Deadline day: Six footballers who look older than they are

Yakubu Aiyegbeni
New Reading signing Yakubu Aiyegbeni, pictured here in 2012, raised eyebrows when he claimed he was just 32

It was a shockwave that reverberated throughout transfer deadline day, news that had fans up and down the country open-mouthed with disbelief.

Could it really be true? Was Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Reading's new signing, really just 32 years old?

The burly Nigeria striker seems to have been around for ages, and many Twitter users had a hard time believing he was two years younger than Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

Lewis Roberts tweet
Lewis Roberts was just one of many Twitter users agape at Yakubu's tender years

But Yakubu is not the only footballer whose age has raised eyebrows.

Here, BBC Sport looks at five other footballers who look older than they really are.

Joseph Minala

Joseph Minala and South Africa defender Rivaldo Coetzee
Minala and South Africa international Rivaldo Coetzee are both 18 years old

Lazio midfielder Minala found himself at the centre of controversy last year after he was forced to deny rumours that he was 41.

Despite his rather venerable appearance, the Cameroonian is 18 years old.

Diego Costa

Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero
Costa and Man City's Sergio Aguero are both 26

Chelsea goal-poacher Costa has the look of a grizzled gunslinger in a spaghetti western, as our own Garth Crooks has pointed out.

So who would have picked him for a callow youngster of just 26 - the same age as fresh-faced Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero?

Hendry Thomas

Perhaps the stress of flirting with relegation during his spell at Wigan Athletic took its toll on the features of midfielder Thomas.

The Honduras international looks a lot older than his 29 years.

Hendry Thomas and Cristiano Ronaldo
Thomas and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo are both 29

Somehow it's hard to imagine him taking orders from fresh-faced former Latics boss Roberto Martinez.

Pablo Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta (left) and Ryan Lochte
Zabaleta is 30 - the same age as fresh-faced Olympic swimming champion Ryan Lochte

Manchester City defender Zabaleta is one of the longest-serving players at Etihad Stadium.

However, only seven years have elapsed since the Argentine joined the club aged 23 - you could be forgiven for thinking it was 17.

Jeremy Toulalan

Jeremy Toulalan and Phillip Lahm are both 31
Toulalan and Bayern Munich captain Phillip Lahm are both 31

Despite cutting a rather superannuated figure in the centre of the park, greying Monaco midfielder Toulalan is still only 31.

It's safe to assume that Toulalan won't be reprising Portugal legend Luis Figo's role as an ambassador of hair-rejuvenation products.

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