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A near-50-year-old player will become one of the oldest footballers ever to play a professional game…

From the young to the old.

Just days after South America produced the youngest every professional footballer in 12-year-old [now 13] Mauricio Baldivieso, the continent has now brought a 46-year-old player out of retirement.

Antony de Avila was yesterday re-signed by one of his old clubs, America de Cali of Colombia as the pairing look to set another record.

The 5ft 3in striker nicknamed ‘El Pitufo’[The Smurf] already holds the record for being America de Cali’s all-time top scorer with 201 goals. He has also netted 29 times in total in the Copa Libertadores, making him the sixth highest ever goalscorer in the competition’s history. He is, unfortunately, also the only player to have lost five Libertadores finals.

De Avila was reportedly signed up by the Cali-based outfit after he impressed during a training session. But what is even more astonishing about the veteran is that he retired from football ten years ago after spending his final two seasons with Barcelona SC.

His other clubs include Union de Santa Fe and MetroStars, while he was capped 53 times by Colombia, amassing 13 goals.

The oldest player on record to have played a professional game is Doncaster Rovers’ John Ryan, who was and still is the owner of the club, at 52 years old. The legendary Sir Stanley Matthews also played until he was 50.   

KS Leong, Goal.com

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