16 over 35s still featuring regularly in Europe’s major leagues this season
Footballers are often considered to be past their best once they enter their thirties – but there are plenty of players aged 35 and over still playing regularly in Europe’s five major leagues this season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to defy physics as a 36-year-old in MLS, but even more impressive are the veterans still deemed fit and good enough to play on a regular basis in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.
Here are 16 outfielders aged 35 and over who’ve played at least 200 minutes already this season, featuring no players in England but several in Italy.
Vitorino Hilton – 450 mins
Hilton was part of the Montpellier side that unexpectedly won Ligue 1 in 2012, and he’s still going strong today
At 41 years old, you’d think he would be asking Montpellier’s manager, Michel Der Zakarian, for some rest of the bench.
Instead, the Brazilian has played the full 90 minutes in all five Ligue games this season for a total of 450 minutes. Four goalkeepers – Ben Foster, Petr Cech, Diego Benaglio and Ludovic Butelle – are the only other over 35s who have managed such a feat.
Jaroslav Plašil – 432 mins
The long-haired midfielder has spent nine years at Bordeaux, and his playtime hasn’t wavered as he’s reached veteran status, with the 36-year-old starting all five games in Ligue 1 this season
At 36 years old, the 103-cap Czech Republic international looks set for another season as a key member of the south-west France club’s team.
Bruno Alves – 360 mins
Best known for his Porto days, Alves spent last season at Rangers but joined Parma in the summer and has played the full 90 minutes in their first four Serie A games.
The 36-year-old was a part of Portugal’s World Cup squad in Russia but sadly did not get on the pitch to realise his dream of playing in his sixth major international tournament.
Emiliano Moretti – 360 mins
Moretti has been at Torino since 2013, making 173 appearances, and even at 37 he is one of their key players, playing the full 90 minutes of all four of their games in Serie A so far this season.
In November 2014, he became the oldest player to debut for the Italy national team at the age of 33.
Playing on the left side of a three-man defence, Moretti has helped Il Toro to a reasonable start with only one defeat in four.
Cristian Molinaro – 355 mins
Playing as a full-back for newly-promoted Frosinone, Molinaro has enjoyed a decent career in Italy so far, playing for clubs including Juventus, Parma and Torino.
At the age of 35 the full-back still plays an active role and has started all four games in Serie A so far this season.
Massimo Gobbi – 300 mins
The Milan-born 37-year-old left Parma in 2015 for Chievo but returned to the club over the summer.
He’s started every game so far this season, and though Parma are struggling, it is in attack rather than defence where their problems lie.
Daniele De Rossi – 290 mins
Plenty of players have come and gone, but De Rossi remains the beating heart of AS Roma, where he’s spent his entire career.
The 35-year-old retired from the Italy national side in 2017 but still features regularly for I Giallorossi, starting three games and coming off the bench in the other so far this season.
Étienne Didot – 283 mins
A French central-midfielder for Guingamp, Didot started his professional career at Rennes in 2002, when Kylian Mbappé was just four years old.
He’s been a regular in Ligue 1 for 16 years now, making over 400 appearances in the league.
And the 35-year-old has featured in all five games so far this season, starting three of them.
Darijo Srna – 270 mins
Srna had been at Shakhtar Donetsk since 2003 when, at the ripe old age of 36, he decided to head to Italy for a new challenge with Cagliari.
He has started their last three games in Serie A, playing the full 90 minutes in each and helping them hold AC Milan to a 1-1 draw before the international break.
Naldo – 270 mins
The towering Brazilian remains a pivotal part of Schalke 04’s squad, playing in the middle of a three-man defence, in between Salif Sané, who’s eight years his junior, and Matija Nastasić, who’s 11 years his junior.
He has played the full 90 minutes in all three Bundesliga games so far this season and will be looking to register his first goal soon having scored an impressive seven in 36 appearances last season.
It’s no surprise given his ability at free-kicks.
Sergio Garcia – 252 mins
Garcia, who started his career with Barcelona, spent two seasons in Qatar between 2015 and 2017 before returning to Espanyol at the start of last season.
Despite playing mainly on the wing, where pace is seen as crucial, Garcia made 33 appearances in La Liga and has kept his place this season, the 35-year-old starting three of four games and coming on as a substitute in the other.
Borja Fernandez – 244 mins
Despite being 37, Fernandez is still pulling on the purple jersey of Real Valladolid on a regular basis.
The defensive midfielder started his career with Real Madrid, making 23 appearances for the first team, and he’s playing for Valladolid for the third time in his career, having also had three separate spells at Atlético Kolkata in India.
Fernandez has already started three games in La Liga so far this season, but Valladolid are currently in the relegation zone.
Having broken through at Newell’s Old Boys in his native Argentina, Spolli has spent the majority of his career in Italy.
He made 22 appearances in Serie A last season after joining Genoa from Chievo, and the 35-year-old has started three already this season, with the team currently sitting seventh in Serie A.
Fabio Quagiarella – 229 mins
Having played for eight different Italian clubs since 1999, Quagiarella has netted a total of 156 times in Serie A
This season, the attacker has already scored twice in three games for Sampdoria.
Supporters will be hoping he pulls off more of this sort of thing.
Goran Pandev – 206 mins
Pandev has played for six clubs in Italy, making his first appearance in 2002 for Spezia.
And the 35-year-old is yet another player in Serie A for whom age is just a number, starting three games in the league already.
There must be something in the water over there.
Jorge Molina Vidal – 203 mins
It’s been a diverse career for Molina, whose previous clubs include Benidorm and Alcoyano.
Now 36, the striker has enjoyed some of his best football in the later stages of his career.
When he joined Getafe CF as a free agent in 2016, he scored 20 goals in his first season, as the side got promoted to La Liga.
With 29 goals in 78 outings, Molina is still a key player for the side, and this season he has started twice and come off the bench in the other two games.