Six footballers who were class in their 40s as Ibrahimovic extends AC Milan stay

The evergreen Zlatan Ibrahimovic made headlines earlier this week after he penned a new one-year deal with AC Milan that will take him beyond his 41st birthday.

Ibrahimovic helped the Italian giants end their 11-year Scudetto drought last term after netting eight league goals for Stefano Pioli's side. And the Swedish superstar has been rewarded with fresh terms to keep him at the San Siro for another 12 months.

Throughout his iconic career, Ibrahimovic has developed a habit of making extraordinary things look ordinary, but the Milan ace is far from the only footballer who has kept their career going past their 40th birthday. Here, Daily Star Sport takes a look at six golden oldies who could rival Ibrahimovic's illustrious career.

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Paolo Maldini

Maldini enjoyed a 25-year playing career in Italy – and played well past his 40th birthday after making his senior bow as a 16-year-old for AC Milan.

The Italian stalwart made over 900 appearances for the Serie A giants and won seven league titles and five Champions League crowns.

Despite interest in his services, Maldini stayed loyal to Milan throughout his entire career and his rightly gone down in club folklore since his retirement in May 2009 at the age of 41. The club have even retired his iconic No.3 shirt – and will only allow it to be worn by one of Maldini's sons going forward.

Ryan Giggs

Can you think of any other golden oldies who played into their 40s? Let us know in the comments section below

One club-man Giggs is a Manchester United legend after his stunning 24-year playing career. The Welshman came through the ranks at Old Trafford with a host of other blockbuster names in the 'Class of 92'.

However, few of the names can match Giggs when it comes to longevity. Giggs clocked up over 960 appearances for United, netting 168 goals in all competitions.

After playing on just past his 40th birthday, Giggs called it a day at the end of the 2013/14 season – with 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League crowns and four FA Cup triumphs to his name.

Francesco Totti

Another one club-man, Totti spent the entirety of his 25-year playing career on the books at AS Roma.

The Italian genius made over 780 appearances for the Italian giants and didn't call it quits until well past his 40th birthday.

Despite his storied career in Rome, Totti retired with just one domestic title to his name following Roma's 2001 Scudetto triumph. However, the 45-year-old did taste World Cup glory with his country back in 2006.

Teddy Sheringham

Sheringham pretty much done it all during his storied playing career – and considering that the striker played until the age of 42, it should come as no surprise that the former England star played for a whole host of clubs.

After bursting on the scene at Millwall, Sheringham went on to bang in goals for Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and Tottenham in the Premier League. Sheringham joined West Ham in the twilight of his career and carried on rattling in goals at the age of 40.

Sheringham linked up with Colchester United in the summer of 2007 but finally hung up his boots for good at the end of his first full year in Essex.

Javier Zanetti

Zanetti is another Italian stalwart who spent a large portion of his career at one of Italy's biggest clubs.

Zanetti – who retired shortly after his 40th birthday – spent almost two decades at Inter Milan after he was snapped up from Banfield in his native Argentina back in 1995. The defender won five league titles, eight domestic cups and the Champions League during his time in Milan and also clocked up 143 caps for his country.

The Milan favourite made such a big impact at the club that his iconic No.4 shirt was retired after he hung up his boots, and he was even named as the club's vice-president.

Gianluigi Buffon

Buffon is widely regarded as one of the most iconic goalkeepers of his time after a sparkling playing career in Italy.

Goalkeepers tend to play on for longer than their outfield teammates, but Buffon is still playing to this day – even though he is due to turn 45 later this year.

The legendary shot-stopper, who is now back on the books at his first club, Parma, has even penned a deal that will keep him with the Serie B side until the age of 46.

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