5 veteran players aged 35 and up who can still contribute next season

allfootballapp.com 40 days ago

While advancing into their 30s, most of the players shrink with their form as well as suffer from injuries. It is very difficult for veteran players to maintain their performance inside the ground.

Most of the veteran players gave up on European leagues with their increasing age and settled in different easy leagues. Some of them even face criticism from fans and have to think about retiring.

The retirement of veteran players helps other upcoming young players with their development and chances to shine. It's always been a topic of discussion about which player will keep the throne alive, replacing top veteran players.

There is a lot of young talent providing top notch performances. Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are already in discussions about taking over as leading players within teams.

But with the advancement of technology, nutrition, training facilities, and the passion within them, age has just become a number for veteran players. Some of them are still giving top performances in European football.

Here are five veteran players aged 35 and up who can still contribute at the top level in the upcoming season:

#5 Pepe

The 39-year-old defender won two domestic titles recently with Porto and was included in the official team of the season in Liga NOS. He returned to his old club on a free transfer in 2019.

In the overall competition, the aggressive defender was included in 33 appearances. He has a tackle ratio of 93% and a passing accuracy of 89% in Liga NOS 2021-22. He has also been an important part of Portugal's backline so far.

Porto is known for introducing talented youngsters to football fans. Pepe, with his experience at a top club in his past career, can help on the ground, as well as in the dressing room this upcoming season. Jose Mourinho, in a video interview with talkSport, praised the veteran defender.

"Pepe is the last great defender in modern football"

#4 Thiago Silva

It isn't easy to maintain intensity and form for a veteran defender in the Premier League. But Thiago Silva's transfer to Chelsea and reuniting with Thomas Tuchel have been brilliant at the back.

Silva won his first Champions League title in his first season with Chelsea. He has been consistent in the second season as well in his 48 appearances. He has won 108 aerial duels and 54 tackles in the 2021-22 season.

Both top-class defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen departed for their next club. Chelsea are still seeking a top-class defender.

While Matthijs de Ligt has been heavily linked with the Blues, as per Sky Sports, Silva could be the leading force at the back for the Blues in the upcoming season with the experience he has. He can still maintain his form, like in both seasons.

#3 Cristiano Ronaldo

Since returning to Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo has been the main man in the attack. Ronaldo, who always believes in hard work, has always maintained his physicality and strength.

Despite Manchester United's poor performances this season, with 39 appearances overall, he scored 24 goals. He was the third-highest Premier League goal scorer. He is 37 years old, still has his goal-scoring ability, and has not faced a major injury in the 2021-22 season.

Reportedly, Ronaldo wants to leave United as he looks for a different club. It remains uncertain if the experienced attacker will continue with United or find a new club. However, with the passion he carries, he can still play games at a top level and score 20+ goals.

#2 Luka Modric

Luka Modric, who is 36 years old, is still bossing the midfield. Spanish daily Marca named Modric as one of the worst signings of the season in 2013. He has upgraded his tag from worst signing to a crucial part of Real Madrid.

The former Ballon d'Or winner recently won his fifth Champions League title with Real Madrid. He played a total of 41 matches in 2021-22, having 11 assists with almost 90 % passing accuracy.

The veteran midfielder was expected to leave the club this season, but his consistent outstanding performances prompted Real Madrid to extend his contract for another year, until 2023.

He will also be helpful inside the dressing room, motivating the futures of Real Madrid midfielders Aurélien Tchouaméni, Eduardo Camavinga, and Fede Valverde.

#1 Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi just celebrated his 35th birthday on June 24 with his close friends and family. He fits on this counting list of veteran players 35 and over . After 18 years of a long Barcelona career, Messi joined PSG in 2021.

At the start of the season, Messi struggled to fit into the new league and did not perform in his peak form. He slowly found his rhythm and, in 34 total matches in his first season with PSG, he scored 11 goals. He contributed through assists with a tally of 14 and was the second-leading assist provider in the 2021-22 Ligue 1.

In comparison to his performances for Barcelona, he is yet to reach his best form at PSG. The link-up he found with Kylian Mbappe will be crucial for Messi. Reportedly, PSG had been planning to play Messi in a different position.

The old Messi we used to see when he was at Barcelona could return. We can expect his high-class performance to return with both goals and assists in the new season.