El Centrocampista

GOLDEN OLDIES – The La Liga legends who just keep on going

As fixture schedules continue to become more and more congested the strain on modern players increases. More players than ever retire early and many are hampered by injuries throughout their careers.

Whether by luck or by looking after themselves some players manage to prolong their careers and continue playing at the top level for longer than most, notably Ryan Giggs and Paolo Maldini.

With Thierry Henry re-signing for Arsenal, and the continued interest from clubs in signing David Beckham we take a look at some ex La Liga players who continue playing football when most have retired. Some veterans of the beautiful game.

Thierry Henry

The French flyer tasted success at the highest of levels. Thierry has lifted every major trophy in European Football and holds World Cup and European Championship winner’s medals. An outstanding resume which not many can best.

After coming to prominence at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger Henry became one of the most feared strikers on the planet. His out and out pace matched with great technique and a brilliant footballing brain made him almost unstoppable.

In 2007 Henry moved to Catalan giants Barcelona. He spent 3 seasons with the club, in what was a transitional period. In 2008/09 Henry was an instrumental as Barcelona did the treble in Guardiola’s first season.

Now at his 5th club, New York Red Bulls, Henry is still an ever present threat scoring 14 league last season making him the 3rd top scorer in the league. He will re-sign with Arsenal on loan during the MLS off season, perhaps risky on his part, but it would be hard to take the shine of his remarkable career. Thierry Henry is one of greatest players to ever play football.

David Beckham

Beckham signed for Real Madrid in 2003 as the 4th Galactico of Perez’s master plan. The Englishman’s transfer was the subject of mass press coverage and much was expected of him.

Despite being one of the most feared sides Real Madrid were unsuccessful while Beckham was there. He only won one league title, which had to be considered a disappointment. He departed to join Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 after 4 seasons in Spain.

4 seasons in America including intermittent spells with Ac Milan have taken their toll physically but Beckham still soldiers on. He is now out of contract and it is testament to his ability and longevity that there is interest in him from big European clubs at the age of 36.


Deco first came to prominence as part of Jose Mourinho’s all-conquering Porto side of 2004, he had joined the club from rivals Benfica in 1999. Mourinho’s saw the team win the Uefa Cup in 2003 then go one step better next season, famously lifting the Uefa Champions League. That run propelled Mourinho and many of his players (including Deco) onto the world stage.

As Porto’s most influential player it was inevitable that Deco would be sought after.,In 2004 he signed for Barcelona. Success at Barcelona was immediate as he lifted the La Liga title in his first season, the Champions League followed in 2006.

After a spell at Chelsea where he won a league title Deco now finds himself playing for Fluminense in his native Brazil. Last season they crowned Champions meaning Deco has won 4 different league titles.

Clarence Seedorf

Clarence Seedorf seems to have been around forever. He has played for the biggest clubs in Europe, Real Madrrid, Ajax, and both Milan sides. Seedorf has won a remarkable 4 Champions League trophies with 3 different clubs. The charismatic Dutchman is popular with players and fan’s alike.

His time in Spain saw him become an integral part of a dominant Real Madrid side, winning La Liga in his first season and the Champions League the next. The appointment of Guus Hiddink lead to a perhaps premature end to his Spanish career, as he was phased out of the team leading him to join Internazionale in 2000.

Retirement may not be too far away for the 35year old, yet he is still a massive part of Ac Milan’s team. Making 30 appearances last season and over half of their league games this campaign.


Legendary Real Madrid striker Raul is now plying his trade in Germany with Schalke. After becoming almost synonymous with Real Madrid it is strange to see him in a different shirt. The prolific Spaniard scored over 300goals for Madrid in a 16year period also winning 3 Champions leagues, 6 La Liga titles and 2 Copa del Rey.

At international level he was ever present for his country. He was the record-goalscorer until he was overtaken by David Villa in 2011. It is unfortunate for him that he was a generation ahead of the now all-conquering Spanish team.

Raul now leads the line for Schalke and has not his touch, averaging just under a goal every two games. He also showed he could still perform on the highest of levels in 2010/11 as Schalke went on a brilliant Champions League run, reaching the semi-final.


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