Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Ribery: Incredible Serie A XI of players aged 35 or over

  • Kobe Tong

Cristiano Ronaldo is proving that age is just a number with Juventus.

It’s astonishing to think that the Portuguese superstar had 36 candles on his birthday cake last week when you consider he’s still competing for the Ballon d’Or and European Golden Shoe.

Ronaldo‘s dedication to his craft isn’t exactly a secret, but it’s likely that we’re seeing the fruits of his labour more than ever in the way age seems to be slowing down his form to a negligible degree.

Ronaldo ageing like a fine wine

Besides, just when it looked as though Ronaldo was finally decelerating during his first year in Italy, albeit by his lofty standards, he followed it up with an astonishing sophomore effort.

After notching 28 strikes during his debut season in Turin, Ronaldo raised the stakes with a fantastic return of 37 goals and could go one better with 23 goals to his name already in 2020/21.

In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s something in the air in Serie A because Ronaldo isn’t alone in ageing like a fine wine in the division with plenty of players thriving in their thirties.


Older players thriving in Italy

The most famous example is, of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has made a mockery of father time by competing with Ronaldo in the Italian goal-scoring charts despite approaching his 40th birthday.

But the Ronaldo effect is rubbing off on more players in Italy’s top-flight than just his fellow eccentric goalscorer. In fact, you can make an entire XI out of professionals who are winding back the clock.

We say that because The Cult of Calco have produced a fascinating feature on the stunning line-up you can create from Serie A players who are older than 35 years old.

If that doesn’t sound impressive to you, then kindly remember that it’s the age at which Wayne Rooney hung up his boots and Pele and Diego Maradona started winding down their careers.


Serie A XI of older players

So, to say that you can create a starting XI of players approaching their forties that would compete at the highest levels of Serie A is by no means a small statement – but how exactly does it look?

Well, fear not because we won’t keep you waiting for any longer, so check out the ‘golden oldies’ team in all its glory down below:

GK: Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan)

RB: Ashley Young (Inter Milan)

CB: Bruno Alves (Parma)

CB: Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov (Inter Milan)

RM: Franck Ribery (Fiorentina)

CM: Borja Valero (Fiorentina)

CM: Marco Parolo (Lazio)

LM: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

FW: Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria) 

FW: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan)


Rolling back the years

Very nice. Surely this lot would be able to qualify for the Champions League at the very least?

Besides, Hanandovic remains one of the world’s best goalkeepers, Chiellini has been showing some of his best form again in 2020/21 and Parolo played a crucial role in Lazio’s success last season.

Elsewhere, Kolarov is stll one of the continent’s deadliest full-backs going forward, Young gets far more stick than he deserves and Quagliarella topped the Serie A goalscoring charts as recently as 2018/19.


But the piece de resistance is unarguably the partnership of Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo who boast a combined 30 goals in Serie A this season despite their combined age of 75 years old.

So, sure, father time catches up with everybody eventually, but if this incredible starting XI is anything to go by, then it’s clear you can at least slow down the process by playing in Serie A.

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