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Age is just a number: Here are 5 golden oldies shining at Euro 2016

For Euro 2016 giants Spain, Italy and Portugal, experienced heads are proving their worth in the tournament. Here are five golden oldies who have shone in the first 10 days of competition.

euro 2016 Updated: Jun 19, 2016 21:31 IST
AFP
Euro 2016

The experienced heads are proving their worth in the Euro 2016 tournament.(Agencies)

For Euro 2016 giants Spain, Italy and Portugal, experienced heads are proving their worth in the tournament. Here are five golden oldies who have shone in the first 10 days of competition.

Gabor Kiraly, Hungary

The oldest player ever to play in a Euros, 40-year-old Kiraly is still cutting a dash with his unique style of grey tracksuit trousers.

Kiraly has also shone in a dream start for Hungary in their first major finals for 30 years.

Only Gylfi Sigurdsson’s penalty for Iceland in Saturday’s 1-1 draw has got past him as he shut out highly-fancied Austria in a opening 2-0 win.

Read | At 40, Hungary’s Kiraly becomes the oldest footballer to play in Euro

“I never said I had old players, I have good players. I still think he’s one of the best players in the world,” said Hungary coach Bernd Storck on his stopper.

Hungary goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly clears the ball past Iceland's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson during the Euro 2016 Group F football match between Iceland and Hungary at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France. (AP Photo)

Gareth McAuley, Northern Ireland

Veteran West Brom defender McAuley had thousands of Northern Ireland fans singing in the unrelenting Lyon rain by heading home his country’s first ever goal in a European Championship finals in an equally historic 2-0 win over Ukraine.

At 36 years and 194 days, he is the second oldest goalscorer at Euro finals, and the oldest from open play after Ivica Vastic, who was two years and 63 days older, when he converted a penalty for Austria against Poland at Euro 2008.

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley celebrates scoring their first goal against Ukraine at Stade de Lyon, France. (Reuters Photo)

Gianluigi Buffon, Italy

He may be 38, have 159 caps and be playing a remarkable ninth major finals, but Italy and Juventus captain Buffon remains one of the best ‘keepers in the world’.

Yet to concede in two games as Italy emerged from Group E as winners with a game to spare, he showed no signs of old age as he careered forward to celebrate the Azzurri’s surprise 2-0 win over Belgium by swinging on the crossbar at the other end of the field...before embarrassingly falling into the back of the net.

“At this age I’m even more aware of what it means to take part in a Euros and to wear the Italy shirt,” said Buffon, who is aiming to be the first ever player to appear in six World Cups by extending his international career to Russia 2018.

Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon sits on a ball as he warms up before the Euro 2016 group E football match between Italy and Sweden at the Stadium Municipal in Toulouse. (AFP Photo)

Andres Iniesta, Spain

A youngster at 32, but a veteran of Spain’s three consecutive major tournament wins between 2008 and 2012, Barcelona’s midfield maestro Iniesta has been in supreme form - winning man-of-the-match in both the European champions wins so far at Euro 2016.

Spanish sports daily AS’s front cover read “global astonishment!” on Wednesday at the homages being paid to Iniesta across the world.

“His ability to destabilise the opposition is unbelievable. And as the years go by, he just gets better,” said Barca and Spain teammate Sergio Busquets.

Spain's midfielder Andres Iniesta (right) runs with the ball past Turkey's defender Gokhan Gonul during the Euro 2016 group D football match between Spain and Turkey at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice. (AFP Photo)

Ricardo Carvalho, Portugal

Whilst Kiraly and Buffon shine between the sticks, at 38, defender Carvalho is the oldest outfield player at the Euros as part of a veteran crew of Portuguese centrebacks, none of whom are under 30.

And after shutting out Austria in a 0-0 draw on Saturday, the former Chelsea defender refused to rule out prolonging his international career:

“I have had a great time representing my country, but I don’t know (about retirement). I am 38, but I feel great, I don’t feel tired.”

England's Dele Alli in action with Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho (left) during a friendly at the Wembley stadium. (Reuters File Photo)

Read | 2nd time lucky? Italy goalkeeper Buffon avoids falling off crossbar after win

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