In our time, an increasing number of footballers show interest in extending their careers, not rushing to end them and squeezing the maximum out of their physical abilities. Some do it for additional earnings, while others simply derive pleasure from the game.

In 2023, some football legends concluded their careers, including significant names like Gianluigi Buffon and Zlatan Ibrahimović. However, other players continue to perform at a high level.

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Andrés Iniesta, 39 years old, plays for “Emirates” in the United Arab Emirates

In the summer of 2023, it seemed that Iniesta’s career was coming to an end when it was announced that he wouldn’t renew his contract with the Japanese club “Vissel Kobe.” At 39 years old, this appeared to be an excellent time to announce the end of his career, but Iniesta decided to continue playing and surprised everyone by joining a club in the UAE. By the end of August, he made his debut for “Emirates” and quickly scored his first goal. Despite Iniesta’s star power, the team struggled, remaining at the bottom of the league table.

Nani, 37 years old, represents “Adana Demirspor” in Turkey

In 2022, Nani went to Australia with the intention of ending his career, spending the last few seasons in Melbourne. However, he quickly grew tired of Australia and decided to continue playing at a high level, joining “Adana Demirspor.” While the team fights in the middle of the table, Nani has already played 12 matches, a commendable result. It seems that he has no plans to leave Turkey anytime soon, and why should he? He continues to play.

Javier Hernandez (Chicharito), 35 years old, currently without a club

The all-time leading scorer for the Mexican national team chose not to end his football career. After three years in the USA, he left “Galaxy” at the end of 2023. While it was likely to be the end of his career, it didn’t happen. According to Marca, Chicharito is preparing to sign a contract with Mexican club “Guadalajara,” where he started his professional career 14 years ago. This could be an impressive conclusion for the best scorer in the history of the Mexican national team.

Lukas Podolski, 38 years old, represents “Górnik” in Poland

Despite expectations that he would end his career in Japan in 2017, Podolski decided to return to the game. He spent time in Turkey and then moved to Poland. Since 2021, he has been playing for “Górnik,” and his contract is valid until the summer of 2025. With a record of 2 goals and 2 assists in 15 matches, Podolski continues to perform confidently for his team.

Felipe Melo, 40 years old, represents “Fluminense” in Brazil

After playing for “Inter,” “Juventus,” and “Fiorentina” in Italy, Melo returned to his homeland in 2017. Since 2022, he has been defending the colors of “Fluminense.” He remains in good shape, and although he doesn’t play as much in the second half of the season, he contributes to the team. Melo’s contract is valid for another year, until December 2024, and it is likely that he will fulfill it.

Roque Santa Cruz, 42 years old, plays for “Libertad” in Paraguay

A participant in the 2002 World Cup and a debutant for “Bayern” in 1999, Santa Cruz seemed to end his career in 2017 after playing for “Man City,” “Malaga,” and “Betis.” However, he returned to the Paraguayan league in 2021, where he continues to play. Furthermore, he plans to continue playing in the upcoming season.

Jose Reina, 40 years old, plays for “Villarreal” in Spain

Reina moved to Spain in 2022 after many years at “Bayern,” “Milan,” and “Liverpool.” Although he hasn’t played much in La Liga this season, he has made six appearances in the Europa League. The goalkeeper is in no hurry to end his career, and he seems comfortable at “Villarreal.” He enjoys playing, and it’s likely that he will maintain his game for several more seasons.