World Football's 35-and-over Best XI Among Players Who Are Still Active
Football is a game in which there are players of different ages, from a 16-year-old talented starlet to a 40-year-old veteran of the game.
Though talented youngsters are necessary for a team to be successful, experienced players also have a lot to contribute to the team. Great managers always understand the value of experience, seen in Sir Alex Ferguson retaining the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs for a long time, and in many other cases.
Experienced players find ways of adapting their game, despite having limitations due to age catching up with them. There are several great players over the age of 35.
This article outlines one team (3-5-2 formation) consisting of the best players over 35.
Goalkeeper: Brad Freidel
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Brad Freidel is one of the oldest players in football, currently at 40 years of age, but his performances have showed that he still remains a top class keeper.
The American was signed by Tottenham in the summer, and it has been a very astute signing by Harry Redknapp. Though Gomes had the ability to pull off brilliant saves, he also makes more errors and can be very inconsistent. Freidel has provided great stability at the back and is a vital player for Spurs.
The signings of Scott Parker, Emmanuel Adebayor and Brad Freidel have meant that Spurs have an excellent chance of qualifying for the Champions League this season. Freidel could continue for another couple of seasons and will relish the opportunity to play in the Champions League before finally retiring from the game.
Defender: Sergio Ballesteros
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Sergio Ballesteros is one of the surprise inclusions in this list, considering that he is not as famous as some of the other names on the list.
However, his performances for Spanish club Levante does deserve a place on this list despite him not playing for a top club throughout his career.
He was extremely vital in Levante, staying in the top flight in the previous season. Levante have been one of the revelations in La Liga this season and had a high-flying start to their season.
Ballesteros has been excellent at the back for the club and has brought a lot of stability to the squad, and the central defender has played an important role in Levante enjoying an excellent start to their campaign this season.
Defender: Javier Zanetti
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Javier Zanetti is one of the most consistent players in the world and is an amazing player for a player of his age. He is very versatile and can play in the role of a fullback or in midfield, which provides managers more options.
Even though he is now 38 years old, he has the energy and mobility to be effective as a fullback and provides a lot to the team.
His leadership is very important to the team, and Inter Milan will want him to continue as long as possible. Zanetti’s contribution to the team is very important, as Inter Milan are in a period of transition, and his leadership skills will help bring more stability to the team.
Defender: Alessandro Nesta
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Alessandro Nesta is one of the most experienced players in the world, and despite being 35 years old, he continues to be a very vital player for AC Milan.
Though he has lost pace, his intelligence and superb positioning help him cut out attacks. He is also helped by having a talented partner in Thiago Silva, who complements him excellently.
Nesta’s commitment and concentration mean that he is still an excellent player, which is why AC Milan will hope he does not retire soon.
His experience at the back provides the team with a lot of stability, and he is also a calming presence at the back for AC Milan.
Nesta and Silva will be very important for the current Serie A champions as they look to retain their league title as well as look to win the European Championship.
Midfielder: David Beckham
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David Beckham is one of the most popular players in the world and has been one of the greatest English players in the last decade. Beckham showed his brilliance on several occasions during his time in Europe, and though he has been out of the spotlight since his move to the MLS in the USA, he remains a superb player despite being 36 years old.
The former Manchester United midfielder has never been too reliant on pace, which is why he can still be influential despite being 36 years old. Beckham has great passing ability, along with creativity and vision, and the midfielder played an influential role in LA Galaxy’s success in the previous season.
He could be a part of the Great Britain team in the Olympics, where he can guide youngsters to reach their maximum potential for both club and country.
Midfielder: Michael Ballack
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Michael Ballack is one of the best German players in the last decade, and he still remains a quality player.
Though he is not the same player he was in his prime, he has brought stability to the midfield for Bayer Leverkusen, and the German midfielder has great technical ability. He is currently playing deeper than his usual role in his earlier years, but he is resourceful with the ball and has the creativity to create goal-scoring opportunities as well.
Ballack has suffered a number of injuries in the last couple of years, which cost him his place on the Germany national team, but he has shown great perseverance to recover completely. He has also shown that he can be an asset to the Bayer Leverkusen team despite being 35 years old.
He can have great influence on the youngsters, and his leadership skills can also help the team.
Midfielder: Clarence Seedorf
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Clarence Seedorf has been one of the best midfielders in the last decade, and he has been very consistent for AC Milan over the years. Though he is not as good as he was in his prime, he still has the ability to be decisive from midfield and still regularly creates goalscoring opportunities.
Seedorf was important in AC Milan’s league title win in the previous season, and along with the more dynamic Kevin Prince-Boateng, Seedorf has an important role to play on the team.
He is still physically in excellent shape and possesses great technical ability on the ball. He has always been creative and uses the ball excellently when he is in possession.
Massimiliano Allegri has shown that he does have trust in Seedorf doing a good job in midfield, and the Dutchman could continue for another couple of seasons if he continues to be in good physical condition.
Midfielder: Marcos Senna
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Marcos Senna has been one of the best defensive midfielders in the last decade and he has also been one of the most underrated players for Spain and Villareal. He played a vital role in Spain winning the Euro championships in 2008, which was very important in Spain’s history, as they had not won many major tournaments until then.
Senna has good ability on the ball and has great understanding of the game.
Though he does not have great pace, he has excellent positioning, which helps him make interceptions and cut out attacks. The Spanish midfielder still remains a quality player despite being over 35 and can still be a very combative player in midfield.
Midfielder: Ryan Giggs
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Ryan Giggs is one of the greatest players ever to have played for Manchester United, and he continues to be an important member of the squad. Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the best managers in the game, and he retains players only if they have value to the team.
Giggs still gets a decent amount of playing time because his experience, vision and creativity are vital to the team, and he can be trusted to do a good job even at his age.
Though he was primarily a winger during his prime, he has adapted himself to be an adept central midfielder and can direct plays from the middle of the pitch. It is generally difficult to play in a different position, but Giggs’ experience and understanding of the position has meant that he has not struggled in a relatively alien role.
Age might finally be catching up with the Welsh wizard, but he certainly has a lot left to offer United and could yet remain at United for another season as well.
Forward: Francesco Totti
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Francesco Totti has been one of the greatest players to play for AS Roma, and despite being over 35 years of age, he continues to be in the plans of the Roma manager, Luis Enrique.
He has made over 500 appearances for Roma in his long and hugely successful career and is considered to be a legend of the club. Totti possesses brilliant intelligence on the ball and still possesses the creativity and skill to unlock defences.
The Italian striker is still an important player for the club, and his leadership is important as the club is going through a transition phase. The influx of some young talented players like Erik Lamela and Bojan Krkic bodes well for the club, but Totti could see his playing time reduced over the next couple of seasons.
However, he is still one of the most exceptional players in the world above the age of 35, which is why he is included in this list.
Forward: Andriy Shevchenko
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Andriy Shevchenko was one of the most feared strikers in the world during his prime, but since his failed spell at Chelsea, he has not recaptured his best form.
However, since he returned to Dynamo Kiev, he has shown that he still retains the ability to be a very effective player and offers a lot to the team going forward. He has undoubtedly lost pace, but his positioning and creativity on the ball means that he is a vital player for both his club and country.
The Ukraine striker will play an important role in the Euro championships for his side, and he still has the ability to make a difference. He is intelligent on the ball, his technical ability allows him to pick out players in better positions, and he has great composure in front of goal.
Despite being 35 years of age, he continues to be an important player for his side and can go on for a few more years.