10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing | 2024

10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

Soccer players hit their prime in their mid-20s, but once they hit the big 30, it’s like they’ve entered the twilight zone of Father Time.

Goalkeepers, however, seem to have a secret deal with the aging process, as they keep going and going.

The physical demands of soccer are like running a marathon while juggling flaming torches, with players giving their all for the entire 90 minutes, contributed to this decline after 30.

Surprisingly, some of the world’s top soccer players are currently in their late 30s and are still dominating the game.

While they will eventually retire, a few of them seem poised to remain at the top for a couple more years. Some of them are giving jaw-dropping performances, getting better as the years pass.

They’re not just playing; they’re orchestrating magic on the field with the finesse of a seasoned conductor, and outperforming younger players.

On that note, let’s take a look at 10 of the best soccer players aged 35 and still actively kicking the leather ball in the world right now.

10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35

1. Lionel Messi (36)

  • Club: Inter Miami
  • Position: Forward
  • Key Stats: In the past season, Messi maintained his incredible goal-scoring record and continued to provide assists at a high level. His dribbling and vision on the field are still unmatched.
10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

Lionel Messi, often seen as the greatest soccer player ever, just won his 8th Ballon d’Or at the age of 36. He achieved this after leading Argentina to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Messi also got the Golden Ball and set a new record with 26 World Cup appearances.

Messi has loads of individual awards and might become the most decorated player before he retires.

Now playing for Inter Miami in the MLS, he’s not just one of the best players over 35, but also among the top players in the MLS right now.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (38)

  • Club: Al Nassr
  • Position: Forward
  • Key Stats: Ronaldo has consistently maintained his goal-scoring prowess, even after turning 38. His athleticism, finishing, and leadership qualities make him one of the best in the world.
10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

Widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players ever. He’s won 5 Ballon d’Or awards and 4 European Golden Shoes, the most for any European player.

With an impressive track record, he’s secured 32 trophies in his career, including league titles, UEFA Champions Leagues, and international honors.

Having played for top clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus, Ronaldo made a surprising move at the age of 37 by joining the Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr last year.

3. Thiago Silva (39)

  • Club: Chelsea
  • Position: Defender
  • Key Stats: Silva has been a defensive rock for Chelsea, showcasing his experience and composure. He contributed significantly to Chelsea’s defensive solidity, playing a key role in their victories.
10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

Recognized as one of the top defenders of his era, is admired for his defensive skills, discipline, and leadership on the field.

When he joined Chelsea in 2020 at the age of 36, there were doubts about how well he would adapt to the Premier League.

However, the Brazilian played a crucial role in helping Chelsea secure the UEFA Champions League title in his very first season with the club.

Now at the age of 39, Thiago Silva remains a key player for Chelsea, holding a significant role in the team.

Despite the wealth of talent in the Brazilian national team, he stands out as one of the best Brazilian soccer players currently.

4. Luka Modrić (38)

  • Club: Real Madrid
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Key Stats: Modrić’s technical ability, vision, and passing accuracy remain exceptional. He is a crucial part of Real Madrid’s midfield, orchestrating plays and contributing defensively.
10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

Hailed as the greatest Croatian footballer ever, is also considered one of the all-time great midfielders.

His impressive career at Real Madrid boasts 21 major trophies, including 5 UEFA Champions League titles, 3 La Liga titles, 1 Copa del Rey, and 4 FIFA Club World Cup titles.

In 2018, Modric achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first Croatian player to win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award.

He played a key role in guiding Croatia to the FIFA World Cup final that same year.

Also, he secured both the FIFA Best Player and Ballon d’Or awards in 2018, breaking a streak dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for over a decade.

Even at the age of 38, Luka Modric continues to shine at the highest level and is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world today.

5. Karim Benzema (36)

  • Club: Al Ittihad
  • Position: Forward
  • Key Stats: Benzema continues to be a goal-scoring machine for Real Madrid. His intelligence on the field, link-up play, and clinical finishing make him a standout player in the over-35 category.
10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

Karim Benzema is considered one of the greatest strikers ever, known for his skills, vision, and versatility on the field.

He’s Real Madrid’s second-highest goalscorer and top assist provider. With Real Madrid, he won 24 trophies, including La Liga and UEFA Champions League titles.

In the 2021/22 season, his exceptional performances earned him the UEFA Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or.

