The 10 best over-35-year-olds in the world

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With the 35-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic having suggested that he is determined to continue his career, Goal counts down football's golden oldies

Zlatan Ibrahimovic took to social media last week to underline his determination to return to full fitness as soon as possible and then resume his illustrious playing career.

Given his sensational performances for Manchester United last season, the Swedish striker won't be short on offers, with even Jose Mourinho leaving the door open for a possible return to Old Trafford.

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Indeed, Ibrahimovic has been proving for some time now that nothing is impossible and that age is just a number.

Below, Goal runs through the top 10 players aged 35 or over still strutting their stuff at the highest level...


10. DAVID VILLA (35)


David Villa New York City FC

Shining in MLS is not as easy as many misguided Euro-centric football fans believe it to be - just ask Andrea Pirlo.

However, the Italian's New York City FC team-mate David Villa continues to shine Stateside, with the league's reigning MVP enjoying another stellar season, with his 14 strikes this year taking him past the half-century mark and making his decision to sign a contract extension a no-brainer.


9. ESSAM EL-HADARY (44)


Essam El-Hadary

Didier Drogba said that Essam El-Hadary was the best player he'd ever faced - and that was five years ago, when the legendary Egyptian goalkeeper was still 'only' 39.

Even at 44, El-Hadary remains a sensational shot-stopper, as he so thrillingly underlined with two penalty saves in his country's dramatic shootout success against Burkina Faso in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.


8. ZE ROBERTO (43)


Ze Roberto Palmeiras

A decade after earning the last of his Brazil caps, the former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich ace won his first Brasileiro Serie A title, with Palmeiras, at the age of 42.

Even though he had originally intended to retire at the end of the campaign, Ze Roberto decided to extend his contract and is now trying to help his side claim a second Copa Libertadores.


7. DARIJO SRNA (35)


Darijo Srna Shakhtar Donetsk

Barcelona did their utmost to sign the Croatian right-back during the January transfer window but Srna turned the Catalans down, explaining: "I would be happier to claim the domestic league title with Shakhtar than the Champions League with Barcelona."

He achieved his goal — Barca did not — and then signed a contract extension in May to put the club captain in a position to claim a 10th Ukrainian Premier League next year.


6. SAMUEL ETO'O (36)


Samuel Eto'o

Peripatetic but always prolific, Samuel Eto'o must be mentioned in any debate over the greatest strikers of the modern era.

Even at 36, the Cameroonian is still going strong, having netted 18 goals during Antalyaspor’s historic fifth-placed finish in the Super Lig, which saw him win a bet with a concerned fan, to whom he had promised €100,000 if the Turkish outfit failed to finish in the top 10.


5. MICHAEL CARRICK (35)


Michael Carrick Paul Pogba Manchester United

The England international says that he might continue playing as long as former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs, who finally quit at the age of 40, and it's easy to understand why.

Carrick signed a one-year contract extension at Old Trafford in May before then being handed the captain's armband for the coming season by manager Jose Mourinho.


4. ARITZ ADURIZ (36)


Aritz Aduriz Sergio Ramos Athletic Bilbao Real Madrid La Liga

There are late bloomers and then there is Aritz Aduriz, who earned one cap for Spain at 29 before then earning a recall six years later in time for Euro 2016.

It was well deserved, too, as the Basque is in the form of his life, having scored at least 24 goals in all competitions for Athletic Club the past three seasons.


3. ANDREA BARZAGLI (36)


Andrea Barzagli Barcelona Juventus UCL 19042017

One of the key cogs in the best backline of the past decade, the Italian was instrumental in Juventus' run to the final of the Champions League.

He was immense against Barcelona and, despite his lack of pace, did an incredible man-marking job on the frighteningly fast Kylian Mbappe in the semi-final success over Monaco.


2. ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC (35)


Zlatan Ibrahimovic Manchester United

The Swedish striker maintains that he's ageing like a fine wine, and it's impossible to disagree.

Ibrahimovic carried the Manchester United attack on his shoulders last season, firing them to League Cup glory before injury cruelly ended his season.

However, he's set to return in October and why not? He's playing as well as ever


1. GIANLUIGI BUFFON (39)


Gianluigi Buffon Juventus

At 39, still the greatest goalkeeper in the world, and probably the finest of all time.

The Italy and Juventus captain is now preparing himself for one final season as a professional, which he hopes will end with him claiming a first Champions League and a second World Cup.

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