Just days after South America produced the youngest ever professional soccer player in 12-year-old [now 13] Mauricio Baldivieso
, the continent has now brought a 46-year-old player out of retirement. On Wednesday, America de Cali of Columbia re-signed Antony de Avila
, the 5-foot-3 in striker nicknamed "El Pitufo," or "The Smurf." De Avila is America de Cali's all-time top scorer with 201 goals. He has netted 29 goals in the Copa Libertadores, making him the sixth highest scorer in the competition's history. He is, unfortunately, also the only player to have lost five Libertadores finals.
De Avila retired 10 years ago. His other clubs include Union de Santa Fe and the MLS MetroStars, while he was capped 53 times by Colombia, amassing 13 goals. The oldest player on record to have played a professional game is Doncaster Rovers' John Ryan
, who was and still is the owner of the club, at 52 years old. The legendary Stanley Matthews
also played until he was 50.
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