The young talented players who can press the opposition for the whole 90 minutes are certainly exciting to watch, but football is not all about that. Many will underestimate the quality that a player in his 30s can provide to his team. This is an article about the best 30+ year-old players in 2022.
Comparing to normal professions, football players have a shorter career. Typically, a professional football player starts his career when he is still a teenager in football academies. If he is good enough, he will find the chance to make his debut in a senior-level club when he is about 20 years old. The majority of football players reach the peak of their career around 25-29 years of age. Then from their 30th birthday, it will be a downhill and you could barely find a professional football player who could still perform for the elite clubs at 35+ years old.
But as the old saying goes,
form is temporary, class is permanent
. Usually there are two types of players that could be considered as the
best 30+ year-old players
. The first type is players who have exceptional talent and aging will just cost them a few yards of pace but still, they could use their instinct to play at the top level. The second type is players who have had an already decent career before their 30s, but then they will boost their playing style by using the experience that comes with playing at the top level for so many years.
Long story short, don’t let thevideo games
trick you! As you would read below, many of the greatest footballers right now are enjoying the beautiful game in their 30s. So, stay tuned if you are curious about the best 30+ year-old players in 2022 who are delivering it week in and week out at the highest level of European football.
We created a shortlist of best 30+ year-old players who are amongst best soccer players still playing in 2022. The list is sorted by the player’s age:
Ángel Di María
Now let’s have a brief review of each and everyone of these “old” players.
Arguably Thomas Müller is one of the most underrated players of his generation. He has been aBayern Munich
player since 2000, when he was a 11-year-old kid who joined the club’ academy. He made his debut for the senior team in 2008 and since then Thomas Müller has played more then 600 games for the Bavarian side in all competitions and has more than 450 goals and assists to his name. He also represented the Germany national team on 110 occasions and submitted 42 goals and 40 assists on the international level.
The numbers are speaking for themselves but that’s not all. Thomas Müller is a unique player and his goals and assists tally alone can’t define how influential he is on the pitch. Technical-wise he is not the fanciest player out there and you could rarely watch him dribbling through defenders on his own. His understanding of the game and positioning himself at the perfect place and time are what make Thomas Müller one of the best players in football history. Müller is playing the game with his mind and that could help him to stay at the top of his game for a few more years to come.
The Argentinian left-footed winger has been a key part of Real Madrid successes from 2010 to 2015. Although his single season at Manchester United didn’t live up to expectations, he managed to get back on tracks by joining the French giantParis Saint-Germain
in the summer of 2015. During the past decade PSG has been the home for so many big names especially in the attacking front. Gaining a starter spot in PSG’ lineup is not an easy job but Ángel Di María has managed to do that despite being 33 years old which is a little old for a winger.
That’s because a winger’s most important asset is his pace, and with growing old players will lose their pacey legs. Their movements will be more predictable for the defenders and that’s why wingers usually have a shorter career at top level compared to defensive players or even the strikers. Yes, Di María is not as fast as he was but his creativity and delightful technique with the ball are enough to consider him as one of the
best soccer players still playing
at the 30+ year-old. Ángel Di María has only a few months left on his current contract with PSG and there are talks that he might be on his way to play for an Italian club on the last chapter of his career.
The second Beyer Munich player on our best 30+ year-old players list is Robert Lewandowski. The Pole striker has been so good recently that it is hard to believe he has passed the 30-year-old milestone three years ago. He joined Bayern Munich as a free agent back in the 2014 summer transfer market. Since then, he has won the Torjägerkanone trophy on five seasons – a trophy that is awarded to theGerman Bundesliga top scorer
. Since turning 30, Robert Lewandowski has won 11 titles with Bayern Munich including a Champions League and four Bundesliga titles. In all of those championships Lewa has had a key role in leading the attacking line.
