Ultimate XI's

Ultimate XI’s- Over 35’s

Hello!

Most of you will know the drill by now, but anyway today’s XI is comprised of players aged 35 or older!

Let’s get into it!

GOALKEEPER- Samir Handanović

The shelf life of goalkeepers is clearly a lot longer than those of outfield players, with some keepers even managing to make it to 40 while still playing.

Handanović was the pick of the bunch, at the age of 35 he is still one of the best goalkeepers in Serie A and Inter Milan rely heavily on him to supplement their strong defence.

The Slovenian has made nearly 300 Serie A appearances since joining the Nerazzurri in 2012, and he has made the Serie A team of the year in three occasions.

CENTRE BACK- Pepe

Despite being 37, Pepe is still playing at the top level. While his prime years at Real Madrid are behind him, he is still battling at the top of the Primeira Liga with Porto.

Pepe formed an excellent partnership with Sergio Ramos at the heart of the Real Madrid defence, and he guided them to three Champions League titles along the way.

Pepe is clearly very close to the end of his career, and due to his scratchy disciplinary record he may not get the recognition his career deserves, but with 20 major trophies to his name, he really should.

CENTRE BACK- Phil Jagielka

Another 37 year old in our back line, Phil Jagielka is back at Sheffield United for what may be his final season as a player.

The former Everton man has made four Premier League appearances this season, so he has been part of one of the best defences in the league.

While his physical attributes may have deserted him, he is still able to read the game well to make up for it. His 364 Premier League appearances show that he has been a dependable centre back for Everton and Sheffield United.

CENTRE BACK- Giorgio Chiellini

Our final centre back is Giorgio Chiellini, the 35 year old has been injured this season but he is still one of Serie A’s best defenders. He has won eight Serie A titles and four Coppa Italia’s in his time with Juventus.

He is one of the best defenders of his generation, often seen putting his body on the line for club and country, he has not forgotten the art of defending and he is a joy to watch.

His time as Juventus’ premier defender is probably over, but there is no way that The Old Lady can afford to offload him in the summer, he is still an excellent defender.

LEFT WING BACK- Leighton Baines

Baines is one of the best left backs in Premier League history, this may seem like quite a bold statement, but in his hay day he was Everton’s best player.

He is an excellent set piece taker, and his wand of a left foot has led to many great Premier League goals. He has made nearly 350 Premier League appearances, and he is now in his 13th year on Merseyside which shows fantastic longevity.

This season he was called in to replace Lucas Digne when the Frenchman got injured, and he was still able to do an excellent job even at the age of 35.

RIGHT WING BACK- Dani Alves

Alves has won an absolutely obscene amount of trophies during his career, with over 40! He has recently moved back to Brazil with Sao Paolo, but he had to make this XI.

He is by far and away the best right back of his generation, and his role in the Barcelona side during the 2010’s made him irreplaceable. Now 36, he is still the captain of Brazil and showing no intention to retire.

Alves plays in a more advanced role for Sao Paolo, but he will play right back in this XI as a throwback to when he was at his best.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Javier Mascherano

Midfield was probably the toughest position to select in this XI, probably because it is the most physically demanding position, but Javier Mascherano is still playing.

After a year playing in China, the former Barcelona man has moved to Estudiantes. He can operate as a midfielder or centre back and his excellent adaptability has given him a career littered with success.

He played over 300 times for Barcelona, and the eight year spell he spent with the Blaugrana was by far the most successful of his career. At 35 he is still a smooth operator in central midfield and makes it into my XI.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Andres Iniesta

It has been two years since Iniesta left Barcelona, and he is still winning trophies at an excellent rate. He now plays in Japan with Vissel Kobe, and he still relies on his wonderful technical ability that allowed him to dominate the Barcelona midfield for well over a decade.

Iniesta has won all there is to win in football, and he even has a World Cup winning goal to his name. The fact that his game never really relied on pace at all means that he is still going strong and would definitely cut it in a top European league, even at 35!

STRIKER- Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The oldest player in this side, Ibrahimovic has recently made the move back to Europe after playing in the retirement home that is the MLS!

Ibrahimovic has already scored four goals for Milan in 2020, continuing his tradition of scoring wherever he plays. With nearly 500 career goals he had to make this XI.

The swede is one of the most eccentric players in football history and thankfully for him he has always had the talent to back up his words.

STRIKER- Cristiano Ronaldo

I don’t really need to introduce you to Cristiano Ronaldo, but after he turned 35 last month, he captains this XI.

One of the greatest players of all time, and certainly of his generation, Ronaldo has scored over 600 career goals. He has won the Ballon D’or five times and has been named in the World XI 13 years in a row.

Since moving to Juventus in 2018 he has been utterly brilliant and has already surpassed 50 goals for them. His physical dominance doesn’t seem to be decreasing, so he could go on for a long time yet.

STRIKER- Fabio Quagliarella

Despite Ronaldo’s excellent goalscoring record for Juventus, he was still beaten to the Serie A golden boot by my final striker, Quagliarella.

The Italian has only gotten better with age, and at 37 he is in some of the best form of his career. Since the start of last season he has scored 36 goals for Sampdoria and he is clearly one of the best strikers in Italy.

While he has played for many clubs in Italy, it is only for Sampdoria that he has been a properly consistent goal scorer. He is definitely one of the best players 35 or over and I’m sure he will be banging goals in Serie A for a couple more years.

That’s all for today!

Would you have picked anyone else?

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