Former Tottenham and France star Pascal Chimbonda has made a spectacular return to the football pitch at the age of 44.
Chimbonda, who was previously managing ninth-tier side Skelmersdale United, decided to dust off his boots and sign on as a player.
His comeback was marked by a debut appearance in Skelmersdale’s North West Counties League Premier Division clash with Charnock Richard, where he came on as a substitute.
Pascal Chimbonda boasts an impressive football career, having made 149 appearances in the Premier League.
His talent also earned him a spot in the France squad for the 2006 World Cup, where he experienced the agony of being on the bench during their defeat in the final against Italy.Embed from Getty Images
After hanging up his professional playing boots, Chimbonda transitioned into coaching, eventually taking up the managerial role at Skelmersdale United.
Chimbonda’s return to competitive play occurred four years after his last stint with Ashton Town.
The seasoned defender, known for his agility and defensive prowess during his prime, now found himself back on the pitch in the North West Counties League.
Despite the challenges associated with playing at a professional level in his mid-40s, Chimbonda’s passion for the game evidently surpassed any reservations.
Chimbonda’s comeback match against Charnock Richard unfolded with moments of excitement and disappointment. Skelmersdale took the lead through Yasir Salim, but Charnock equalized just before halftime.
Jack Grimshaw restored Skelmersdale’s lead, only for Charnock to be awarded a controversial penalty late in the game, which they successfully converted.
The match ended in a draw, providing a glimmer of improvement in Skelmersdale’s recent performances.
Prior to his return to the pitch, Chimbonda faced a tough situation when Skelmersdale United suffered a resounding 10-1 defeat to Bury FC.
The manager took to Twitter to express his apologies to the fans, acknowledging the disappointing performance and promising a better showing in the next match.
Chimbonda was appointed as the manager of Skelmersdale United in October the previous year. In his initial statement, he expressed the honour he felt in taking on the managerial role for a club with a rich history like Skelmersdale United.