Soccer can be an unforgiving sport. One moment you’re a young rising star; the next, you’re old news. The average age of retirement for a soccer player is around 35, while most players are considered to be at their peak in their mid-late 20s, which makes 30 a major milestone for many.
When you’re betting on a soccer team at the start of a long hard season, the age of the players needs to be taken into consideration.
Let’s say you wanted to use a new bookmaker betting offer to bet on a veteran striker to finish as the top scorer in the Premier League – can you be sure he will stay fit all season?
Of course, for every rule, there is an exception. While for most players, their speed and will to win dips as they enter their 30s, it is not the case for everyone. In fact, some players are in their best form after the age of 30.
Here are ten of the best 30-somethings currently playing soccer at the top level.
1. Lionel Messi – Paris St. Germain and Argentina
Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to play in Saudi Arabia means he can no longer be considered to be performing at the top level, but the same cannot be said for his long-time rival and candidate for best player of all time, Lionel Messi.
Messi turned 35 last year, but it could be argued that 2022 was his best year ever, as he led Argentina to its third World Cup triumph, finishing as Player of the Tournament.
This ended a long and frustrating journey with the national team, which came through many disappointments to gain the prize.
Lionel has cemented his started as, not just one of the best soccer players of all time, but arguably the greatest ever.
A genuine contender to be ranked alongside all-time superstars such as Pele, Diego Maradona, and Johan Cruyff, Messi continues to star for PSG and has no plans to retire.
2. Robert Lewandowksi – Barcelona and Poland
One of the greatest strikers of the modern era, Robert Lewandowski, has maintained his spot at the very summit of European football well into his 30s.
After being the star of a successful Bayern Munich team for eight seasons, he made the switch to Barcelona this summer – at the age of 33 – and has been a big hit in Spain, maintaining a phenomenal scoring rate of almost a goal per game.
The complete modern striker with strength, skill, and lethal finishing ability, Lewandowski has also set records with his national team, becoming the all-time leading scorer for Poland.
3. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid and France
Karim Benzema turned 35 at the end of 2022, but he is arguably playing the best soccer of his life.
He has won the Ballon d’Or — one of the most prestigious individual awards in soccer — for his performances over the last two years, becoming the second oldest player to do so in the process, behind Stanley Matthews of England.
A stalwart for Real Madrid, he had a superb season in 2021/22, playing a major role in delivering both the Spanish league title and the Champions League.
He has won 23 trophies in Madrid and is the club’s all-time second-highest goalscorer.
4. Son Heung-min – Tottenham and South Korea
The star of South Korean football and a skillful presence in attack for Tottenham Hotspur for eight seasons, Son Heung-min, is a fast, talented attacking player who combines speed and dribbling skill with strong positional awareness and an eye for goal.
He ranks highest among the soccer players who can use both feet well.
One of the greatest Asian footballers ever and the current captain of South Korea, Son turned 30 last year but has shown no signs of fading. He remains one of the world’s top players.
5. Mohammed Salah – Liverpool and Egypt
Along with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Mohammed Salah formed one-third of a deadly attacking lineup that propelled Liverpool to European and domestic glory.
Salah turned 30 last summer, but there is no sign that he has lost any of the electric pace and dazzling touch that have made him such a deadly striker and that have earned him multiple awards, including the Premier League Golden Boot on three occasions.
With Mane now playing in Germany and Firmino often injured, Salah has taken on a senior role at Liverpool, being the focal point and most experienced attacker.
His leadership skills – also represented by his captaincy of the Egyptian national side – are proving to be an asset for the Reds.
Mohammed Salah is undoubtedly one of the great African soccer legends.
6. Neymar – Paris St Germain and Brazil
Sometimes overshadowed by Ronaldo and Messi, Neymar has himself entered his 30s and is still playing at the very highest level in Paris and with his national team.
Although international World Cup glory has eluded him, Neymar remains one of the most dazzling attacking talents in world soccer, capable of single-handedly unpicking an entire defense.
He is also one of only three players in the sport’s history to score 100 goals for three different clubs.
In addition, Neymar is regarded as one of the best penalty-takers in soccer at the moment.
7. Luka Modrić – Real Madrid and Croatia
A midfield passing general worthy of comparison with the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Andrea Pirlo, Xavi, and Socrates, Luka Modrić a Real Madrid stalwart and the heart of a Croatian national team that has punched well above its weight class in successive World Cups.
At the age of 37, he is the most capped player in Croatian history and was a key part of Croatia’s run to the final of the 2018 World Cup and the semi-final of the 2022 edition. He remains an essential component in a dominant Real Madrid lineup.
8. Thomas Müller – Bayern Munich and Germany
Part of the German international team that won the 2014 World Cup and that finished third in 2010 – Thomas Müller has played for Bayern Munich for his entire senior career and is the most decorated footballer in German history, having won 32 trophies.
One of the most intelligent soccer players in the world, Müller can excel in a variety of attacking positions. At the age of 33, his passing ability, spatial awareness, and creativity continue to inspire Bayern.
9. Angel Di Maria – Juventus and Argentina
Not always given the credit that he deserves, Angel Di Maria has been a fixture at the top level of European soccer for many years. He is still making a strong contribution at the age of 34, having moved from Paris St Germain to Juventus in 2022.
The all-time assist leader at PSG, Di Maria has also played for Real Madrid and Manchester United and, along with his compatriot Messi, lifted the World Cup in Qatar at the end of 2022, making several valuable contributions throughout the tournament.
An interesting fact is that Angel Di Maria is one of the top 10 players with the most assists in soccer history.
10. Thibaut Courtois – Real Madrid and Belgium
Thibaut Courtois became the youngest player ever to represent Belgium in 2011, and 12 years later, at the age of 30, he is one of the top goalkeepers in the world.
Having earned over 90 caps for Belgium, Courtois has represented his country at three World Cups – earning the Golden Glove award in 2018. He has won multiple honors with Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid, becoming La Liga’s most expensive goalkeeper when he moved to Real in 2018.