Aging often does not keep pace with the demands of the sport, but some players can withstand the creep of time better than others. Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo defends a little, but he has not yet taken the first place, which is owned by Finnish Jari Litmanen, the highest scorer in the history of the European Championship qualifiers.
UEFA.com profiles the men who prove that age is just a state of mind when it comes to finding the net in international football.
Jari Litmanen Finland (39 years, 270 days)
Finland – San Marino, 2010
The Ajax, Barcelona and Liverpool playmaker was nearly 40 years old when he scored on his last international appearance in a Euro 2012 qualifier. Coming on in the first half as Finland took a 1-0 lead, Litmanen brought his team back to life in the second half to give his country an even bigger International victory: 8-0 win over San Marino. He scored from the penalty spot, his 32nd goal in 137 selections, two records.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (38 years, 49 days)
Luxembourg 0-6 Portugal2023
Those who thought that Ronaldo would quietly move away from European football after moving from Manchester United to the Saudi club Al-Nasr at the beginning of 2023 were wrong, as the Portuguese did not stop scoring goals. The UEFA Euro 2016 and UEFA Nations League 2019 winner also has an impressive record in European football, including five Champions Leagues and seven league titles for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus Turin.
Lee CasciaroGibraltar (38 years, 16 days)
Tarek mountain 2-3 Georgia, 2019
Casciaro had just turned 38 when he scored his third international goal. He crept into the far corner to deliver a confident low cross from Ethan Brito from the left, as Gibraltar came from a two-goal deficit to briefly restore par. The striker, who became the oldest player to feature in a European Championship qualifier in March 2023, has spent his entire career with Lincoln Red Imps and can boast of winning more than 50 trophies with the club. He also burst onto the European scene when he scored the winning goal against Celtic in a UEFA Champions League qualifier in 2016.
Goran PandevMacedonia (37 years, 109 days)
Georgia 0-1 North Macedonia2010
Some things had to happen. North Macedonia have never been to the World Cup finals, but they arrived in Tbilisi for the UEFA Euro 2020 play-off knowing that victory would mark a turning point in history. The record holder for appearances and goals carried the nation on his shoulders, eventually scoring the winning goal in the 56th minute.H Minute after great action led by Valerian Gvila and Lasha Dvali. This is his final selection target, which allows him to end his international career during the final stretch. Pandev was a double domestic champion with Inter and Galatasaray, and won the cup with Lazio and Napoli, but his greatest success came when the Nerazzurri won the Champions League in 2010.
Ricardo CarvalhoPortugal (36 years, 316 days)
Portugal 2-1 Serbia, 2015
Carvalho opened the scoring with a powerful header from a Fabio Coentrao cross, giving Portugal an important victory in the group. It was the centre-back’s fifth and final goal for his country and his first international achievement in over seven years. The following summer, at the age of 38, he was the oldest player on the field at Euro 2016 and lifted the trophy to cap an impressive career. At club level, Carvalho won the UEFA Cup and Champions League with Porto before winning eight titles with Chelsea and two with Real Madrid.