Sometimes there is this elderly goalkeeper. Or a senior striker. Occasionally laughed at or mocked when an injury comes up. What’s the use of putting somebody on the field that is not fast enough, has to be regularly substituted and yet still claims a place on the pitch. I won’t argue with the question asked. I Just point at Edwin van der Sar, Manchester United’s goalkeeper who could still be of big importance at age 40. I would think of Sir Stanley – The Wizard – Matthews and how he even played good games of football until his 50th birthday.
There is living legend Roger Milla, who at 38-years-old had his finest hour during World Cup 1990 in Italy, where he scored two goals as a substitute against Rumania and Columbia as well. We all (well the older folks amongst us) remember his performance in the quarter finals, the 2-3 loss against England. Men of middle age got a new role model. In his Indian Summer as a football player he scored one more time at the 1994 World Cup. Milla was then 42 years old. Or young, should I say? He broke his own record of oldest World Cup goal scorer.
Last Sunday another (88 year old) record was broken. At 38 Ryan Giggs scored the first goal against the UAE at the London Olympics and is now the oldest goal scorer in that competition. A valuable goal and an important win for Great Britain. Giggs was selected as the captain and one of the three over-aged players for the Olympic squad. As a record holder of most played games for Manchester United he scored this February a winning goal against Norwich in his 900th match.
Time won’t tell for him as he has played over 21 years at the highest level and might play another season with the Mancunians. Against and amongst young players under 23, the Welsh wizard makes a good combination with 33 year old compatriot Craig Bellamy. I do believe Giggs, who has more caps (64 times for Wales) than half of the British team is of great value. As a general on the pitch and an advisor /spokesman off the pitch. Football is not only a game for youngsters and players under 30 years. Hope is near. I’ll fetch my soccer-boots out of the cellar.
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