Lists

11 brilliant over-33-year-olds proving age is just a number this season

Arjen Robben
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5. Jermain Defoe, 34

For David Moyes, the January transfer window was simply about keeping Defoe at any cost

The diminutive striker has always been prolific, but Defoe’s exploits at Sunderland this season have almost single-handedly given the Black Cats a chance of remaining in the Premier League. The 34-year-old has scored 14 goals in 27 games, leading to rumours of a long-awaited England return and suggestions that he could still cut it at a club like Liverpool or Tottenham.

For David Moyes, the January transfer window was simply about keeping Defoe at any cost – without his goals, Sunderland would surely be doomed to demotion already.

Jermain Defoe

Sunderland would already be down but for Defoe's goals

6. Marco Borriello, 34

The journeyman forward has struck 12 goals for Cagliari this season, hitting his best form towards the end of a career that has featured him roaming around Italy like a bus full of tourists, pausing only for a brief two-appearance spell at West Ham in 2014. The striker, who claims he could have signed for Real Madrid or Manchester United earlier in his career, recently revealed one of the secrets that's kept him performing well into his 30s.

“I wear a mouthguard when I play and when I sleep,” he said. “My body might seem in perfect shape, but my two legs don’t quite match up. The ‘bite’ and a special sole in my shoe help me to use my strength better. I also sleep more soundly and don’t grind my teeth anymore.” Fair enough.

Marco Borriello

Borriello has easily left his West Ham days behind him

7. Xabi Alonso, 35

There’s a few grey hairs in that luxurious beard now – but the former Liverpool lynchpin remains as reliable as ever

Behind Robben and in front of fellow old-timer Philipp Lahm – Bayern might want to think about buying some new players – sits Alonso, their classy midfield metronome. Sure, the passage of time has taken its toll – there are a few grey hairs in that luxurious beard now – but the former Liverpool lynchpin remains as reliable as ever.

Alonso announced on Thursday that he will retire at the end of the season, so make sure you enjoy the final few months of what has been a truly superb career.

Xabi Alonso

Alonso will hang up his boots at the end of the campaign

8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 35

A frustrating drought brought some criticism before the Swede found his scoring boots again, helping Manchester United to their first trophy of the Jose Mourinho era

He may be resting those aching bones for the next few games after being handed a three-match ban, but Ibrahimovic is no slouch. He’s proved his doubters wrong in some style this season, as those who questioned whether he could do it in the Premier League in the autumn of his career were swiftly silenced with four goals in his first three games.

A frustrating drought brought some criticism before the Swede found his scoring boots again, helping Manchester United to their first trophy of the Jose Mourinho era in the EFL Cup final. “This is what I predicted,” said Ibrahimovic, who has 26 goals in 39 games, after his brace at Wembley. If only he’d seen Tyrone Mings coming.