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Pepe extends record as oldest player to appear at a EURO

Portugal defender Pepe has underlined his status as the oldest player to ever appear in a UEFA EURO final tournament, stretching his own record to 41 years 130 days.

Pepe, 41, celebrates Portugal's victory over Czechia
Pepe, 41, celebrates Portugal's victory over Czechia NurPhoto via Getty Images

Portugal defender Pepe has extended his own record as the oldest player to appear in a EURO final tournament. He first broke Gábor Király's benchmark when he featured against Czechia on Matchday 1 at UEFA EURO 2024.

The veteran has since raised the bar during Portugal's campaign in Germany, most recently to 41 years 130 days during their quarter-final loss to France. "A neutral watching Pepe play, you wouldn't believe he was 41," said Seleção coach Roberto Martínez. "He's a professional for 24 hours a day. The focus is on playing another year, then another one. Added to that, there's a love of the game and genetics – you can't buy those!"

Hungary goalkeeper Király, the previous record holder, was aged 40 years 86 days when he faced Belgium in the round of 16 at EURO 2016. Before Pepe, the oldest outfield player to feature at a EURO was Lothar Matthäus, who won his 150th and final cap for Germany aged 39 years 91 days at EURO 2000.

Oldest player to appear

Pepe (41 years 130 days)
The evergreen centre-back took an instant liking to the EURO stage, scoring on his final tournament debut against Türkiye at EURO 2008, where Portugal reached the quarter-finals. His team went one better four years later before reaching the pinnacle at EURO 2016, Pepe being named Player of the Match in the extra-time final triumph against hosts France.

Oldest player to score

Luka Modrić (38 years 289 days)

Luka Modrić shows his joy after scoring against Italy
Luka Modrić shows his joy after scoring against ItalyGetty Images

The Real Madrid maestro had just had a penalty saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, but he opened the scoring moments later to give Croatia a second-half lead in an eventual 1-1 draw with Italy in UEFA EURO 2024 Group B. Modrić's close-range effort was his first goal at a European Championship finals since finding the net against Scotland at Hampden Park on 22 June 2021.

Oldest player to win

Arnold Mühren (37 years 23 days)
Ricardo Carvalho was aged 38 years 53 days when Portugal won the trophy in 2016 but he did not appear in the final itself. Mühren is the oldest player to win a decider, the midfielder notably teeing up Marco van Basten to give the Dutch a two-goal lead against the USSR in the 1988 final in Munich.

Oldest player in a final

Jens Lehmann (38 years 232 days)

Jens Lehmann in action for Germany in the UEFA EURO 2008 final
Jens Lehmann in action for Germany in the UEFA EURO 2008 final

Following a successful career with Schalke, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal, Lehmann was on course to bow out of international football on a high in 2008, only to be denied a winners' medal by Spain. It was scant consolation that he established a record that night as the oldest ever EURO finalist.

Oldest scorer in a final

Leonardo Bonucci (34 years 71 days)
Overtaking Bernd Hölzenbein, who had found the net for West Germany against Czechoslovakia in 1976, Italy defender Bonucci became just the second player over the age of 30 to score in a EURO final when he prodded in from close range in the 67th minute to make it 1-1 in their EURO 2020 decider against England.

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