Valbuena latest player over 33 to join Olympiacos
In connection with Mathieu Valbuena moving to Olympiacos this year, AGONAsport looks at players aged over 33 who previously signed for the Piraeus-based organisation.
This summer, Olympiacos secured the services of the gifted Mathieu Valbuena, with the 34-year-old leaving Fenerbahce after two seasons in Turkey. Usually, the diminutive Frenchman is at his most effective on the wings, but he will likely play in the role of an attacking midfielder as a result of Kostas Fortounis’ anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Let’s take a look at players who previously moved to Olympiacos when aged 33 or above:
The famous Argentine defensive midfielder joined Olympiacos at the age of 34 in 2015. Throughout his entire career, Cambiasso was known for his passion and sheer quality in the middle of the park, notably winning the UEFA Champions League during his successful 10-year spell with Internazionale. Cambiasso took his winning traditions to Piraeus, earning the Super League title in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 season. He retired from professional football in 2017 after his Olympiacos contract reached its conclusion.
Cambiasso contributed with seven goals and three assists in 49 Olympiacos matches across all competitions.
The Northern Irish goalkeeper, best known for his stint at Manchester United in the early 2000s, transferred to Olympiacos in January 2012 and remained in Piraeus until the summer of 2014. Carroll’s most memorable moment in an Olympiacos shirt came in his very first appearance. In Russia, Balazs Megyeri was sent off in the closing stages of a UEFA Europa League tie against Rubin Kazan, meaning Carroll was thrown on as a substitute. Carroll immediately had to face a penalty, but he became an instant hero for the Erythrolefki, saving Bibars Natcho’s low spot-kick. Olympiacos went on to progress to the next stage of the tournament.
Toure, now aged 36, was given a huge welcome when returning to Olympiacos in September 2018. However, it turned out to be a thoroughly frustrating period for the Ivorian, as he struggled to get in shape and was left on the sidelines by Pedro Martins. In December, Toure and Olympiacos mutually cancelled his contract, with the midfielder unhappy with his lack of playing time in Greece. Toure now plays for Qingdao Huanghai in China after rumours had initially suggested he had ended his career.
The well-known Paraguayan gained his reputation of a prolific striker when playing for Benfica. At the age of 33, Cardozo was snapped up by Olympiacos for the 2016/2017 campaign, but in truth he was well past his best and never gained any kind of momentum with the Erythrolefki. Cardozo left Piraeus after the season finished having only scored a disappointing three goals in 22 Super League games. Not what the management had hoped for.
In his prime, Abidal was regarded as one of the best full-backs in the world, but the Frenchman signed for Olympiacos when he was already preparing for retirement.
Abidal did sign a two-year contract with Olympiacos in July 2014, but in December of the same year, he suddenly announced that he would retire from the game with immediate effect. The versatile left-back hung up his boots after only playing in nine matches for the Piraeus giants.
Proto started the 2017/2018 season as the back-up to Stefanos Kapino, but after the latter performed poorly in a derby defeat to AEK, the Belgian became the number one goalkeeper for the remainder of the campaign. In what was a miserable season for Olympiacos, Proto was a popular figure among the fans as he made a number of important saves over the course of the year.
This transfer didn’t go to plan at all. Considering his experience, Gillet was expected to be a leader for Olympiacos on the pitch, but his lack of speed was obvious for all to see as the Belgian midfielder looked off the pace. In the dreadful 2017/2018 season for Olympiacos, he played in 28 games, registering two goals and two assists before leaving the Erythrolefki.
The Chilean centre-back, formerly on the books of PAOK, penned a contract with Olympiacos in August 2012 and managed to help the Thrylos win the Greek double. In truth, Contreras didn’t particularly stand out in defence, but he competed in 27 matches and even scored the winning goal in a 1:0 victory against Panthrakikos. Contreras departed Piraeus for Melbourne Victory after that season ended.
He moved to Piraeus when 33 years of age in 2010. In Spain, Ibagaza had gained a great reputation with the likes of Mallorca, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal, and he enhanced that with Olympiacos. Spending four years in Greece, the Argentine attacking midfielder displayed his brilliant technical ability on a regular basis, tallying three goals and 32 assists with Olympiacos while earning six trophies. Ibagaza is now coaching in the Olympiacos youth system.