Football has always been a sport that has been defined by the fitness, speed, and physical presence of a player. Most believe that football is a sport for the youth, given their superior physical traits over those who on the wrong side of the age spectrum.
However, when the top two players of a sport are 35 and 33, it makes one wonder what the true impact of a player above the age of 30 can be on a football team.
Many top European clubs such as Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United, and Chelsea are going through a sort of revolution, wherein they are looking to start a new era at the club by signing young talents who may become world-beaters if developed and guided in the right direction.
The teams that have achieved success in recent times, however, have talismanic players or captains that lead their teams like generals. The Champions of Europe, Bayern Munich, owe much of their success to 32-year-old Polish hitman Robert Lewandowski.
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos led the club to the league title last season, contributing ten goals from the centre-back position at the age of 34. Cristiano Ronaldo scored 31 goals in the Serie A last season, leading Juventus to the league title at the age of 35.
Therefore, the impact of players above the age of 30 can never be diminished. Football may be heading towards a more youthful approach, but the requirement for experienced individuals, who have the quality and footballing knowledge to change and win games, will never be lost.
That said, here are the top ten active players in world football who are above the age of 30.
#10 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
US Sassuolo v AC Milan – Serie A
Many wondered whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be able to have the same impact on a top European team after the anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in 2017 while on duty with Manchester United. The giant Swede spent a season in the MLS where he rediscovered his scoring touch, before joining AC Milan.
Ibrahimovic was meant to be a player that would motivate other players in the dressing room at AC Milan, and to make an impact on the pitch when given the chance. The striker has, however, become the spearhead of the AC Milan attack, scoring 14 goals in just 20 games.
🗣️ “I feel like a more complete player now than I was 10 years ago. If I had the fitness levels I did 10 years ago, nobody would stop me. Mind you, they can’t stop me now either.” pic.twitter.com/PprF3GM5Ak
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) October 18, 2020
The 39-year-old has become a crucial part of an AC Milan team that seems to be rejuvenating after years in the abyss. Ibrahimovic extended his contract with Milan till the summer of 2021, but with the way the Swede is playing, he may have a few more good years left in him.