• Danny Hughes

7 PLAYERS YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE ARE STILL PLAYING



1. Roque Santa Cruz


Amazingly at 40 years of age Roque Santa Cruz is still playing for Paraguayan club Libertad. Most well known for his stints with Bayern Munich, Blackburn, and Manchester City Santa Cruz is currently plying his trade and his ninth club.


Santa Cruz has five Bundesliga titles to his name as well as a European cup. He left City in 2013 to join Malaga after a successful loan spell there the year before.


Santa Cruz has endured a decorated career which includes three World Cup entries with Paraguay and is astonishingly still going strong.



2. Alex Song



Image Credit - Goal


Somehow only 34, it seems Alex Song has been around forever but his time at the top of the European game came to an end some time ago. Following two loan spells at West Ham, Song left Barcelona permanently in 2016 for Russian Premier League side Rubin Kazan. After two years and only 22 appearances he joined Sion in Switzerland.


That would be the last time we see Alex Song in Europe as he made the venture to Djibouti Premiership side Arta/Solar7. A club with many questions hanging over its name, one being their name itself and why they’re named after a solar power company; Arta/Solar7 have also managed to attract Diafra Sakho and Carlos Kameni to the club.


At only 34 Song is probably capable of playing at a higher level and show some of the promise he had at Arsenal and Barcelona but we can only assume he’s earning a pretty penny in Djibouti.



3. Shunsuke Nakamura





In just four years in Scotland, Nakamura became a cult hero amongst the Celtic faithful which was helped with a stunning free kick during a Champions League win against Manchester United.


Now 44, Nakamura has been playing for Japanese side Yokohama since 2019 and weirdly has an Asteroid named after him.


98 appearances and 24 goals for Japan doesn’t make for bad reading either. He featured in the 2006 and 2010 World Cup and soon after the 2010 finals he hung up his international boots.


This list could be redone in 2030 and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was still playing. A player who simply loves playing, Nakamura is a legend of the game.



4. Ryan Babel





In 2019, Premier League viewers witnessed the return of Ryan Babel to the Premier League this time with Fulham not Liverpool.


At 35 Babel is still gracing the pitch in Turkey with Eyüpspor and up until recently was still turning out for Holland. A brief spell at Ajax and time with Galatasaray, Besiktas, and Hoffenheim have been Babel’s most notable clubs since leaving Merseyside.


Towards the back end of his career Babel has dipped his toes into the world of YouTube but he never quite turned into the world beater on the pitch people thought he could’ve been.



5. Loïc Rémy





A nightmare for defenders on his day, Rémy will be mainly remembered for his time at QPR and Newcastle. He earned a big money move to Chelsea which didn’t work out, like most of Chelsea’s forward acquisitions.


Rémy tore up Ligue 1 with Nice and Marseille having near identical goal and appearance records with both clubs.


Despite his prolific scoring in France he never quite managed to replicate it in England despite showing glimpses of his talent.


Since 2020, Rémy has been playing in Turkey and is currently featuring for Adana Demirspor, the same club who also employ Mario Ballotelli and Britt Assombalonga.



6. Frank Ribéry





One of the 21st century's greatest talents, Ribéry spent the majority of his career at Bayern Munich winning title after title.


Ribéry left the Allianz in 2019 for Fiorentina, but after two years he left in search of a new challenge.


At 39 Ribéry recently joined Salernitana who have just made their return to Serie A after a 23 year wait.



7. Javi Martinez





At just 33 Javi Martinez should just be slowing down and still competing in Europe’s toughest leagues however, in 2021 Martinez joined Qatar SC from Bayern Munich which has all but confirmed the end of his playing days in Europe.


The 6’2 defensive midfielder made his name at Athletic Bilbao before earning a move to German giants Bayern Munich. Although he was heavily linked with a return to Spain and Athletic Bilbao, Martinez instead went to Qatar Stars League club Qatar SC.