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Király joins EURO's greatest oldies

With Gábor Király having become the oldest player to appear at a EURO, EURO2016.com gives some credit to the most venerable performers in the competition's history.

Record-breaker Gábor Király
Record-breaker Gábor Király ©Getty Images

Football: not necessarily a young man's game. Proof? When Arnold Mühren provided the cross for Marco van Basten's astonishing top-spin volley in the 1988 final against the Soviet Union, he was 37 years and 23 days old. The Netherlands' success made him the oldest player to pick up a EURO winners' medal.

Not all players bow out in a blaze of glory. Germany duo Lothar Matthäus and Jens Lehmann set their own records on their international swansongs but while the latter had to settle for a runners-up medal in 2008, the former suffered elimination from the group stage in 2000. UEFA.com takes a closer look at the tournament's more senior contributors.

Oldest player to appear:
Gábor Király (40 years and 74 days)

No longer fated to be remembered solely for his choice of trousers, 'Pyjama Man' took the field with Hungary in their UEFA EURO 2016 opener against Austria at the age of 40 years and 74 days.

If this turns out to be his only outing in France, his record could be broken at UEFA EURO 2016. Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given is 19 days Király's junior, and would eclipse his fellow glovesman if he appeared in the semi-finals or final. Should Király feature in Hungary's last Group F game – or at any later stage – his record will be safe for at least four years.

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 Oldest outfield player to appear:
Lothar Matthäus (39 years and 91 days)
Matthäus's appearance against Portugal at UEFA EURO 2000 had made him the oldest player to figure at a UEFA European Championship – until Király's intervention – and also marked his 150th and final cap for Germany. The former Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern München and Internazionale midfielder surpassed the record set by ex-Denmark coach Morten Olsen, who was 38 years and 308 days old when he endured a 2-0 defeat by Italy in 1988.

The Dane was 37 days older than England keeper Peter Shilton had been when he played his 100th international against the Netherlands in the same tournament two days before.

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Oldest player to win:
Arnold Mühren (37 years and 23 days)

The 1988 final in Munich will forever be remembered for Van Basten's volley but few know the significance of Mühren's appearance. The former Ajax, Twente, Ipswich Town and Manchester United midfielder delivered the ball for Van Basten to give the Dutch a two-goal lead and he remains the oldest member of any winning team.

"Only when we came back to Holland did we realise the madness, the sheer joy and the celebrations that were going on," he recalled. "We missed all that in Germany. The boat trip in Amsterdam was a high point, I couldn't believe what I saw."

  • Some 11 players at UEFA EURO 2016 could break this record if they feature in a final win for their sides: Király, Given, Italy's Gianluigi Buffon, Albania's Orges Shehi, Belgium's Jean-François Gillet, Hungary's Zoltán Gera, Iceland's Eidur Gudjohnsen, Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll, Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho and Ukraine team-mates Vyacheslav Shevchuk and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk.
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Oldest player in a final:
Jens Lehmann (38 years and 232 days)
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.

The No1 was an ever-present in Germany's run to the final, keeping two clean sheets, yet could not prevent Fernando Torres clinching Spain's first major title in 44 years in Vienna. It will be a mere consolation for the German to learn that he established a record that night as the oldest player to have appeared in a UEFA European Championship final.

  • Király, Given, Shehi and Carroll could all break this record at UEFA EURO 2016.
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Oldest player to score:
Ivica Vastic (38 years and 257 days)
The former Sturm Graz and Austria Wien man came off the bench with 26 minutes left against Poland in a UEFA EURO 2008 group game and kept his cool in added time to salvage a draw for Austria from the penalty spot. It was his 14th national-team goal on his 50th outing and made him the oldest player to score at a final tournament.

  • Király, Given, Shehi and Carroll can all set new marks if they notch at UEFA EURO 2016 – though it seems unlikely, as all four are goalkeepers (and shoot-out penalties don't count).
©Getty Images