On the individual level he also had some of his best years after turning 30. In addition to becoming Bayern Munich’ second all time top scorer, Robert Lewandowski managed to beat the Gerd Muller’ record for most goals in a single Bundesliga season. In order to do that, Lewa scored 41 goals during the 2020-21 Bundesliga campaign which made him one of the top three candidates for the Ballon d’Or. He also has won two The Best FIFA Men’s Player awards in 2020 and 2021 and was awarded as the best UEFA player in Europe in 2020. Robert Lewandowski was an incredible striker in his 20s but he got even better in his 30s and it seems that he can maintain this form for a couple of years.
As one of the most prolific goal scorers in football history, Luis Suárez had a wonderful career so far. The Uruguayan striker made a name for himself inAjax
which convinced Liverpool to buy him from the Dutch club. During his spell at English football, Luis Suárez performance was quite extraordinary with more than 120 goal contributions in 133 games in Liverpool colors. He failed to lift the Premier League title with Liverpool, but after joining Barcelona in 2014 the silverwares came one after another.
While wearing Barca’ number nine for six years, Suárez added 13 gold medals to his trophy cabinet including four La Liga and a Champions League titles. At 33 years old, Barcelona refused to keep him at the club and he was transferred to Atletico Madrid. A move that proved to be the wrong choice by Barcelona as Luis Suárez helped Atletico Madrid to win the 2020-21 La Liga title with scoring 21 goals throughout the season. He is still the main man in Atletico’s attacking line and it is fair to say that Luis Suárez is one of the
best 34 year old soccer players
The next one in the top 34 year old soccer players category in 2022 is one of the greatest players in the history of the game. He might not be as fast as he was in his 20s, but there is no doubt that he is still one of the best gamechangers out there. During the last couple of seasons, Lionel Messi was Barca’s only hope to win trophies. On the 2020-21 season, Messi had 30 goals and 15 assists in 36 La Liga games and he also led his side to a Copa del Rey title with 5 goals and 2 assists in only 6 games.
On the international level, Messi had one of his best years withArgentina
since turning 34. The Copa America 2021 championship was Messi’ first ever major trophy with Argentina and they are also one of the favorites for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022. And let’s not forget his seventh Ballon d'Or which was the icing on the cake for the Argentinian superstar. No matter how old he is, Lionel Messi is a nightmare for every defender as long as he can play football and that’s why he is one of the very best 30+ year-old players.
The Bosnian goal scorer is one of the other players that didn’t get the attention he deserves throughout his career. From his early years atWolfsburg
, Edin Džeko proved to be a natural striker as he helped his side to win the Bundesliga title. In Manchester City Džeko usually was the second choice behind Sergio Aguero but still he scored some of the most crucial goals for the English club. Since 2015 the Bosnian joined AS Roma and apart from his debut season, he was one of the club’s best players and became Roma’s third top scorer of all time with 119 goals.
In terms finishing, Edin Džeko is not the most lethal striker compared to the likes of Luis Suárez and Robert Lewandowski, but his ability in keeping the ball and creating chances for his teammates is unmatched. Despite his 1.93cm height, Džeko is quite decent in dribbling past defenders and with his physical strength, keeping him quiet is almost a mission impossible for defenders. With 35 years of age, he joined Inter in the last summer to replace Romelu Lukaku who left for Chelsea. So far into the season Edin Džeko has 17 goals and assists in 27 games for Inter which proves why he is one of the
best old players
Goalkeepers are most likely to continue playing football until their late 30s and even a couple of years after their 40th birthday. That’s why when you are looking for the best old players, there is a good chance to come across a handful of goalkeepers. With that being said, at 35 years old age Manuel Neuer has managed to maintain his position as one of the best goalkeepers in the world despite facing a decline in his form. After suffering from a season-long injury and missing almost the entire 2017-18 season, there were many doubts about him being between the posts for Germany national team in the Russia 2018 World Cup.
