Top five players above the age of 35

What is it with players in their twilight of their careers turning back the clock to recreate magic? The simple answer is that they have a child-like enthusiasm in their obsession to get better and see their team succeed. In the modern day football where money takes selfish precedence over passion, you rarely get to see footballers wanting to create a legacy for their teams. However, the ‘old guard’ could be the last line of defense of all things holy in this beautiful game. Photo: Getty Images
While it might sound like a cliché, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is like a bottle of wine: he just gets better with time. Take this incredible stat for context; the Swedish striker scored 232 goals in 529 games (in all competitions) before he turned 30. Ever since that age milestone, the Manchester United striker has banged in 250 goals in 308 games. His incredible numbers don’t end here, as he has scored more goals (28 in all competitions) and played more games (43) than any other player in the Premier League this season. When he took a leap of faith to play in the Premier League at the start of the season, pundits and rival fans were apprehensive about the Swede. Not only has he survived the most demanding league in the world, but Zlatan has thrived and not doubt carried a club in decline on his broad shoulders. Gianluigi Buffon: Arguably the best goalkeeper at the club and international level, Buffon is still Juventus’ and Italy’s Number One between the sticks. And like mentioned before, the Italian still has burning passion in his guts as can be seen during matches. Last week, during Juventus’ first-leg demolition of Barcelona, Buffon pulled off a blinding save to deny Andres Iniesta a sure goal that would have brought the Catalans back in the game when they were trailing 1-0 midway through the first half. As the ball went out of play for a corner, Buffon erupted into celebration showing how much that save meant for him and the team. At 38-years-old, you would be forgiven to assume a player, who has achieved pretty much everything in his career, would show a lack of interest. However, Buffon is cut from a different cloth. The only thing that remains to be conquered for the Italian is the Champions League. Photo: Reuters
AS Roma’s greatest ever, it is very difficult to quantify this legend. He epitomizes loyalty like nobody else and at 40-years-old, it looks like we may have seen the last of Totti. While it is obvious he can’t play every single game for the capital side, Totti has been a focal point in midfield for AS Roma. Like the rest on this list, Totti is a different breed compared to modern day footballers. The one-club man revealed he rejected an offer from Real Madrid “many years ago” during the peak of his powers. He does regret not playing alongside the Brazilian Ronaldo, who did play for Real, and not winning the Champions League with Roma. While it does seem he will never have that medal around his neck, his career has been nothing short of remarkable. Photo: Reuters
Yet another player who we may have quite possibly seen the last of, Michael Carrick has been a calming influence in the centre of midfield for Manchester United. The 35-year-old has completed 10 seasons at Old Trafford and is still a vital cog in Jose Mourinho’s side. Despite his age, he has been a bright spark, alongside Zlatan, in an otherwise ordinary campaign for the Red Devils. However, his contract ends this summer and it is yet to be known whether he will be offered an extension. He did say that if he was not offered a place in the team next season, the England midfielder will hang his boots. Photo: Getty Images
When he was booted out of Real Madrid two years ago, critics were ready with their obituaries for Spain’s greatest goalkeeper. Despite a slow first season, his revival at FC Porto has made them eat their words. While at 35 he doesn’t have the reflexes that made him the best alongside his friend Buffon, the Spanish ‘keeper has produced moments of magic for the Portuguese giant. Despite the club having three different coaches in the season and half he has been there, Casillas has always remained Porto’s Numero Uno between the posts. The fact that Porto has the best defence in the league, conceding only 13 goals so far, is no mere coincidence. Also, the Spaniard was beaten only thrice during the Champions League group stage. He is a role model off the pitch too and is playing mentor to the youngsters in the team, especially his understudy and Portugal U-21 ‘keeper Jose Sa. While Porto is four points off the top in the league, Casillas, who has been written off ever since he joined the team, will be vital in its bid to reclaim the throne it lost to Benfica. Photo: Reuters