With modern football becoming more and more obsessed to really catch them young, you will be more and more hard pressed to find late bloomers in the game. Who are they, actually? Late bloomers can and do inhabit all walks of human life, successfully as well.
It's just that they take time to find their feet and their field (or both). Football is also rife with such examples, even if they are becoming less and less frequent.
Legendary Real Madrid striker Alfredo Di Stefano actually began his glorious journey with the Los Blancos after turning 27. Closer to our times, Jamie Vardy was a non-league footballer before going on to become one of the best forwards in England.
In this article, we take a look at some of the greatest late bloomers in football history.
10 greatest late bloomers in football history
#10 Antonio Di Natale
The Udinese legend did not even begin playing in Serie B till he was 23. With Empoli, Antonio Di Natale won promotion to the Serie A and seemed to age like fine wine, playing his best football as he got older.
His most prolific seasons in front of goal came after he turned 30, with only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo outscoring him during that period.
#9 Josip Ilicic
Josip Ilicic, now 32, has fully blossomed as a footballer at Atalanta whom he joined in 2017 at the age of 29.
His ascent has been consequent with the rise of his club who have turned from a group of relative unknowns into world-beaters, setting both Italy and Europe on fire.
The attacker, considered a bit of a mediocre Serie A import from Slovenia, has found his touch and confidence with Atalanta while in his 30s.