Pepe set a new UEFA Champions League record this week after becoming the oldest goalscorer in the competition’s history.
The FC Porto defender is still going strong after a decorated career at the top of the game, one which saw the Portuguese centre-back win a hat-trick of Champions League trophies during his time at Real Madrid.
Pepe’s goal against Royal Antwerp moved Porto a step closer to the knockout rounds and saw the veteran become the first player to score a Champions League goal aged 40 or over.
We’ve ranked the five oldest players to score in the Champions League era.
Ranking the oldest goalscorers in Champions League history:
5. Javier Zanetti (Inter) v Tottenham Hotspur, 20 November 2010 – 37 years 72 days
Javier Zanetti barely appeared to age during an illustrious career at Inter Milan. The full-back made a club-record 858 appearances for the Italian side in all competitions, in a career with the club that spanned almost two decades after arriving from Banfield in Argentina.
There was rarely a hair misplaced during that time, with the evergreen Argentine a model of consistency and class for the Nerazzurri. Zanetti won five league titles with Inter and the greatest season of his career came in 2009/10, as the defender captained the Nerazzurri to Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble success under Jose Mourinho.
⚫️🔵 Javier Zanetti at Inter:
UEFA Champions League 🏆
UEFA Cup 🏆
Serie A 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Club World Cup 🏆
Coppa Italia 🏆🏆🏆🏆
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 10, 2022
The following season, Zanetti scored his final Champions League goal, aged 37 years and 72 days. He opened the scoring inside two minutes of a 4-3 win over Tottenham, a clash best remembered for Gareth Bale’s stunning hat-trick at the San Siro.
4. Filippo Inzaghi (AC Milan) v Real Madrid, 3 November 2010 – 37 years 87 days
Filippo Inzaghi continued to sniff out goals well into his late thirties, with the Italian one of the greatest goalscorers of his generation. Inzaghi scored 46 goals in 81 games in the Champions League, including a brace in AC Milan’s 2-1 final win over Liverpool in 2007.
Inzaghi’s final goal among Europe’s elite came during a 2-2 draw with Real Madrid in the 2010/11 group stage. The 37-year-old scored both Milan goals in an entertaining contest with the Spaniards at the San Siro.
3. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United) v Benfica, 14 September 2011 – 37 years 290 days
The career of Ryan Giggs was one of extraordinary success and longevity. The Welsh winger burst into the Manchester United team as a teenager and remained a fixture in the side past his 40th birthday.
Giggs made a record-breaking 963 appearances in all competitions during a one-club career with the Red Devils, where he became English football’s most decorated footballer. Giggs won an astonishing 13 Premier League titles as Manchester United dominated the division under Sir Alex Ferguson, and lifted the Champions League twice.
Giggs scored a brilliant solo goal to earn Manchester United a 1-1 draw at Benfica in September 2011, aged 37 years and 290 days. The midfielder’s individual effort cancelled out Oscar Cardozo’s opener for the Portuguese side in Lisbon.
2. Francesco Totti (Roma) v CSKA Moskva, 25 November 2014 – 38 years 59 days
Francesco Totti’s unbreakable loyalty to Roma meant the forward never truly got the chance to compete for club football’s biggest prize, but he remains one of the most celebrated talents of his generation.
Totti scored 17 goals in 57 appearances in the Champions League for Roma, with his last scored against CSKA Moscow in November 2014.
Totti’s goal opened the scoring in Russia and made the forward the Champions League’s oldest goalscorer at that time, but his milestone moment was overshadowed as Vasili Berezutski scored a stoppage time equaliser for the hosts.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 23, 2020
1. Pepe (FC Porto) v Royal Antwerp, 7 November 2023 – 40 years and 254 days
Pepe broke Totti’s record to become the first player to score a Champions League goal over the age of 40.
The Portuguese centre-back had become the oldest outfield player in Champions League history last month, before his emphatic late finish against Royal Antwerp on Matchday Four wrote his name further into the history books.
At 40 years old, Pepe becomes the oldest player to score in the Champions League 🍷 pic.twitter.com/qmdqm63Y5K
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 7, 2023
Pepe will celebrate his 41st birthday in February, but can he become the Champions League’s oldest player ever?
That record currently belongs to former Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta, who appeared against Real Madrid aged 43 years and 252 days in December 2007.