Ronaldo, Zlatan, Iniesta: Epic XI of players aged 36 and over goes viral

36 and over XI

Keeping up with the pace of modern football at an elite level is no easy task, particularly once a player hits their 35th birthday.

It’s at this point that most begin to seriously plan for life after the game, with retirement soon on the horizon.

However, a select few have resisted the call of father time to hang up their boots and have continued to thrive well into their 36th year and beyond, with some even playing on past the age of 40.

An XI put together by B/R Football featuring football’s top veterans has recently gone viral – and it’s packed full of talent.

We’ve taken a look at their line-up in full below.

B/R Football’s ‘Enjoy Them While You Can’ veterans XI

GK: Gianluigi Buffon | 44 years old

The second tier of Italian football might not be the pinnacle of the game, but legendary Italian shot-stopper Buffon has still appeared 26 times for Parma this season. Amazingly, he even signed a two-year contract extension back in February.

Gianluigi Buffon
REGGIO NELL’EMILIA, ITALY – MAY 19: Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus looks on ahead of the TIMVISION Cup Final between Atalanta BC and Juventus on May 19, 2021 in Reggio nell’Emilia, Italy. A limited number of fans will be allowed into the stadium as Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in the UK. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images for Lega Serie A)

RB: Dani Alves | 39 years old

Having quit Brazilian side Sao Paulo back in September over a wage dispute, Alves has sensationally returned to his former club Barcelona to work alongside ex-teammate (and now Barca coach) Xavi.

Dani Alves playing for Barcelona
BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 13: Dani Alves of FC Barcelona runs with the ball during the LaLiga Santander match between FC Barcelona and CA Osasuna at Camp Nou on March 13, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

CB: Pepe | 39 years old

Pepe might be rapidly heading towards his 40th birthday but he’s still lifting trophies, having won the Primeira Liga with Porto earlier this month. His conduct hasn’t necessarily improved with age, either. The former Real Madrid man was sent off back in February for his role in a 40-man brawl!

CB: Thiago Silva | 37 years old

Paris Saint-Germain refused to offer Silva a two-year contract back in 2020, as they feared his days as a top-level defender were behind him. A couple of seasons later, the Brazilian is still going strong at Chelsea and has signed on for another 12 months at Stamford Bridge.

Thiago Silva celebrates Chelsea goal
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 07: Thiago Silva of Chelsea celebrates during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge on May 07, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

LB: Giorgio Chiellini | 37 years old

Before the end of the month, Italy captain Chiellini will call time on both his international career and his 17-year spell with Juventus. His playing days aren’t done, though, with the MLS his most likely destination.

DM: Andres Iniesta | 38 years old

Rightfully considered one of the greatest midfielders of all time, 38-year-old Iniesta is still thrilling crowds in Japan’s J1 League, where he serves as captain for Vissel Kobe.

Andres Iniesta in action for Vissel Kobe
KOBE, JAPAN – MARCH 15: Andres Iniesta of Vissel Kobe in action during the AFC Champions League qualifying playoff match between Vissel Kobe and Melbourne Victory at Noevir Stadium Kobe on March 15, 2022 in Kobe, Hyogo,Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

CM: Luka Modric | 36 years old

Croatian legend Modric turns 37 in September but is still undoubtedly one of the finest midfielders in Europe. His outstanding assist for Rodrygo Goes to score against Chelsea in the Champions League last month was one of the best passes you’ll see. Modric is still an absolute treat to watch.

CM: Joaquin | 40 years old

At an age where almost all of his peers are enjoying a well-earned retirement, Joaquin is still adding trophies to his resume with Real Betis. The Spaniard picked up a third career Copa del Rey trophy as Betis defeated his former club Valencia in last month’s final.

Joaquin lifts Copa del Rey
SEVILLE, SPAIN – APRIL 23: Joaquin Sanchez of Real Betis celebrates with the Copa del Rey Trophy after the Copa del Rey final match between Real Betis and Valencia CF at Estadio La Cartuja on April 23, 2022 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

RW: Cristiano Ronaldo | 37 years old

Where would Manchester United have been this season without Ronaldo? The Red Devils have been decidedly underwhelming as a whole, but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner still managed to prove his quality – bagging 24 goals in 38 games across all competitions.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates Man Utd win
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 29: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates victory on the final whistle after scoring a stoppage time winner during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Manchester United and Villarreal CF at Old Trafford on September 29, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

LW: Franck Ribery | 39 years old

Ribery has enjoyed a glittering career, claiming nine Bundesliga titles and the Champions League during a hugely-successful spell with Bayern Munich. Currently involved in a relegation scrap with Salernitana in Serie A, his surroundings today couldn’t be any more different – but Ribery is definitely up for the fight.

CF: Zlatan Ibrahimovic | 40 years old

A staggering 23 years into his senior career, Zlatan is still finding the net for AC Milan in Serie A. A return of eight goals in 26 outings isn’t too shabby for a man now in his fifth decade.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action for AC Milan
NAPLES, ITALY – MARCH 06: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and AC Milan at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on March 06, 2022 in Naples, . (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

The complete XI…

Over 36 years old best XI

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