5 players you probably didn't know are still playing professional football

  • These players made their names in Europe, but despite their advancing years are still playing professionally elsewhere in the world
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Modified 09 Jan 2018, 19:44 IST

Uruguay v Ghana: 2010 FIFA World Cup - Quarter Finals
Diego Forlan, still going strong eight years after the 2010 World Cup

Football careers can take a variety of paths. There are some players who manage to stay at the top until the very end, but for others, injuries, a lack of form or the pull of a return to their native land can see them leave the spotlight of top-level European football much earlier.

The paths their careers then follow are often lost on those who primarily concentrate on the big European leagues. For instance, ex-Bayern Munich midfielder Ze Roberto played on until the age of 43 in Brazil, while former Manchester United and Aston Villa midfielder Eric Djemba Djemba currently plays in the amateur leagues in France.

Here are five players you probably didn’t know are still playing professional football in 2018.

#5 Diego Forlan

Things didn’t quite work out for Diego Forlan at Manchester United, but he nevertheless went on to enjoy a successful career in Spain at Villarreal and Atletico Madrid and also finished as the joint top scorer at the 2010 World Cup and win the Copa America with Uruguay in 2011.

Since leaving European football in 2012, Forlan has embarked on a bit of a globetrotting tour, taking in Brazil, Japan, India and a return to his native Uruguay with Penarol.

After taking a year out in 2017, the 38-year-old has now agreed to join reigning Hong Kong champions Kitchee SC as they prepare for their participation in the 2018 AFC Champions League.

Forlan isn’t the only striker from Uruguay’s 2002 World Cup squad still playing professionally. More remarkably, the incredibly well-travelled Sebastian Abreu, now 41, has just signed for Chilean top flight side Audax Italiano after an impressive return of 11 goals in 13 appearances for the second division team Puerto Montt.

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Published 09 Jan 2018, 19:44 IST
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