5 former football superstars who are still playing

Former Barcelona Star David Villa is currently playing in the MLS
Former Barcelona Star David Villa is currently playing in the MLS
Deepungsu Pandit

The world of football players is very demanding. The players are expected to stay at the top of their game consistently throughout their career, while also remaining in the best of shape. They are expected to score, pass, defend and win games, week in week out and sometimes it takes a toll on the men, who fail to live up to the expectations.

However, there are a few legends of the game who have been able to maintain that consistency in their game. They have achieved all the success in the world during their heydays and are still raring to go right now, at the twilight of their career.

While many of their compatriots have chosen to hang up their boots, these five have continued to relish their love of the beautiful game. Read on the find out the 5 former footballing superstars, who you won't believe, are still playing professional football!

#5 Lucio

Lucio (left) during the Internacional v Palmeiras in Series A in 2014
Lucio (left) during the Internacional v Palmeiras in Series A in 2014

Once considered one of the best defenders in the World, Lucio played a stellar role in the Brazil team that won the 2002 World Cup at Korea Japan. He played every minute of the tournament as Brazil became World Champions and he became a household name.

Lucio first came to the notice of the world while playing for Brazilian club Internacional from 1998 to 2000. He joined Bayer Leverkusen in January 2001 and soon became an integral part of the team.

He was particularly impressive the following season, as Leverkusen narrowly missed out from winning the Bundesliga. They reached the UEFA Champions League final, where Lucio equalized for his team against Real Madrid, but ended as runners up. However, it was enough for Munich to come calling in 2004.

At Munich, the Brazilian played some of his best football, going on to become the vice-captain. However, when Louis van Gaal took over the reins, Lucio was not in his plans, so the Brazilian moved on to Inter Milan in the summer of 2009, after winning 3 Bundesliga Titles, 3 DFB-Pokal and 1 DFB-Ligapokal in total.

His stay at Inter Milan was quite fruitful and he ended up winning 1 Serie A Title, 2 Coppa Italia, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 Supercoppa Italiana and 1 FIFA Club World Cup. In July 2012, Lucio moved to Juventus, where he struggled with injuries, but still won 1 Supercoppa Italiana.

After failing to secure game time, the Brazilian left Turin in December 2012, joining Brazilian club Sao Paulo. He went on to play for Palmeiras and then, most recently, for F.C. Goa in the Indian Super League.

Lucio is currently 40 years old and still going strong. He currently plays for Brazilian side Brasiliense.

#4 Bastian Schweinsteiger

Schweinsteiger at the GQ Men Of The Year Award 2018
Schweinsteiger at the GQ Men Of The Year Award 2018

The German midfielder started his career with Bayern Munich, joining the Bundesliga Champions as a youth player in the summer of 1998. He rose through the ranks at Bayern and was promoted to the first team in the 2002/03 season.

He went on to play 13 seasons there, making 500 appearances for the first team, scoring 68 goals. He had a trophy-laden career with the German giants, winning 8 Bundesliga Titles, 7 DFB-Pokal, 1 DFB-Ligapokal, 1 DFL-Supercup and 1 UEFA Champions League. He also won the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Germany

In Louis Van Gaal's second season at Manchester United, the Dutchman brought his former midfield maestro at Old Trafford, ahead of the 2015/16 season. Schweinsteiger had a modest first season, making 31 appearances and scoring 1 goal, winning the F.A. Cup.

With the arrival of Jose Mourinho though, the German International was relegated to training with the reserves, making just 4 appearances and scoring 1 goal. He finally moved on to MLS side Chicago Fire, where he has been highly effective, making 60 appearances in 2 seasons, scoring 7 goals.

Schweinsteiger currently plays his football in the MLS with Chicago Fire and besides playing as a midfielder, has also played as a part of a back three, working as a sweeper.