At 36 years old, Benzema became the second-oldest player to win the Ballon d’Or, after Stanley Matthews.

6. Luis Suárez (36)

  • Club: Inter Miami
  • Position: Forward
  • Key Stats: Suárez’s goal-scoring instincts and physical presence make him a potent striker.
10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

Known as “El Pistolero” (“The Gunman”), he is considered one of the best players of his era and one of the greatest strikers in soccer history.

He has earned two European Golden Shoes, an Eredivisie Golden Boot, a Premier League Golden Boot, and a Pichichi Trophy. His goal tally surpasses 500 for both club and country.

The Uruguayan, who won 2 European Golden Shoes, an Eredivisie Golden Boot, a Premier League Golden Boot, and a La Liga Golden Boot, is now 36 years old. Born in January, Suarez currently plays for the Brazilian team Gremio.

He has solidified his position as one of the greatest Uruguayan soccer players ever and is recognized as one of the best finishers in the sport’s history.

7. Sergio Ramos (36)

  • Club: Sevilla
  • Position: Defender
  • Key Stats: Ramos brings leadership and defensive solidity to any team. Known for his goal-scoring ability from set-pieces, he remains a formidable presence at the back.
10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

Known as one of the greatest defenders of all time, this footballer is among the most decorated and successful players currently in the world.

He has won over 30 trophies throughout his career.

Renowned for his exceptional tackling, strong aerial abilities, and leadership skills, he spent a remarkable sixteen seasons with Real Madrid, securing four UEFA Champions League titles with the club.

He contributed to Spain’s triumphs in two UEFA European Championships and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Having scored over 100 career goals and making more than 800 appearances, this Spanish player has been a prominent figure in the football scene for at least two decades.

8. Olivier Giroud (37)

  • Club: AC Milan
  • Position: Forward
  • Key Stats: Giroud’s goal-scoring record and physicality make him a valuable asset. He can score from various positions, contributing both as a target man and with his link-up play.
10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

Olivier Giroud holds the record as France’s all-time leading goalscorer.

Despite starting his top-flight football career at the relatively late age of 24, he has succeeded with clubs like Montpellier, Arsenal, Chelsea, and now AC Milan.

Remarkably, Giroud made his senior international debut for France at 25 and has since earned 120 caps. He played a major role in six major tournaments, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where France emerged as the champions.

Olivier Giroud is not only France’s highest goalscorer but is also recognized as one of the top French soccer players currently.

9. Manuel Neuer (37)

  • Club: Bayern Munich
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Key Stats: Neuer remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world, showing exceptional shot-stopping ability, commanding presence in the box, and excellent distribution. 
10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

Manuel Neuer is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential goalkeepers in the history of soccer. Known for his unique playing style and quickness in rushing off his line, he has been labeled a “sweeper-keeper”, he’s one of the top sweeper-keepers in the world.

Recognizing his exceptional skills, he was named the best goalkeeper of the decade from 2011 to 2020 by IFFHS.

Having joined Bayern Munich in 2011, Neuer has accumulated an impressive collection of 28 trophies, which includes 10 Bundesliga titles and 2 UEFA Champions League titles (in 2013 and 2020), both achieved as part of Trebles.

Neuer played a significant role in Germany’s victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, earning the Golden Glove award for being the Tournament’s Best Goalkeeper.

10. James Milner (38)

  • Club: Brighton 
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Key Stats: Milner’s work ethic, versatility, and leadership qualities make him an invaluable asset for Brighton. He continues to contribute in midfield and occasionally in defense, showcasing his enduring quality.
10 Best Soccer Players Aged 35 & Still Playing

He is a versatile player who has showcased his skills in various positions, including on the wing, in midfield, and at full-back.

Milner’s proficiency in football, cricket, and long-distance running was evident from an early age.

A significant phase in his career unfolded when he joined Manchester City in 2010, contributing to their Premier League triumphs with his endurance and tactical expertise.

In 2015, Milner made a move to Liverpool, where he became a crucial part of Jürgen Klopp’s squad.

His adaptability to different positions on the field, including midfield and fullback, coupled with his wealth of experience, has proven invaluable.

Milner’s role in Liverpool’s Champions League victory in 2019 solidified his status as a key player for the team, before making a move to Brighton in 2023.