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The oldest players in European Championship history

Portugal’s win over the Czech Republic in their Euro 2024 saw history made, with national icons Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe gatecrashing the list of oldest players to appear at the tournament.

Ronaldo, who also set a new record as the first player to feature in six editions of the Euros, and Pepe both feature as we list the five oldest players to play at a European Championship.

The Oldest Players in European Championship History:

5. Morten Olsen (Denmark vs Italy on 17 June 1988) – 38 years, 308 days

Morten Olsen represented Denmark on 102 occasions to become his country’s most-capped player at the time of his retirement from international duty, representing the Danes in three major tournaments.

Olsen featured in Euro ’88 with his final appearance coming against Italy, aged 38 years and 308 days, as Denmark exited in the group stage. He later managed Denmark for 15 years between 2000 and 2015 and is one of just two men, alongside France’s Didier Deschamps, to achieve 100 matches for his country as both a player and coach.

4. Lothar Matthäus (Germany vs Portugal on 20 June 2000) – 39 years, 91 days

Lothar Matthäus’s record-breaking career with the German national team spanned two decades as the midfielder won 150 caps.

Matthäus became the first outfield player to represent his country in five World Cups and lifted the trophy as captain in 1990, after which he was recognised with the Ballon d’Or. His final appearance for Germany came during the 2000 European Championship, with a defeat to Portugal condemning the holders to a disappointing group-stage exit.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal vs Czech Republic on 18 June 2024) – 39 years, 134 days

Cristiano Ronaldo enters this list at number three after featuring during Portugal’s 2-1 win over the Czech Republic this week.

The 39-year-old is international football’s record goalscorer and continues to accomplish unprecedented feats. His appearance at Euro 2024 comes two decades after his first appearance at a European Championship and Ronaldo has become the first player to feature in six different editions of the tournament.

He is the European Championship’s record scorer with 14 goals and will be hoping to win his second title this summer, after leading Portugal to success in 2016.

2. Gábor Király (Hungary vs Belgium on 26 June 2016) – 40 years, 86 days

Gábor Kiraly became the first 40-something to play at a European Championship in 2016 when the Hungarian shot-stopper took the pitch against Belgium.

Kiraly, who counts Crystal Palace and Burnley among his former clubs and became recognisable for wearing tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts, earned 108 caps for Hungary.

1. Pepe (Portugal vs Czech Republic on 18 June 2024) – 41 years, 113 days

Pepe has broken the record as the oldest player in European Championship history with the centre-back aged 41 years and 113 days when facing the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

The defender’s career has been one of huge success and longevity, having made his international debut for Portugal in 2007.

Since then, he’s won 138 caps, lifted Euro 2016, and has been named in the European Championship Team of the Tournament on three occasions. He is one of just four players to have achieved that feat, alongside Paolo Maldini, Laurent Blanc and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Read – The youngest players in Euros history as Lamine Yamal breaks two records

See more – Five young players who have caught the eye at Euro 2024

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