Monday 27 February 2017

Football and rugby's vintage machines

Lothar Matthaus

Born: March 21, 1961

Played until: Age 39

Matthaus played for Germany for 20 years between 1980 and 2000, winning the European Championships in 1980 and captaining them to the World Cup in 1990. At club level, he won seven Bundesliga titles and one UEFA Cup with Bayern Munich along with Serie A, UEFA Cup and Supercoppa honours with Inter Milan. A World and FIFA player of the year, Matthaus played in five World Cups (the most by an outfield player) and won his second German Player of the Year award in 1999 when he was 38, earning his final caps at Euro 2000. Finished his career with Metro Stars in the US.

Ryan Giggs

Born: November 29, 1973

Played until: Still playing (age 38)

Giggs remains one of the finest players in the English Premiership despite being a year-and-a-half away from his 40th birthday -- placing him in Stanley Matthews icon territory. The winger made his senior debut for Manchester United in 1990 and has won the most honours of any player in English football history -- 12 Premierships, two Champions Leagues, four FA Cups and three League Cups. The only pity is, like Northern Ireland's George Best, the Welshman never got to play in a major international tournament.

David Weir

Born: May 10, 1970

Played until: Still playing (age 41)

The Rangers centre-half became Scotland's oldest international when he was capped against Lithuania in 2010 aged 40, becoming the oldest player to play in the Champions League a few weeks later. A Rangers Hall of Fame player, he is still on the books at Ibrox and featured in their Champions League qualifiers last summer.

Simon Shaw

Born: September 1, 1973

Played until: Still playing (age 38)

Dates back to the amateur era. Shaw was named in England's 1995 World Cup squad, but could not travel due to injury, but made his debut the following year and was still going strong during England's most recent World Cup, 15 years later. A player who seemed to get better and better into his 30s, Shaw made his first Lions tour in 1997 before returning to South Africa in 2009 and forcing his way into the Test side. Still deemed worthy at 38 of a major outlay by Toulon last year.

John Hayes

Born: November 2, 1973

Played until: Age 38

Only retired a few weeks ago after a career that brought numerous honours (Grand Slam, four Triple Crowns and two Heineken Cups) for Munster and Ireland. Blessed with tremendous natural strength, Hayes proved the ultra-professional in his preparation and attitude, allowing him to become Ireland's first Test centurion in 2010 -- and such was his worth to province and country that he was asked to sign a short-term deal this season as cover for the World Cup.

Filo Tiatia

Born: June 4, 1971

Played until: Age 38

The back-row made his senior debut for Wellington in 1992 and was still the Ospreys' main ball-carrier when he eventually called it a day 18 years later. Tiatia won two caps for the All Blacks in 2000 and was known for being in supreme physical condition throughout his career. A cult hero among Ospreys supporters, it was often speculated that Tiatia was actually over 40 when he was playing.

Irish Independent

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