5 Players Who Are Ageing Flawlessly in Serie a
Italy is not the league it once was. It has evolved since the days of it being a haven for players in the latter years of their careers who were still capable of producing in Serie A.
The game has quickened, and tactics have evolved, meaning it is tougher for the elder statesmen of the game to prolong their careers in this league.
There are exceptions, as the tactical nous of managers at Italian clubs exceeds most other leagues in Europe.
Therefore, managers are often better equipped to maintain the quality of an older player with their tactical excellence. As a result, outstanding players can be accommodated more in this league.
Some, though, are simply performing at the same level that they always have been. They do not need to be carried or for the game in any way.
Here are five of the best footballers who are ageing flawlessly in Italy.
Francesco Totti, 37
Francesco Totti might be the best player in Europe who is ageing with grace.
At 37 years old, he is still playing some of his best football in his glittering career.
"Il Capitano" managed to achieve his best return ever in terms of number of assists in a season last year with 14, beating a previous best of 10 from the 2005/06 season.
He also played more league games (34) than he had for five years, showing how his body is still coping with the rigorous demands of the league.
Until injury this season, he was integral to Roma achieving the best-ever start to a Serie A season under Rudi Garcia.
Three goals and six assists in 10 matches so far suggest that Totti still has plenty to offer the game.
Andrea Pirlo, 34
Andrea Pirlo is still capable of controlling a match at the highest level.
Maybe the most elegant footballer of his generation, he never relied upon physical assets, so he is able to maintain his high level of performance deep into his 30s.
Milan believed that the Azzurri legend was finished more than two years ago and were reluctant to offer an adequate contract extension.
That time, Juventus profited, but with the player entering his third and final year of that contract and no extension in sight, the Bianconeri could be about to make a similar mistake.
Pirlo intends to retire after the World Cup, which means his body will have less stress in the remaining years of his career without international commitments.
Whether he remains in Italy or not, he has a few more years of greatness in him.
Daniele Conti, 34
Daniele Conti symbolises Cagliari.
The captain of the Isolani is still churning out awesome performances and is the heart and soul of Diego Lopez's side.
Now entering his 15th season with the Sardinian outfit, Conti continues to set a high work rate. He has ensured Cagliari's Serie A status for 10 seasons, despite the craziness off the pitch in recent times under team president Massimo Cellino.
Conti is also adding strings to his bow. The ability to score from free kicks now is more apparent in his game then ever before.
This is the sign of a player who is embracing the fact that he is reaching the latter stages of his career, and he is not allowing this to hurt his performances or consistency on the pitch.
Alessandro Lucarelli, 36
Alessandro Lucarelli is enjoying a renaissance this season, as the 36-year-old is re-establishing himself in the first-team plans of manager Roberto Donadoni at Parma.
He appeared to be on the way out last season. His place in the team was slipping away from him, and his form was mostly hit and miss.
But with the injury to Gabriel Paletta, Lucarelli has marshaled the Parma defence magnificently and is one of the best defenders in the league this season.
Who Scored ranks the centre-back fourth in its player rankings for the entire Serie A season so far.
After Paletta returns, Donadoni will be confident that he has the making of one of the league's best defences with the outstanding newfound form of Lucarelli this season.
Hugo Campagnaro, 33
Hugo Campagnaro joined Inter this summer in the biggest move of his career, linking up with his former boss at Napoli, Walter Mazzarri.
He is in the midst of a wonderful period of form over the past couple of seasons and has forced his way into the international setup with Argentina.
Despite being 33 years old, Campagnaro made his debut for La Celeste last year and is now the defensive lynchpin of one of Italy's three biggest clubs traditionally.
Even with a couple of minor injuries to contend with this season, he has had a good start to his Nerazzurri career. The Argentine ranks inside the top 10 in Who Scored's average ratings table for this season too.
Despite inevitable investment from new president Erick Thohir, Campagnaro will remain a key piece to the rebuilding process of the new Inter project.
With no sign of his game regressing and a World Cup next summer, he is ageing in style.