USA legend Landon Donovan is set to return for the LA Galaxy two years after retiring from football.

Donovan is making a return to football with LA Galaxy

With LA Galaxy in the midst of an injury crisis, they have turned to one of their most famous sons to help the team through to the end of the season. 

At the age of 34, Donovan is somewhat of a spring chicken given that the likes of Ryan Giggs continued playing at the highest level beyond the age of 40. 

In honour of Donovan’s return, here’s a look at some of the other golden oldies who laced up the boots once more.


The Brazilian legend was the picture of longevity during his 24-year career. 

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Romario made his name as a prolific goalscorer with, PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona. At the age of 29, he returned to his home country where he remained (except for one brief spell with Valencia) variously with Flamengo, Vasco da Gama and Fluminense. 

Romario lifts the World Cup in 1994

As he approached his forties, he turned into something of a journeyman, moving to America with Miami FC, Australia with Adelaide United, and back to Brazil for a fourth spell at Vasco da Gama. 

In early 2008, after 55 goals in 70 games for Brazil and a reputed 1,000-goal playing career (though there is doubt over the validity of all the goals), Romario finally hung up his boots.

But in August 2009, at the age of 43, Romario announced his return to football with Brazilian club America, to fulfil his late father’s wish to represent the side.

Once that wish had been enacted, Romario hung up his boots for a second and final time.

The goalscoring giant was elected to the Senate two years ago in a seat in Rio de Janeiro. 

Jens Lehmann

The German goalkeeper (one of an embarrassment of riches that the country had in goal at the time), started his lengthy career with a ten-year spell at Schalke 04. 

After a brief stay with Milan and a further four years with Borussia Dortmund, Lehmann became more known to English football fans when he joined Arsenal to replace David Seaman and be the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Lehmann’s stay with Arsenal had its ups and downs. In his first season, the club won the Premier League title in an unbeaten season, but the Gunners are yet to win another top-flight crown. 

He saw his position come under threat from Manuel Almunia on numerous occasions, but fought back to retain top spot and was instrumental in seeing Arsenal qualify for the 2006 Champions League final.

Lehmann lifting the FA Cup trophy with Patrick Vieira in 2005

Unfortunately for Lehmann, he was sent off early on for a foul on Samuel Eto’o and Barcelona went on to win 2-1.

After two more seasons at the Emirates, Lehmann joined Stuttgart and retired from the game a year later.

But in March 2011 season, Arsene Wenger saw three of his four goalkeepers go down injured, and with only Manuel Almunia fit to play he called upon the services of his former shot-stopper. 

Lehman came out of retirement to provide back-up for the last few months of the season. In doing so, the 41-year-old Lehmann became Arsenal’s oldest Premier League player. 

But at the end of the season, and after doing his old manager a favour, Lehman retired for good. 

Henrik Larsson

For most fans, Swedish striker Larsson will be most synonymous for his time at Celtic. He spent seven years at the club, scoring 174 goals in 221 league games. 

He moved from Celtic Park to the Camp Nou, spending two seasons with Barcelona before returning to his native country with Helsingborgs (though he also had a loan spell with Manchester United and helped Sir Alex Ferguson’s side win the Premier League).

After two more seasons in Sweden, he retired in October 2009.

Larsson was a Celtic legend

But in August 2012, Larsson signed with Swedish lower-league side Raa IF, before fulfilling a promise to end his career with Hogaborgs BK. He didn’t feature for the side much, but he did manage to run out alongside his 15-year-old Jordan son – who outdid his old man and got on the scoresheet in a 4-2 win

Larsson retired for a second time and became manager of Helsingborgs in November 2014. But in a June 2015 friendly, the gaffer subbed himself on to the field. 

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Socrates was one of the world’s best and most recognisable footballers during the seventies and eighties. A prodigiously talented footballer – and a qualified doctor to boot – and a prolific goalscorer, he fired in goals for the likes of Corinthians and Botafogo, as well as scoring 22 goals in 60 games for Brazil, before retiring in 1989.

Then, in 2004, Sócrates shocked the footballing world by making a return for Yorkshire side Garforth Town in the North East Counties Football League. He was 50 years old. 

During a one-month deal as player-coach, Sócrates made one appearance in a 2-2 draw with Tadcaster Albion. The turn of events is certainly one of footballer’s more amazing stories.

Getting loose for his new Yorkshire teammates

Sadly, Sócrates died in 2011 aged 57, but the memories of his footballing skills will live on in all who saw him play.

Paul Scholes

The United legend and Class of ’92 member played out all 19 years of his career at Old Trafford. He scored 107 goals in 500 league appearances, winning 11 Premier League and two Champions League titles during a glittering career.

Scholes did not have as much success with England as his unrivalled talent demanded. He made only 66 appearances, and was often bumped out of position to the left wing in favour of the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

He was just 29 when he retired from international duty, but went on to play for United for seven years before retiring from football altogether.

Or so we thought. Only five months after he had retired, Scholes returned to help the club deal with a midfield injury crisis. United finished second in the 2011/12 table, and Scholes even signed a one-year extension to play on in the following year. United went on to win the Premier League title that season in what proved to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s final year in charge.

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Scholes retired for good alongside the only club manager he’d ever known. He is now a respected TV pundit and joint-owner of Salford FC.

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