The career of a footballer is fairly short.
Footballers tend to break through in their late teens, before retiring somewhere in their mid 30s.
One of the youngest footballers in European football currently playing at a high level is Eduardo Camavinga.
The Rennes midfielder broke through at the age of 16 and, now 17, has emerged into one of the best players in Ligue 1.
He is, without doubt, the most exciting 17-year-old in the world at the moment.
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On the other end of the spectrum, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are both still dominating football way into their 30s.
But who is the best player at every other age? Using stats provided by WhoScored.com, we’ve decided to list the best players in Europe’s top five leagues this season for every age between 17-36.
It’s important to note that only footballers’ league form has taken into account – cup competitions do not count towards their rating.
17 years: Eduardo Camavinga – 7.10
The youngster has scored once and provided one assist in 22 Ligue 1 games this season.
He has a very, very bright future ahead of him.
18 years: Benoit Badiashile Mukinayi – 6.84
Mukinayi is just one of many incredible French talents coming through.
He’s been solid in his 14 appearances for Monaco this campaign.
19 years: Jadon Sancho – 7.96
Sancho and Messi are the only two players in European football to have recorded double digits for both goals and assists.
A move back to the Premier League – potentially to Chelsea or Manchester United – seems on the horizon.
20 years: Kai Havertz – 7.17
Havertz had a breakout 2018/19 campaign, scoring 20 goals in 42 appearances.
He’s not hit those heights this season but that hasn’t stopped him attracting firm interest from Liverpool.
21 years: Kylian Mbappe – 8.01
Mbappe is only 21 but has already established himself as one of the top five players in the world.
He looks set to become a multiple Ballon d’Or winner in the future.
22 years: Suat Serdar – 7.44
Serdar won’t be a name too familiar to casual football fans.
He’s been impressive for Schalke this season, scoring seven Bundesliga goals from defensive midfield.
23 years: Timo Werner – 7.67
Werner has netted 20 goals in 22 Bundesliga games this season. What a record.
A move to one of the biggest clubs in the world beckons, with Liverpool among those interested. He would cost ‘just’ £50m too.
24 years: Adama Traore – 7.72
Traore has always had the potential to be a nightmare for defenders and he’s finally realised that this season.
With pace and power in abundance, Traore is now one of the best wingers in the Premier League.
25 years: Domenico Berardi – 7.55
Berardi has scored goals every season since he made his Sassuolo debut in 2012.
With nine goals and five assists in 18 Serie A starts, it seems certain he will get a move to a bigger club in the near future.
26 years: Memphis Depay – 7.59
Depay has gone from strength to strength since his disastrous spell at Manchester United.
He scored nine times in 12 starts for Lyon before his season was cut short by injury in December.
27 years: Filip Kostic – 7.67
Kostic, now age 27, is having his best season as professional footballer.
Surprisingly, he’s been rated higher than Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
28 years: Neymar – 8.66
Statistics show that Neymar has been the best player in Europe this season – even better than Lionel Messi.
Despite numerous injuries, he’s recorded 19 goal contributions in 14 games.
29 years: Ciro Immobile – 7.74
Immobile has been unstoppable in front of goal this season.
He currently leads the race for the Golden Shoe with 26 goals in 24 games.
30 years: Marco Reus – 7.50
Reus scored 17 times for Dortmund in 2018/19, which was his best season as a footballer.
With 11 goals already this campaign, he could be about to better that number.
31 years: Robert Lewandowski – 8.12
Statistically, Lewandowski has been the third best footballer in Europe this season.
He’s netted 23 goals in 22 games and is still considered by many to be the best striker in the world.
32 years: Lionel Messi – 8.65
Now 32, Messi remains the best player in the world.
He’s scored 14 times and recorded 12 assists in just 18 starts.
33 years: Luis Suarez – 7.56
Suarez is approaching the end of his career but he had netted 11 times in 15 starts prior to his serious injury last month.
It will be interesting to see how he plays after recovering from knee surgery.
34 years: David Silva – 7.14
Silva remains a key cog under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
His illustrious stint at the club will end at the season, though, with Silva linked with a move to Inter Miami.
35 years: Cristiano Ronaldo – 7.91
Most people’s career end by the age of 35. It’s very rare that footballers play at an elite level in their mid 30s.
But, despite being 35, Ronaldo has statistically been the sixth best player in the world this season. He remains a freak of nature.
36 years: Dante – 6.88
The former Bayern Munich defender is still impressing in Ligue 1 with Nice.
So a number of big name players aren’t the best in their age. Those include: Salah (27), Mane (27), Kevin De Bruyne (28), Karim Benzema (32), Virgil Van Dijk (28), Sergio Aguero (31) and Romelu Lukaku (26).