Ronaldo, Messi, Zlatan: Who is the best footballer aged 30 and over?

  • Rob Swan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo are both examples to every aspiring footballer in terms of professionalism.

Both superstars have kept themselves in top physical condition throughout their illustrious careers and have reaped the rewards for doing so.

Zlatan is still going strong at the age of 39, while Ronaldo is still the world’s best goalscorer aged 35.

Ibrahimovic is currently Serie A’s top scorer for the 2020-21 campaign with seven goals to his name after scoring AC Milan’s winner against Udinese on Sunday.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, finally returned at the weekend after recovering from Covid-19 and netted a brace in Juventus’s 4-1 win over Spezia.


Following their eye-catching performances this weekend, we thought we’d rank the top 25 players aged 30 or over.

25. James Milner (34)

Like Zlatan and Ronaldo, James Milner keeps himself incredibly fit and is still an important player for Liverpool both on the pitch and inside the dressing room.


24. Kieran Trippier (30)

England right-back Kieran Trippier has flourished since leaving Tottenham for Atletico Madrid in 2019.


23. Wissam Ben Yedder (30)

Wissam Ben Yedder netted 19 goals in 30 games for AS Monaco last season.


22. Dries Mertens (33)

The Belgium international has hit double figures for goals (all competitions) in each of his seven full seasons with Napoli since 2013.


21. Papu Gomez (32)

The Argentine forward has netted four goals in five games for Atalanta so far this season.


20. Kyle Walker (30)

Still one of the fastest players in the Premier League and a top-class full-back.


19. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (39)

With seven goals in four league appearances for Milan this season, what Zlatan is doing at the age of 39 is nothing short of remarkable.


18. Jordan Henderson (30)

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has silenced all of his doubters in recent seasons and leads by example on the pitch.


17. Toni Kroos (30)

It feels like Toni Kroos should be a lot older than 30. The Real Madrid and Germany star is one of the classiest midfielders in the game.


16. Luis Suarez (33)

Written off by recently-appointed Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman, Luis Suarez is currently shining bright for Atletico Madrid after joining Diego Simeone’s side in September.


15. Miralem Pjanic (30)

Miralem Pjanic is in the process of finding his feet at Barcelona after joining the Catalan giants from Juventus in the summer.


14. Luka Modric (35)

Luka Modric’s performance levels have dipped since he won the Ballon d’Or in 2018 but that’s purely down to his advancing years. The Croatian is still one of the world’s best midfielders.


13. Gareth Bale (31)

Back playing again at Tottenham after his Real Madrid nightmare finally came to an end, Gareth Bale is aiming to prove that he’s still one of the world’s best players.


12. Angel Di Maria (32)

We’ve seen plenty of magical moments from the Argentine over the years and the 32-year-old is still one of Paris Saint-Germain’s top performers.


11. Thomas Muller (31)

Thomas Muller helped Bayern Munich win the treble last season, scoring 14 goals and registering a hugely-impressive 26 assists in 50 appearances.


10. Jamie Vardy (33)

Jamie Vardy seems to be getting better with age. The livewire striker netted 23 Premier League goals for Leicester City last term, and has already netted six in five appearances this term.


9. Ciro Immobile (30)

The prolific Lazio forward enjoyed his best season last term, netting 39 goals in 44 games (36 of which were scored in Serie A).


8. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31)

Arsenal’s talisman and one of the best forwards in the Premier League, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted 29 goals in all competitions for the Gunners last season.


7. Sergio Aguero (32)

The Premier League legend usually scores whenever he plays for Manchester City, but injuries are increasingly becoming an issue for the world-class Argentine forward.


6. Karim Benzema (32)

Karim Benzema has been one of Europe’s standout players over the course of 2020. The Frenchman has blossomed at Real Madrid since becoming the team’s main man following Ronaldo’s departure in 2018.


5. Sergio Ramos (34)

One of football’s ultimate big-game players, Sergio Ramos is not just a top-class central defender – he’s also a fantastic goalscorer. In 657 games for Real Madrid, Ramos has netted an extraordinary 99 goals.


4. Manuel Neuer (34)

Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer has proved over the course of 2020 that he’s still one of the world’s best goalkeepers – if not *the* best goalkeeper.


3. Robert Lewandowski (32)

Robert Lewandowski’s numbers over the past season-and-a-half are just ridiculous. Bayern Munich’s prolific No. 9 netted 55 goals in 47 games last term. He currently has 10 goals in just five league appearances this season.


2. Cristiano Ronaldo (35)

While Lewandowski’s numbers are insane, it could certainly be argued that Ronaldo is still the world’s best goalscorer.


1. Lionel Messi (33)

Lionel Messi hasn’t looked himself at the start of the 2020-21 season but we all know why that is. Barcelona’s greatest ever player wanted to leave Camp Nou last summer after losing faith in the club’s sporting project.

However, you just need to look at last season’s numbers to understand that Messi is still the best in the business – and by some distance.

In 44 appearances, Messi netted 31 goals and provided 27 assists for his teammates. Phenomenal.

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