The continental showpiece will feature some veterans of the game.
UEFA Euro 2020 is right around the corner and all 24 teams involved in the competition are gearing up for the tournament. The participating nations have already announced their final 26-member squad for the continental event. Most teams have picked a combination of young talents and experienced campaigners.
The Euros serve as a great window for the next generation of players in Europe to show their worth and break into the limelight. Moreover, this is also a stage, which the best make their own and lead their nation to glory. The prestigious tournament will also see several high-profile experienced players represent their countries.
These players have amazed all with their longevity and continue to play influential roles in their teams. They have turned veterans, but their worth and dedication to the side remains unquestionable. On that note, here are the top five oldest players who will feature at UEFA Euro 2020.
5. Yuri Zhirkov (Russia) – 37 years, 297 days
Russia could be one of the underdogs of the tournament. They will hope to emulate their 2018 FIFA World Cup performance and cause a few upsets. Yuri Zhirkov is one of their most experienced players.
The former Chelsea player is 37-years-old and plays an important role in the team. He is currently playing at Zenit St. Petersburg. Zhirkov is an ever-present threat on the left wing and will hope to sign off his international career on a high.
4. Goran Pandev (North Macedonia) – 37 years, 315 days
He is the oldest forward going into the tournament. Goran Pandev is the skipper of the North Macedonia national team. At 37-years-old, he is still indispensable for the national outfit and will play a central role in their campaign at Euro 2020.
The former Inter Milan player is older than Zhirkov, as the Russian is August-born while Pandev celebrates his birthday in July. Furthermore, Pandev has announced he will retire from football after the European Championships.
3. Craig Gordon (Scotland) – 38 years, 158 days
Craig Gordon is a goalkeeper who will represent Scotland at Euro 2020. The outfit managed to qualify for their first major international tournament since 1998. They did so in incredible fashion by winning the playoff against Serbia on penalties.
The veteran custodian is among the three goalkeepers named in the 26-man squad. He has previously played for teams like Sunderland, Celtic and currently plays for Hearts. Gordon kept 13 clean-sheets in 26 league games last season.
2. Maarten Stekelenburg (Netherlands) – 38 years, 258 days
Maarten Stekelenburg has made the final squad of the Netherlands national team. The 38-year-old custodian currently plays in the Dutch Eredivisie for Ajax. Born in September 1982, he is the second-oldest player who will participate at Euro 2020.
It will be interesting to see if Stekelenburg is picked ahead of Tim Krul and Marc Bizot. The former Everton player has over 58 caps for the Netherlands and will hope to sign off by lifting the title.
1. Pepe (Portugal) – 38 years, 101 days
Born in February 1983, Pepe is the oldest player on the roster heading into the tournament. Portugal have put their faith in the veteran defender, who is now 38-year-old.
He has been a vital cog in the national side since 2008 and was instrumental in Portugal’s 2016 Euro and 2019 UEFA Nations League title wins. Pepe has already earned 114 caps for the Seleccao and will want to add more caps to his name.
Pepe had an impressive season with FC Porto, where they eliminated Juventus FC in the UEFA Champions League. The defending European champions will rely on the experience Pepe brings to the table once the tournament commences.