For most footballers, their professional careers are extremely short, with very few years spent at the absolute top.
However, some players have shown that age is no barrier. Their obsession with fitness has resulted in elongated careers, and they continue to be world-class performers well into their 30s.
Such longevity is extremely rare in a physical sport like football, where injuries occur frequently, and managers tend to be changed regularly. On that note, here is a look at the five best footballers above the age of 35 (2021).
#5 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has divided opinion, but there is no denying that he is one of the greatest strikers of the modern generation.
Ibrahimovic has represented some of the biggest clubs in world football with aplomb. After making his debut for Malmo in 1999, the Sweden international has gone on to play for Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United. He has been a prolific goalscorer at every club he has played for.
Ibrahimovic is one of football's greatest personalities. The 40-year old has an aura of immense confidence around him, and his self-belief is astonishing.
Currently, with AC Milan, Ibrahimovic signed a new deal with the club earlier this year. Since joining the club in 2020, he has made 38 league appearances and scored 26 goals. Ibrahimovic's longevity and incredible fitness have been matched by his performances on the field.
#4 Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
One of the greatest centre-backs of his generation, Thiago Silva is still going strong at one of the biggest clubs in world football.
Silva made his name as a world-class centre-back at AC Milan before joining Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in 2012. Silva would play a key role in PSG's ascendancy to the top, with his leadership and defensive ability making him stand out. He won seven Ligue 1 titles with the club.
So it was surprising to see the Ligue 1 giants let the Brazil international leave on a free transfer last summer. Chelsea picked him up, and Silva has already become a firm fan-favourite at the club.
His experience, combined with his overall quality, have been crucial in Chelsea's defence. The 37-year-old won the Champions League last season with the London club.