The career of a sport like football is very short. This is mainly due to the physical effort that the sport requires. Other issues include injury issues. This is usually a maximum of 10 to 15 years for any player at the top level.
During this period the player experiences a lot of club playing time and gets one shot. But as far as international football is concerned, a player sees less time representing his country than a club. This is due to fewer international games and longer gaps between major international trophies. An average player has seen two to three World Cups at the most.
Top 10 Football Players Who came out of Retirement and Play Again
There are a number of players who have retired relatively early from international football to make way for younger players or to make team changes. The latest example is Eden Hazard, who retired at the age of 31 after an embarrassing group stage exit from the 2022 World Cup. But over the years, some players have come out of retirement to serve their country again, be it for some reason or due to fan pressure, many top players have opted to make a comeback.
10 Football Players Who Came Out Of Retirement
List of Players Who Came Out Of Retirement
- Michel Platini (France)
- Lillian Thuram (France)
- Zinedine Zidane (France)
- George Weah (Liberia)
- Roy Keane(Republic of Ireland)
- Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
- Wayne Rooney (England)
- Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands)
- Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)
- Lionel Messi (Argentina)
10. Michel Platini (France)
The French legend is one of the best players that the European nation of France has produced. He announced his retirement from the French international team in 1987. But he made a comeback on the international scene by representing Kuwait on the world stage. At the request of the Emir of Kuwait, Platini played for Kuwait in a match against the Soviet Union.
9. Lillian Thuram (France)
The French defender is the second most capped French player with 142 matches. He is the winner of the 1998 World Cup with the French team. He decided to retire in 2004 after France’s poor performances in the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. But soon, with the World Cup 2006 approaching, coach Raymond managed to change Dominic Thorem’s mind and forced him out of retirement. He reached the final with the French team only to lose to the Italians. He played until 2008 after leading his team to a disappointing Euro 2008 campaign.
8. Zinedine Zidane (France)
Another French superstar in the list, Zidane retired along with other players like Thuram, Makelele and others. He was also persuaded by coach Raymond Dominique to return and lead the French team at the 2006 World Cup. The Ballon d’Or winner excelled at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, helping them reach the final. The final was marked by the infamous headbutt by Zidane, which resulted in a red card.
7. George Weah (Liberia)
The footballer turned president of the African nation of Liberia was one of the best football players in the world. After his football career, he entered politics in his native Liberia and became president. After retiring from football, Weah played again at the age of 51.
6. Roy Keane (Republic of Ireland)
The retirement/disagreement with the Manchester United star’s coach led to a controversy known as the Saipan incident. Roy Keane has fallen out with Irish national team coach Mick McCarthy. Things took a turn for the worse when Kane gave an interview against the coach and criticized team spirit and the state of the Irish camp. After a heated argument with Kane, McCarthy suspends him and sends him home from the squad.
Roy Keane would return to the camp only after McCarthy’s resignation in 2004. However, Kane has been criticized by many fans for putting United’s interests ahead of those of his national team.
5. Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
It seems the Italian goalkeeping legend never gets old. He is the most capped Italian international and was an important part of the Italian squad defending their goal posts for two decades (1997–2018). He announced his retirement in 2017 but returned in 2018 for international friendly matches against England and Argentina. Gigi credits his return to duty and David Astori as the reason for his comeback.
4. Wayne Rooney (England)
The second most capped player for England and joint top scorer for the English team, Wayne Rooney has had an illustrious career for both club and country. He announced his retirement in 2017. But then he returned to the international stage, not for a competitive match, but for a charity match. The match was his 120th and final appearance in the Three Lions jersey. This match was played between USA and England. The charity was the ‘Wayne Rooney Foundation International’.
3. Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands)
The legendary Dutch goalkeeper is the second most capped player in Netherlands football history. In a radio interview, the goalkeeper expressed his intention to retire after Euro 2008, but due to pressure from coach Bert van Marwijk, he decided to participate in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers as well. This was due to the fact that the other two goalkeepers were injured.
2. Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)
The Morocco international announced his retirement at the age of 28 in early February. The retirement came after the coach was left out of the African Cup of Nations squad. This argument is from June last year. It seems that the coaches were unhappy with Zach’s behavior, which the coaches cited as the main reason. But under new coach Walid Regregai, Hakim Ziyech decided to return and represent his country at the World Cup stage. This World Cup became unusual for an African team as they became the first African and Arab team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.
1. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Leo Messi, regarded by fans and experts around the world as the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T), announced his international retirement following the 2016 Copa America final defeat against Chile. However, he soon returned to lead Albiceleste at the behest of the fans. He is currently leading his team in the World Cup 2022 and will play in the final of the tournament. Messi has yet another chance to lift the coveted trophy which he previously failed in 2014.