As a player, there can be nothing more devastating than the realisation that your stint at the summit of the beautiful game is over. The passion and hunger may still burn bright but as athletes fall the wrong side of 30, their body enters a state of decline and their ‘touch’ and ‘shooting boots’ become more elusive with each passing weekend.

Some players bow out from the sport gracefully while others frantically gather up thier wage packet like an anxious squirrel preparing for winter. The start of the new season has provided evidence that certain players are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel and should perhaps look to step down a division to prolong their already lengthy career.

Click on Rory Delap to reveal the players who are a shadow of their former selves

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