Over the past decade we have seen many players, now aged 30 and over, distinguish themselves as superb players on the football pitch.

These players have been on our television screens since, if not before, the millennium year and have graced the pitch they have played their trade day in day out.

But if there were to be an Over 30's World XI, who would be picked?

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas | Real Madrid

Casillas has become Spain's safety net over the last decade and henceforth he has been installed as captain of the team.

Casillas has two qualities that most stand out his amazing reflexes and superb dealing of one-on-ones. Spanish right-back Alvaro Arbeloa once said: "He can stop anything. He's quick, agile, intuitive and well-positioned. One-on-one he is spectacular, he stays up and reads the striker's intentions very well."

Casillas and Buffon rival each other for the goalkeeper’s position, but due to his recent resounding success with Real Madrid and the Spanish national team, Casillas just pips Buffon to the keeper’s position.

Left-back: Ashley Cole | Chelsea

The 32-year-old left-back has been an almost flawless performer for England since he made his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Albania in Tirana back in March 2001.

Cole has had a glittering career at Arsenal and now Chelsea and has become one of the best full-backs in the world. There is no other left back like him over the age of 30 and he does not look out of place in any world XI.

Cole has always been a player for the big game and that is why he makes this team, due to his unbelievable pace and passing accuracy.

Centre-back: John Terry | Chelsea

Chelsea fans call him "Captain, Leader, Legend" and that is understandable seeing as John Terry is undeniably one of the finest centre-halves of his generation.

Having joined Chelsea in 1998, and been the captain for nearly a decade, he has lead the Blues to many trophies after a period of success unrivalled to any time in the club's history. He has also been a committed England international, but recently he has found himself on the Chelsea bench due to other good centre-backs joining the club and also injury problems.

Regardless of this, Terry will be remembered as one of the best centre backs and captains in the history of the game, so he must be installed into this over 30's world XI.

Centre-back: Nemanja Vidic | Manchester United

The best centre-back in the world is Nemanja Vidic, without a shadow of a doubt.

Vidic rarely makes errors and he seems to have a plan for every imaginable game scenario. His "no-nonsense" style of defending is the go-to of Sir Alex Ferguson's side. I can't count how many times Vidic has bailed out United, keeping them favourites to grab the league trophy.

Regardless of his injury prone nature, he has superb physical ability and experience and deserves his place in this team.

Right-back: Carlos Puyol | Barcelona

Carlos Puyol has been at the heart of football at Barcelona and in Spain for the last decade, being the focal point for any team he has ever played in.

His aerial prowess and superb defensive skills mean it is hard to leave him out of this team. Puyol is very versatile being able to play at either centre-back or right-back. The defender has unique leadership skills, after serving as captain for Barcelona, going on to appear in more than 500 games for the team and winning 18 major titles, notably five La Liga and three UEFA Champions League championships, showing that Puyol would be the captain of the over 30’s world XI.

Centre-midfield: Andrea Pirlo | Juventus
Andrea Pirlo has continued to provide solid play in midfield for AC Milan, Juventus and Italy over the last decade.

Pirlo leads a Juventus team that before October had not lost a match since May of 2011. Pirlo is the cog that turns the wheel that is Juventus, and many believe that the Italian club has become too dependent on their playmaker, who has one of the best passing accuracies of all the players in the world and super vision.

Pirlo also had a great summer with the Italian national team and was instrumental in their Euro 2012 campaign, helping them to the final. It was between him and Xabi Alonso for this spot on the team; however, I believe Pirlo deserves to be in the team due to the fact that in every single team he has ever played in he has been influential throughout the matches.

Centre-midfield: Xavi Hernandez | Barcelona

Xavi will go down as one of the greatest attacking midfielders of all time and the 32-year-old Spaniard has yet to see his play diminish.

Throughout his career he has passed efficiently and has led Barcelona to the top of La Liga. As always, his stats are not jaw dropping, but he just does the little things that allow Barcelona to win game after game.

In the Barcelona team, Xavi is almost like the silent operator; he is the player who distributes the ball effectively and makes the team tick. He always has superb patience to find the right pass to set up many of Barcelona’s goals and that is why during his whole career he has managed 105 assists. Due to this I had no option, but to include Xavi in my team.

Left-wing: Ryan Giggs | Manchester United

Giggs has to be one of the most decorated players in the history of English football. The Welshman has been an important part of Manchester United's highly successful era under Sir Alex Ferguson.

He holds a plethora of records in both English and European football. For example with United, Giggs has won twelve league titles, four FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions Leagues. He also played 64 times for Wales. Individually, Giggs was named PFA Young Player of the Year in 1992 and 1993 and was named in the PFA Team of the Century. He is the only player to have scored in 11 consecutive Champions League campaigns, the only player to score in 13 different Champions League tournaments, and the only player to have scored in every Premier League season.

The stats show that Giggs has been consistently one of the best players in the world over the last 20 years and as a result he deserves his place in the over 30’s XI.

Right-wing: Steven Gerrard | Liverpool

Gerrard used to play on the right side of midfield when he was in his early years as a footballer. Everybody who knows just a bit about the Premier League knows that Steven Gerrard has been a fantastic player throughout his whole career.

Gerrard is the fulcrum of Liverpool’s midfield, averaging 2.7 key passes each game, and his amazing leadership skills mean he is a certainly a player worthy of being in this team.

Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic | PSG

The things Zlatan Ibrahimovic does astound people every week.

In his first season at PSG, Ibrahimovic has 22 goals and five assists in just 23 starts domestically this season, despite averaging less than five shots per game. When England played Sweden at Euro 2012, Zlatan was able to generate time and space to utilise his sublime technical skills due to his power and strength that kept England's defenders at an arm's length throughout.

Due to this he beats David Villa and Samuel Eto’o into the over 30’s World XI, as he is so technically gifted he could produce a moment of pure class from anything: for example his amazing overhead kick from 40 yards out against England.

Striker: Didier Drogba | Galatasaray

Didier Drogba is one of the only players that I could name who is able to systematically destroy any defence in world football by using pure power.

The Ivorian can be used as a battering ram or just as effectively given the ball in behind the defence in a foot race. He practically won the Champions League final for Chelsea in May, by scoring the equalising goal to take the game to extra time and then scoring the winning penalty.

Drogba has just pipped the calm and consistent Italian that is Antonio Di Natale of Udinese to a striker’s position in the over 30’s World XI mainly due to his ability to score goals and win silverware wherever he plays.

 


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Topics:
#Ryan Giggs
#Didier Drogba
#Ashley Cole
#Football
#John Terry
#Chelsea
#Manchester United
#Nemanja Vidic
#Steven Gerrard
#Liverpool