.
He became the oldest goalscorer in the tournament’s history, netting four goals and leading Cameroon to the quarterfinals.
His iconic goal celebration, dancing near the corner flag, became a symbol of joy and exuberance.
Four years later, Milla returned to the World Cup stage, showcasing his exceptional skills and proving that age was no barrier to success.
He played a vital role in Cameroon’s campaign, scoring two goals and helping his team reach the knockout stages once again.
Milla’s impact on the tournament was immense, and his performances continue to be remembered as some of the most memorable in World Cup history.
Other Notable Older Players
While El-Hadary and Milla hold the records for the oldest players in World Cup history, there have been other notable older players who have left their mark on the tournament.
One such player is Faryd Mondragón from Colombia.
During the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, Mondragón became the oldest player to appear in a World Cup match at the age of 43 years and 3 days.
Additionally, Dino Zoff, the legendary Italian goalkeeper, participated in the 1982 World Cup at the age of 40 years and 133 days.
Zoff played a crucial role in Italy’s triumph, leading them to their third World Cup title.
Another player worth mentioning is Peter Shilton, the legendary English goalkeeper. Shilton represented England in three World Cups, with his final appearance coming in 1990 at the age of 40 years and 292 days.
Shilton’s longevity and consistency in the tournament made him one of the greatest goalkeepers in World Cup history.
The FIFA World Cup has witnessed the remarkable performances of players of all ages, but the achievements of Essam El-Hadary and Roger Milla stand out.
They have shown that age should not be a barrier to success in football, inspiring generations of players to pursue their dreams regardless of their age.
As we look forward to future World Cups, we can only wonder who will be the next record-breaker, defying expectations and proving that age is truly just a number in the beautiful game.
This article was updated 1 week ago