While some players hang up their boots after they reach a certain age, others continue to commit themselves to “the beautiful game”. Not many footballers can boast of a long and successful career, and the ones that can are certainly fortunate.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his 37th birthday on the 5th of February and is one of the oldest players in the Premier League. However, he has shown no sign of stopping and will undoubtedly continue to give his best. Ronaldo is now part of a select few that continue to step onto the pitch even though they are past their prime.
Apart from maintaining their physique, these incredible players also have the mindset that helps them perform at the biggest stages in world football.
Let us now take a look at the five most valuable players aged 37 and above:
#5 Andres Iniesta - €2 million
Andres Iniesta is one of the greatest midfielders to grace the pitch. The midfield maestro was a crucial part of the Barcelona squad that won the treble in 2009 and 2015. Iniesta joined Barcelona’s academy at the age of 12 where he impressed the coaches and the senior players.
Iniesta won innumerable trophies with Barca, including nine La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies. He is one of the most decorated footballers, having won 35 major trophies in his career. The Spaniard is currently valued at €2 million.
Iniesta is also a national hero, as he was vital in Spain’s success in the 2010 World Cup. His extra-time winner in the finals against the Netherlands will forever be remembered. Iniesta bid farewell to Barca after 22 years and signed for Japanese side Vissel Kobe in the 2018-19 season.
#4 Samir Handanovic - €2.5 million
An indispensable part of Inter Milan's squad, Samir Handanovic has rescued his side in several tricky situations during his 10-year-long career with the club. The Slovenian shot-stopper may be 37, but his reflexes are as sharp as ever and he continues to command the backline.
Handanovic has made an incredible 538 appearances in Serie A, equalling Juventus legend Silvio Pioli’s record. He has the ninth-most appearances in the history of the competition. The Slovenian is valued at €2.5 million on the transfer market.
Handanovic won Serie A with Inter last season and the Italian Super Cup this January. If Inter continue their brilliant form, he will soon be adding another league title to his collection. Inter are currently first in the league, but they have a lead of just one point over their chasers.
#3 Thiago Silva: €2.5 million
When Thiago Silva signed for Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain at the start of the 2020-21 season, not many expected the Brazilian to cope so well. Silva has been calm and collected at the back, marshaling Chelsea’s defensive line expertly. Silva has been one of the best deals in recent times considering he joined Chelsea on a free transfer.
Silva is one of the most experienced centre-backs in the world at the moment. He is currently valued at €2.5 million. The 37-year-old has won eight league titles, once with AC Milan and seven times with Paris Saint-Germain. He also won the Champions League in his first season with Chelsea.
Silva has always been a threat in set-piece scenarios and continues to prove it. The Brazilian has three goals in the Premier League this season. Silva is admired at Chelsea and his expertise and wisdom will prove invaluable to the young stars at the club.
#2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic - €4 Million
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has spent more than two decades playing professional football, but the 40-year-old shows no sign of stopping. Ibrahimovic has always been a reliable source of goals. The Swede has been the top scorer on five occasions in his career, twice in Serie A and thrice in Ligue 1. Ibrahimovic has won more than 30 trophies in his career including 11 league titles across four different leagues.
Ibrahimovic’s market value is currently €4 million. He has proven just how lethal he can be in front of goal and is Milan’s top scorer in Serie A with eight goals this season.
Ibrahimovic's current contract at AC Milan expires this summer. But director Paolo Maldini has confirmed that there are plans to extend it for another year. Milan are currently third in Serie A, one point behind leaders Inter.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo - €35 million
Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the best goalscorer in the history of modern football. The Portuguese superstar may be 37, but his mentality and commitment continue to impress. Ronaldo has eight goals and three assists in the Premier League this season. He is also Manchester United’s leading goalscorer across all competitions with 14 goals.
Ronaldo made his Manchester United return at the start of the 2021-22 season. Although United are having a rough season, Ronaldo has contributed immensely, especially in the Champions League.
Ronaldo is valued at €35 million, a value which is in stark contrast with the others on this list. This only proves the value he brings to the pitch even at the age of 37.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was presented with the FIFA Special Award for becoming the top scorer in the history of men's international football. Ronaldo scored his 110th goal for Portugal in September 2021, breaking the record set by former Iran striker Ali Daei.