#3 David Villa

David Villa (right) during the New York City FC - Los Angeles FC game
David Villa (right) during the New York City FC - Los Angeles FC game

The Spaniard was one of the best strikers in the World in his prime and won almost everything that was to offer in Football. Villa started his career with Sporting Gijon, joining the youth team and earning his place in the first team.

He moved to Real Zaragoza in the 2003/04 season, where he scored 39 goals from 94 games in two seasons, winning the Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana. His next destination was Valencia, where he spent 5 seasons, scoring 129 goals in 225 games and earning quite a reputation for finding the back of the net. He won another Copa del Rey during his time at the club.

In the summer of 2010, fresh from winning the World Cup with Spain, Villa joined Barcelona, where he played his best football and became a household name. In his three years at the club, he scored 48 goals from 119 games, winning 2 La Liga Titles, another Copa del Rey, two Supercopa de Espana, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup!.

He then joined Athletico Madrid in 2013, scoring 15 goals from 47 appearances and helping his team with the La Liga Title. After one season with the La Liga side, he shifted to MLS to join New York City in June 2014, from where he went to Melbourne City on a brief loan.

He played for four seasons for New York City, scoring 82 goals from 130 appearances and now plays for J1 League side Vissel Kobe, alongside his former Barcelona colleague Andres Iniesta.

#2 Samuel Eto'o

Samuel Eto'o at the Best FIFA Football Awards
Samuel Eto'o at the Best FIFA Football Awards

The four-time African Player of the Year actually joined Real Madrid at the age of 16. After a series of loan spells, he finally moved to Mallorca on a permanent basis ahead of the 2000/01 season. He played for 4 seasons at the LaLiga side, scoring 70 goals from 160 appearances, winning a Copa del Rey and coming in the radar of Barcelona, who signed him in the summer of 2004.

At the Nou Camp, Eto'o was at his scintillating best, scoring 130 goals from 199 appearances spanning over 5 seasons. He led the line alongside Ronaldinho and Messi at first and then Henry and Messi later on, forming a formidable front three that was one of the most feared in the whole of Europe.

At Barcelona, he won 3 LaLiga Titles, 1 Copa del Rey, 2 Supercopa de Espana and 2 UEFA Champions League, before securing a move to Inter Milan in July 2009, in a deal that saw Ibrahimovic go to Nou Camp.

At Inter, the Cameroonian found great success, winning 1 Serie A, 2 Coppa Italia, 1 Supercoppa Italiana, 1 UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup. After 3 seasons with the Serie A giants, he played in the Russian Premier League with Anzhi Makhachkala. He has since played for a host of clubs, including Chelsea, Everton and Sampdoria among others.

Eto'o currently plays with Qatar SC in the Qatar Stars League. He is 37 years old and does not show any signs of slowing down any time soon.

#1 Xavi

Xavi is still going strong in the Qatar Stars League
Xavi is still going strong in the Qatar Stars League

On the 25th of this month, the Spanish Legend will be 39 years old, however, Xavi has continued playing professional football, reverting back from a retirement decision at the end of last season.

Often regarded as one of the greatest midfielders to have graced the beautiful game, the Barcelona Legend was the backbone of the most successful period of the club's history. He spent 17 seasons at the Nou Camp, where he joined as a teenager and graduated from the fabled La Masia.

The Barcelona legend is perhaps one of the greatest passers of the ball and he was the architect of the tiki-taka that ruled the world as Barcelona reached the pinnacle of success.

Xavi played 767 times for Barcelona, scoring 85 goals and his midfield partnership with Iniesta and Busquets is considered to be the best in the history of the game. His trophy count is endless.

However, at the end of the 2014/15 season, Xavi left Barcelona and joined Qatar's Stars League side Al Sadd, where he is currently playing. He has 100 appearances for the club and has scored 21 goals so far.

He had initially hinted at a desire to retire at the end of the 2017/18 season, preferring to take up a coaching job. However, he signed a contract extension of 2 years at the end of last season and is still going strong.

Edited by Sripad
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