In today’s football world, clubs are keen to land young players who seem to possess a wide range of talents. Huge transfer fees are paid, based on potential. Just think about Renato Sanches, Anthony Martial, and Raheem Sterling.
However, talent doesn’t always guarantee success. Just ask the following ten players who are aged 35 years or older. They are still playing a big part in their respective European clubs’ performances due to their massive experience.
1. Gianluigi Buffon (38, Juventus)
Buffon is still the most expensive goalkeeper ever and rightfully so. He kept 21 clean sheets in Serie A, second behind only Atletico’s Jan Oblak, and made a bunch of key saves for Juve. He won yet another Scudetto, while also shining at Euro 2016 with Italy.
2. Andrea Barzagli (35, Juventus)
Buffon got help from Juve’s BBC defence: Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, and Andrea Barzagli. The latter one is the most classy defender of the three, being able to defend any forward due to his amazing positional play, strength and football IQ.
3. Aritz Aduriz (35, Athletic Bilbao)
Some footballers get better with age and Aduriz is a typical example of this. The striker scored a career high 20 La Liga goals last season for Bilbao, in addition to 10 goals in the Europa League, which earned himself a place in Spain’s squad for Euro 2016.
4. Tiago (35, Atletico Madrid)
It’s not as if Atletico Madrid suffered a lot this season when Tiago went down injured with a tibial fracture. But they did miss his experience and power in midfield during the Champions League final and the final stages of the Primera Division season.
5. Francesco Totti (39, AS Roma)
No active player has been attached to one club for such a long period than Totti, who’s been in Roma’s senior team for 22 years. He endured a difficult season in the Italian capital but still provided five goals and four assists in just 13 appearances.
6. Patrice Evra (35, Juventus)
Another Juve player. Evra joined the Old Lady in 2014 and has won two Serie A titles and two Italian cups since, while reaching the Champions League final last season and the Euro 2016 final this summer. He’s still a reliable left-back and an assurance for success.
7. Claudio Pizarro (37, Werder Bremen)
Pizarro’s spell at Bayern wasn’t a huge success, as the Peruvian was mainly used as a substitute by Der Rekordmeister. However, he rejoined Werder Bremen last summer and hit the net 14 times in 28 Bundesliga games at the age of 37.
8. John Terry (35, Chelsea)
Last season appeared to be Terry’s last for Chelsea, but that changed when Jose Mourinho was fired and the centre-back was able to give the Blues defence stability again after a very bad start to the Premier League season by the Stamford Bridge club.
9. Luisao (35, Benfica)
Benfica fans saw just 11 appearances by their captain Luisao last season. The Brazilian suffered an arm injury in November and missed the rest of the season. However, when healthy, the physical Luisao is still one of the better centre-backs in Europe.
10. Dirk Kuyt (35, Feyenoord)
Last but not least is former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt. The 35-year-old Dutchman left Turkey for former club Feyenoord and impressed with his goalscoring and leadership. Kuyt hit the net 19 times in the Eredivisie and four times in the Dutch cup.
Honorable mentions: Gareth Barry (35, Everton), Heurelho Gomes (35, Watford), Ricardo Carvalho (38, Monaco).