Obviously,Marc-André ter Stegen
had the better form back then but Joachim Löw preferred to trust to his number one. Germany had a poor performance in that tournament and Manuel Neuer was one of the players that got some sticks from the media and fans. Even Bayern Munich signed Alexander Nübel to be prepared for replacing Neuer with a young talented keeper. But Manuel didn’t give up and worked hard to prove himself as one of the best 30+ year-old players. Right now, as the captain of Bayern Munich and Germany national team he is by far the first choice of his coaches on club and international level and we could see him carrying on like this for some seasons.
It is impossible to create a list of
best 30+ year-old players
and not to mention the Portuguese legendary attacker Cristiano Ronaldo. Since turning 30 in the February of 2015, CR7 uplifted his career by scoring more and more goals and helping his clubs and Country to win trophies. He led Portugal to its first ever major title in EURO 2016 when he was 31, won a La Liga and two back-to-back Champions League trophies and two Ballon d’Or awards by 2018 when he was 33, and helped Juventus to win two Serie titles after his 34th birthday.
Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t win a European title withJuventus
but still he was the club’s top scorer during his three seasons at Italy. As a matter of fact, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 7 goals in the UCL knockout stages for Juventus in the space of three years. The only Juve player that scored more in the knockouts is Alessandro Del Piero with 9 goals in 19 seasons. So, it is safe to say that Ronaldo did his part at the Italian club. Returning to Premier League which is one of the most intense football leagues in the world at 36, shows that Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t lose his hunger to outperform himself.
The creative midfielder has always been one of the bests in the world throughout his career. His amazing four years atTottenham
was followed by a move to Real Madrid when he had 27 years old. Modrić immediately proved his worth and became one of the untouchable players in Real’s squad. As the leader of the midfield, the Croatian had an undeniable role in Real Madrid’s four Champions League winnings. Modrić was also the main man in his national team and lead Croatia to a World Cup final for the first time ever in 2018.
In the same year, he won his only Ballon d’Or when he was 33 years old. Both in Real Madrid and Croatia, Luka Modrić’s role is more important than just being an impressive player. He is a leader in the middle of the pitch and has the ability to guide his teammates in the most challenging moments of the game. The Real Madrid number 10 is now 36 years old but it doesn’t look like he has lost any of his strengths compared to five years ago and football fans can enjoy watching him play, at least for the time being.
Just like goalkeepers, defenders could also perform on high level even when they are approaching their 40s. In fact, experience is the paramount factor in the defending positions of football and that’s why the average age of defenders and goalkeepers is higher than that of attackers. But still, it is a rare sight that a 37-year-old defender starts week in and week out for a top four team in English Premier League. That is exactly what the BrazilianThiago Silva
is doing at Chelsea as one of the best old players in the world.
Paris Saint-Germain had refused to propose him a renewal contract and the Centre-Back joined Chelsea as a free agent in 2020. In his debut season, Thiago Silva played his part to help the club in winning its second Champions League title in history. He is now the most experienced man in Chelsea’s back line which is one of the most effective ones across Europe. As one of the best 30+ year-old players, it would be no surprise if Chelsea decides to renew Silva’s contract and keep him at the club for the coming years.
It’s 2022 and Zlatan Ibrahimović is one of the best soccer players still playing at the age of 40! It all started back in 1999 for the Swedish giant. He was playing forMalmo
back then and Ajax signed him in 2001. When he was 23, Zlatan moved to Italian football in 2004 to play for Juventus and the rest as they say is history. Since reuniting with Milan in the January of 2020, Ibrahimović had a crucial role in leading the club to the top of the table after years of struggling.
Even the coach Stefano Pioli admitted that Zlatan Ibrahimović is a sort of an assistant manager to him and without his help, it wouldn’t be possible for Milan to come back to Champions League after a seven-year long absence. Despite some minor injuries, Zlatan’s form has been so good recently that he was called up again by Swedish national team five years after announcing his retirement from international football. The oldest member of our
best 30+ year-old players club
is approaching the end of his current contract, but there are no talks about his retirement from the game and we could wish for at least another season of Zlatan Ibrahimović.
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