“He’s still playing?”
Nothing stirs our cold, cold hearts like finding out a player we thought had retired years is still lacing up his boots every weekend.
Here we present to you 11 players you had *no idea* were still playing.
Okay, given that you’re passionate football fan you probably did know about a few, but hopefully some surprise you…
1 Diego Forlan
The former Villarreal and Atletico Madrid goal machine is clinging onto the dream in Hong Kong.
Apparently his salary is a tightly-kept secret but the 38-year-old Uruguayan draws a crowd and sells his more than his fair share of shirts.
He scored five goals (including a hat-trick) as Kitchee retained their Hong Kong Premier League title but some were left underwhelmed by his efforts.
2 Joe Cole
The man Steven Gerrard once said was as good as Lionel Messi.
36-year-old Cole is seeing out his final days with Tampa Bay Rowdies in the second tier of US football.
He was briefly team-mates with notorious Football Manager wonderkid/vacuum cleaner salesman Freddy Adu.
3 Robbie Keane
Determined to boast one of the strangest career paths ever, Keane signed for Indian Super League club Atletico de Kolkata in 2017.
The Irish forward is now cartwheeling inside a 85,000-seater stadium… not that it’s full very often.
Oh yeah, Teddy Sheringham was his manager until recently as well…
The Barcelona legend is expected to announce his retirement any day now but he’s still technically an Al Sadd player as it stands.
He’s expected to take over as coach of the Doha-based club for next season with a view to potentially managing Qatar at the 2022 World Cup.
5 Rafael van der Vaart
The first ever winner of the prestigious Golden Boy award has been warming the bench at Midtylland, the Danish club of Man United conquering fame.
The local press are largely in agreement the 35-year-old has been a ‘flop’ and he’s set to leave the club this summer when his contract expires.
He’s not ready to hang up his boots just yet though, he’s supposedly trying to engineer a move to the mighty Esbjerg fB, who we’re fairly certain have never had an ex-Real Madrid player in their ranks previously…
6 Bastian Schweinsteiger
The 2014 World Cup-winning hero is with Chicago Fire in MLS.
His knees aren’t what they used to be and so he’s traded midfield for defence, recently playing at centre-back against Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s LA Galaxy.
Speaking of which…
7 Ashley Cole
Zlatan’s transfer to LA Galaxy reminded us that not only does Ashley Cole exist, he’s still putting in a shift at left-back.
Once the best player in the world in his position, the 37-year-old has provided two assists for Zlatan since the season started in March.
A match made in nostalgic heaven.
This one is wild.
The Brazilian centre-back, formerly of Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, is currently on the books of Brasiliense in Brazil.
39-years-young — we honestly thought he retired at least four years ago.
9 David Villa
Most of you were probably vaguely aware that the Spaniard is still plundering goals stateside.
The New York City forward recently became one of six active players with 400+ career goals to his name, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Suarez and…
10 Samuel Eto’o
The Cameroonian prince.
The Turkish league is a perfectly respectable standard and so many of you will have seen Eto’o’s name crop up now and then for Konyaspor.
Even at 37-years-old he’s averaging a goal every other game since his controversial switch from Antalyaspor.
In fact, his record in Turkey stands at 49 goals from 89 league games — he could go on for years!
11 Didier Drogba
The Ivory Coast legend has announced his intention to retire from football at the end of the current MLS season but for now he’s still plugging away.
The 40-year-old has gone one further than player-manager at Phoenix Rising, he’s player-owner of the second tier club.
Drogba has bullied his way to 11 goals in 16 games since crossing the pond and is still an outstanding athlete.
BONUS BALL: 38-year-old Florent Malouda currently plays for FC Differdange 03 in Luxembourg — get your head around around that.
We know that’s 12 but we’re still not going to change the headline; 11 just sounds better.