In the sport of football, players often retire when they reach the age of 35 or higher. According to game specialists, this occurs because many players’ reflexes deteriorate when they reach the age of 30. Footballers have chosen to say their goodbyes to this lovely sport since it is such an important part. Also, at such an age, fitness becomes a major concern. Some footballers, on the other hand, have made their debut at a fairly advanced age. These footballers made their ISL debuts after turning 40, which seems inconceivable given the current trend in football. Let’s take a look at top 5 oldest debutants in Indian Super League.
5. Robert Pirès – 40 years
Pirès announced his return in July 2014 to promote the introduction of the Indian Super League. FC Goa signed him on September 2, 2014, and he became their flagship signing. The 40-year-old stepped out of retirement to play for Goa, one of eight teams in the newly formed league, where he also served as captain.
The Arsenal legend made his league debut for Goa in a 2–1 loss to Chennaiyin FC on October 15, 2014. He received a two-match suspension on October 25, 2014, for disrespecting Atlético de Kolkata manager Antonio López Habas. On November 13, 2014, he scored his first and only league goal in a 4–1 away win over Delhi Dynamos. He played a total of 8 matches in the ISL.
4. Marco Materazzi – 41 years
Materazzi was signed as the player-manager of Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League’s inaugural season on September 22, 2014. Materazzi agreed to a two-year deal with Chennaiyin at $1 million (USD) per season. The renowned Italian defender made his debut appearance for the club in the club’s fourth match of the season, starting in a 5–1 triumph over Mumbai City.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup winner made six appearances for Chennaiyin, who finished first in the league after a 14-game regular season. The Kerala Blasters eliminated the team in the semi-finals of the end-of-season play-offs in extra time.
Materazzi’s contract expired at the end of the 2015 season, as he led Chennaiyin to the Indian Super League title. His departure from the club for 2017 was announced after the completion of the 2016 season.
3. Roberto Carlos – 42 years
On July 5, 2015, Roberto Carlos was named head coach of the Delhi Dynamos for the 2015 season. Coming out of retirement, he also played and made 3 appearances at the age of 42 for Delhi. On November 3, 2015, he made his final appearance for Delhi as a player in a 1-1 draw against NorthEast United FC.
The Brazilian legend led the team to the semi-finals of ISL 2015. It was revealed at the end of the season that he would not return to the Delhi Dynamos in 2016. The former Real Madrid star comes 3rd on the list of the top 5 oldest debutants in the Indian Super League.
2. Jussi Jääskeläinen – 42 years
The former West Ham player only played a single match in the ISL on December 1, 2017. He was ATK’s goalkeeper in a 0-0 draw with Jamshedpur FC. The Finnish keeper made a crucial save in that game when he blocked Farukh’s shot from near the box. With his debut at the age of 42 years, 7 months, and 12 days, Jussi is the second-oldest debutant ever in the Indian Super League.
1. David James – 44 years
David James has 572 Premier League appearances to his name and owns the record for the second most clean sheets in the league (169). He represented big teams like Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham United, Manchester City, and Portsmouth in the Premier League.
In 2014, he came out of retirement to join the Kerala Blasters as a player-manager. The team’s debut match, which James played in on October 13, ended in a 1–0 loss to NorthEast United. The former English international made 12 appearances in his ISL career with only 10 goals conceded. He made 32 saves and kept four clean sheets for the Kerala Blasters. After losing 1–0 in the finals to Atletico de Kolkata, his team finished second in the first ISL season.
On November 30, 2014, James played his final match for Kerala in a 0-1 defeat to Chennaiyin. He left the club at the end of the season. On January 3, 2018, a day after Rene Meulensteen was fired, James was reinstated as the club’s head coach.
Top 5 Oldest Debutants in Indian Super League
|Rank||Player||Position||Club||Age at Debut (in years)|
|1||David James||Goalkeeper||Kerala Blasters||44|
|3||Roberto Carlos||Left-Back||Delhi Dynamos||42|
|4||Marco Materazzi||Centre-Back||Chennaiyin FC||41|
|5||Robert Pirès||Left Midfield||FC Goa||40|
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