5 of the Oldest Goalkeepers Still Playing After Juventus Legend Gigi Buffon Turns 40

Goalkeepers are, by their very nature, capable of greater longevity than their outfield counterparts.

There is less running and more standing still. It is a position, too, that often requires a level of maturity, of levelheadedness and experience.

That is perhaps why there have been many goalkeepers who have continued almost into middle-age. Gigi Buffon is one of those: the venerable Italian turned 40 on Sunday and is still at the top of his profession, still matching the youthful vigour of those two decades his junior.

But he is by no means the oldest goalkeeper to have played the game. Here are five that clearly found it difficult to hang up their gloves.

5. Gábor Király

Gábor Király wears grey trousers and is unapologetically bald. He tucks in his shirt and has the look of a man resigned to his own portliness.

Gábor Király is old. He's 41, actually, but most 41-year-olds aren't like Buffon. Most 41-year-olds are like Király.

There are middle-aged goalkeepers in five-a-side teams around the world who idolise Király, in all his unassuming, delightfully unflashy brilliance. 

He is the oldest player to have featured in the European Championships - thanks to his inclusion in Hungary's squad at Euro 2016 - and there can be no better representative.

4. Robert Kidiaba

Robert Kidiaba is known for his "bum shuffle" celebration, which, according to his Wikipedia page, involves 'bouncing around his penalty area on his backside'.

He is also an ambassador for the Peace One Day charity and stood for the National Party for Democracy and Development in the Congolese elections of 2015.

On the side, he is a goalkeeper. Kidiaba is 41 and still playing; he has been at TP Mazembe since 2002 and before that AS Saint-Luc.

And there is little suggestion that he plans on bringing his career to an end in the near future.

3. Essam El-Hadary

Essam El-Hadary's first club appearance came in 1993. His first international appearance, for Egypt, came in 1996.

Twenty years later, at the age of 46, he is still playing for Egypt, 156 caps and a legendary reputation to his name. He appears to have no intention of slowing down, either. El-Hadary was number one for his country as they confirmed their qualification for this year's World Cup and is expected to travel to Russia in June.

His longevity has led to inevitable record and accolades, but El-Hadary is revered in his homeland regardless.  

"The player who is almost at the same age as my daughter… I treat all my team-mates as brothers and I treat him just like a team-mate," said the veteran in 2016. "I embrace them all and I am always around them giving advice because this is part of my job as a team captain and friend. I don't make them feel the gap in the age because I believe this should be normal."

El-Hadary now plays in Saudi Arabia, the first foreign goalkeeper to do so.

2. Marco Storari

It is an indication of Gianluigi Donnarumma's maturity that the man considered his backup is 23 years his senior.

Marco Storari played for AC Milan between 2007 and 2010, during which time he was shipped out on several loans to clubs in Spain and Italy. Now he is back, aged 41. As was previously the case, Storari is again very much on the sidelines, waiting to be called upon in emergencies and perhaps when Donnarumma needs a farther figure.

Since he returned in January of last year, however, he has played only twice in all competitions. Retirement could beckon soon, then.

1. Brian Jensen

Brian Jensen only started playing in goal aged 15 but it turned out to be a wise choice. He was perfect for it: the "biggest and dumbest" player in the team in his own words. 

At 6 foot 5 and imposingly broad-shouldered, there are few more intimidating goalkeepers. Jensen is best known for his ten years at Burnley, where he was affectionately nicknamed 'The Beast'. It's easy to see why.

Since departing Turf Moor in 2013, Jensen has played for Bury, Crawley and Mansfield. He is now with Crusaders in Northern Ireland, aged 42 and formidable as ever. Perhaps the beast will never be tamed.