Big name soccer stars that now play for obscure clubs
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DURBAN - Life can be strange and some footballers who were household names in the football world now find themselves playing for obscure teams.
Here are some high-profile players still playing, but in modest leagues.
Ten years ago, the Brazilian was playing for Inter Milan and widely considered to be the best right wing-back in world football. With Inter, he won four Serie A titles and was a key component of Jose Mourinho’s Inter side which won the Champions League in 2010.
Now 39 years old, Maicon is still active and playing in the Italian Serie D (fourth tier) for Sona.
Musa plays for a less obscure club than Maicon but it’s safe to say that his career has been obscure. Just five years ago, the Nigerian was a record high-profile signing by then reigning English Premier League Champions Leicester City.
At the age of just 28 when he is supposed to be in the prime of his career, he finds himself back in his homeland of Nigeria and playing for Kano Pillars.
Musa’s case has been interesting. The Nigerian league is not among the elite in Africa. Surely he could have attracted offers from big leagues due to his Premier League experience, and even if he wanted to come to Africa, surely he could have played in Egypt, Morocco, or South Africa?
During his time with Celtic, the former Japan international established himself as a worldclass dead-ball specialist. He is best remembered by many for a 30-yard free-kick stunner which earned Celtic a shock 1-0 win over Manchester United in a Champions League clash in 2006.
Now 42 years old, Nakamura plays professional football in his homeland for J-League club Yokohama FC.
Morten Gamst Pedersen
In his nine-year spell in England with Blackburn Rovers, Pedersen developed a reputation for scoring some delightful free kicks. Along with South Africa’s Benni McCarthy and Steven Pienaar, he was one of the Premier League’s most feared and admired players from outside the traditional giants in the late 2000s.
The 39-year-old is still active in the Norwegian third tier for Alta where he has been a prolific scorer.
The American is best remembered for his spells with Manchester United, with whom he won the FA Cup, and Everton, with whom he clocked 329 Premier League experiences, establishing himself as a club legend.
Howard is also remembered for often single-handedly marshalling an extremely errorprone and soft US national team defence in the early part of the last decade, as he did in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups to help his country finish in the last 16 of both competitions.
Howard retired from professional football in 2019 following a three-year spell with US-based Colorado Rapids.
He could not stand retirement it seems, and resurfaced a year later aged 41 with American USL Championship club Memphis 901 FC where he is also a minority owner and sporting director.