Form is temporary, class is permanent. An often-spoken phrase, consistency is what we always use when distinguishing legends of the game from simply quality players. As a new generation of footballers is beginning to emerge into starting XI’s, let’s take a look at some of the greatest players in the world that continue to hold their world-class status despite their high age. We are going to create a collaborated best XI, and then we will each choose one player to focus on.
Requirements: Must be of 32 years of age or older.
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Kieran: Xabi Alonso
I think Xabi Alonso is the best player in Europe over 32. At the age of 35, Alonso is the heart of Bayern’s midfield. His passing ability is exquisite and his free kicks are world class. Although Alonso may be old, his retirement at the end of the season could hurt Bayern next season. If they don’t have the Stability of Alonso in their midfield, it could crumble. Renato Sanches could be a replacement, only in the future though as he is still young. I just don’t think anyone can fill the shoes of Alonso because he is that good. Scoring 3 goals and getting 1 assist this season at CDM may not be great, but his role doesn’t have him in the attacking third too often. His contributions to the team are way larger than goals. He does the little things for the team, always providing an option and picking out a pass. And when he does score goals, they have been special, especially his volley vs Werder Bremen on opening day.
Nik: Andres Iniesta
While players like Messi, Suarez, and Neymar may receive the most praise for the excellence Barcelona have shown this season (with the exception of a few games), so much of their great play is due to the fact that they reap the benefits of an excellent midfield, led by captain Andres Iniesta. Iniesta plays in the CAM role, meaning he is the central playmaker on the team. Iniesta averages almost twice as many pass completions as the average in La Liga, with an average of nearly 90% (stats via FourFourTwo). And while he only has 3 assists in 13 league matches this season, and 3 more in the Champions League, he is much more involved in the link up play that creates the goals and assists for MSN. Very much the heart of Barcelona, Andres Iniesta is causing a major crisis for management as they attempt to find a replacement. Just like Xabi Alonso, it is going to be very difficult to replicate what he brought to the table. Rumors are going around of a Coutinho move, but frankly I don’t even think he would be as good of a fit for Barcelona’s system.
Kevin: Yaya Toure
I believe Yaya Toure has to be one of the best players not only from players 32 or older, but just one of the best in the Premier League in general. Toure is a rare specimen to start out with- he’s big and very physical, while also possessing great technical and clinical finishing abilities on the ball. One moment he’ll be on one side of the pitch intercepting passes, the next moment he’ll be scoring goals on the other side of the pitch. Another reason that makes him so great, is the ability to bounce back after a period of time when we think his career might finally be on the decline. Let’s take the most recent one, for example. When Pep Guardiola omitted Toure from his Champions League squad earlier this season, there was a falling out between Guardiola and Toure’s agent, Dimitri Seluk. Guardiola stated that Toure would not be featuring in his lineup until he received a public apology; many thought this would be the start of the end for Toure’s time at City. Instead, Guardiola got the apology he wanted and reinstated Toure into the starting XI for the very next game against Crystal Palace. Toure scored a brace in that game to lead City to a 2-1 win, and once again became a starting option in Guardiola’s midfield. I think that Toure will be a stalwart in the Manchester City side for many seasons to come, and remain a fan favourite for many City fans.
Who is the best player 32 or older? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Authors: Kieran, Nik, Kevin
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