Vintage Performers: Who are Europe’s best over-30s footballers? | MicroStrategy
Data Visualization

Vintage Performers: Who are Europe’s best over-30s footballers?

We’ve been using Opta data to analyse the data of Europe’s top five leagues. With players looking after their bodies, diets, and fitness better than ever before, we want to explore those still performing strongly in Europe’s elites beyond their 30th birthday.

Here’s our list of top-performing XI over-30s from across Europe. Germany’s Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1 provide just one member each, and the Premier League’s only representatives both play for champions Manchester City. The southern European leagues dominate; is this due in part to the slower pace of Serie A and La Liga?

Goalkeeper: Steve Mandanda (Marseille, 34) – The World Cup winner is still keeping goals out for OM, helping the club to fourth spot in Ligue 1 after ten rounds.

Defender: Domenico Criscito (Genoa, 32) – The Italian international has got his work cut out in struggling Genoa, but he has chipped in with two of his team’s nine goals this term. Criscito has made 285 passes and completes 2.7 tackles per match.

Defender: Marco Calderoni (Lecce, 30) – Left-back Calderoni’s season closely mirrors Criscito’s; he has scored two of Lecce’s nine goals this season and the club is also flirting with relegation. With 260 passes, Calderoni’s contribution from the back will be crucial in helping the Pugliese avoid the drop.

Defender: Germán Sánchez (Granada, 32) – Sánchez’s contribution has been key to CF Granada’s incredible start to the season. The Andalusians lie third in La Liga after nine rounds with just 10 goals against. Sánchez has scored one goal and made 252 passes.

Defender: Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona, 30) – Barça sits top of La Liga with Jordi Alba chipping in one goal and 376 passes at 90% accuracy!

Midfielder: David Silva (Manchester City, 33) – With four assists, 359 passes at 88% accuracy, and a goal to his name, David Silva appears timeless in the City midfield.

Manchester City’s David Silva (33) is second in the Premier League’s assists chart behind teammate Kevin De Bruyne.

Midfielder: Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gómez (Atalanta, 31) – Atalanta have set off as they finished last season, in a Champions League spot. They’re also Serie A’s top scorers with 21. Key to the Bergamo club’s success with four goals, three assists, 18 dribbles, and 342 passes is Argentine-Italian Papu Gómez.

Midfielder: Santi Cazorla (Villarreal, 34) – With four goals, three assists, 15 dribbles, and 351 passes at 87% accuracy, the former Arsenal man is showing that class is permanent.

Midfielder: Raúl García (Athletic Bilbao, 33) – The Basque side got off to a flyer this season and currently sit just outside the European spots beneath Villarreal. Raúl García has scored half his team’s goals with four.

Attacker: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City, 31) – The Argentine is joint top of the Premier League goal-scoring chart with eight strikes this season. He has also set two goals up for his team mates.

Attacker: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern München, 31) – The top scorer in Europe’s major leagues with 12 is Bayern’s Polish striker. Lewandowski has bagged more than half of his team’s haul for 2019-20 season so far, and scores once every three attempts at goal.

Robert Lewandowski (31) and Cristiano Ronaldo (34) lead Europe’s goals-per-attempt charts.

We couldn’t draft this post without a special mention for Juventus’ veteran goalkeeper, Gigi Buffon, a World Cup winner with Italy back in 2006 and still making stunning saves in Serie A at age 41! His club teammate Cristiano Ronaldo (34) has bagged four goals and set up another goal, while in Spain, 32-year-old Lionel Messi has struggled with injury, playing just 180 minutes.

We’ll continue to bring you regular updates on the data story of Europe’s five top leagues as the season progresses, so stay tuned. You can check our online dossier at any time to explore the stats for yourself.

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