There's mixed feelings when looking through the latest list of football's free agents, which includes the likes of John Terry, Claudio Marchisio and Yaya Toure.
Amid the twang of sympathy, there's the reasoning that some of these players are blessed with wonderful talent which should be displayed in front of thousands of adoring fans for a more years yet. As it stands, some of them are simply unwanted, like a toy that fell out of favour soon after Christmas.
But then there's the reality check, that mullti-millionaire footballers in their 30s financially don't really need to play again as they're sorted for life, so maybe it is best they don't put pen to paper on a new contract which will see them earn another seven figures in wages in return for a flurry of appearances before injury sidelines them for another six months.
Still, without an official retirement announcement, we must take it that the fires of desire are burning and the love of the beautiful game remains strong for these individuals.
An obvious trend among the players selected in the slideshow above is their age. Is there no longer a place for the experienced leader in top flight football? Granted, pace was never the strongest attribute of Yaya Toure and John Terry, but you would expect players of such know-how to be of value to many clubs in top divisions around Europe.
Increasingly though, we are seeing players, unworried by the season having already started and financially unburdened, waiting for what they consider to be the right move. Who would have thought Claudio Marchisio would start a Serie A season without a club at the age of 32?
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