There was a time when athletes turned 30, they were seen to regress significantly. While this might still hold true, stars such as LeBron James, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Tom Brady, Cristiano Ronaldo have defied aging and gotten better with age. Today, Leo Messi turned 35 and seems to have entered the mogul phase and 35+ GOAT club. Lets have a look at the the current athletes around the world who are in this select club.
First, the newest inductee into this club, the legend, the messiah himself, Lionel Andres Messi. He has scored 694 club goals in 844 appearances so far whilst assisting plenty more. Unplayable in his prime, he would score at will and despite a less prolific time at PSG, he has delivered the COPA America for his country recently and stands as one of the games best ever. He has won a record 7 Balon D’or titles. His rivalry with Cristano Ronaldo (Already in this club) will forever be remembered in history.
From a diminutive playmaker to a giant game wrecker. Standing in at 6’9” and weighing in at 250lbs, this freight train has completed 19 seasons at an elite level. Compared to Michael Jordan as the greatest hooper of all time, James has won 4 NBA titles, 4 MVP & 4 Finals MVP, 2 Olympic golds and is closing in on being the all time leading scorer in the NBA. His longevity is attributed to his attention to detail to recovery and nutrition. He spends roughly a million dollars on nutrition and recovery alone. Although he has shown signs of slowing down, he is still one of the best players in the NBA if not the best at 37. His goal to play together with his son Bronny is not too far from being achieved.
Another 37 year old who shows is as good as ever is the Portuguese goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo. Similar to James, he spends a good fortune on nutrition and recovery. Even at this age he was by far the best player for the English giants Manchester United. He scored 18 goals in 30 games for United last season despite doubts over his age. He has 117 goals for Portugal, which is the best return in the history of the game. He has not indicated when he will retire but when he does, the game will lose one of its best assets. He’s certainly a massive part of the 35+ club.
Dominance will forever be synonymous with Serena Williams, as arguably the most dominant athlete, period. She has won 23 Grand Slam titles, a record in the open era. She has been ranked number 1 for 319 weeks, more than 6 years despite taking time off for injuries, pregnancy and others. At a time when female tennis has been questioned, she has produced incredible performances to single handedly empower the Tennis community. At the age of 40, she has rarely showed signs of slowing down.
From a 40 year old to a 44 year old. Tom Brady might not be a household name outside of the United States, he is by far the most successful athlete of his generation in US sports with 7 rings or championships. Guys like James Harden, Chris Paul, Dak Prescott are mocked for not having a championship shows how far ahead Tom Brady is in terms of winning and how insane his numbers are. Factor in his age, about to turn 45 in August, he is perhaps the captain of this club and unsurprisingly has a lucrative job as an analyst for fox when he retires.
From one gridiron Football great to another, Aaron Rodgers is a two time reigning league MVP. He recently became the highest paid player and is getting better at the age of 38. Although he only has a single championship to his resume, his abilities and numbers are off the charts. He is the only QB to have TD to INT ratio 4:1 or better. His hall of fame career in Green Bay could do with another championship but there is no denying his place at the 35+ club.
Sir Lewis Hamilton
Before we begin the car over driver debate, lets not forget about the other driver that’s in the same car. Well, Nico Rosberg defied the odds somewhat but what Sir Lewis Hamilton has consistently achieved is phenomenal. He has the same championships as the great Michael Schumacher and has a few years left in him to go at least one beyond. He is also an activist for black rights movement and other important areas of the community.
Mostly mistaken to be related to the legendary Larry Bird, Sue Bird is heading into her final campaign before retirement as the best WNBA player in the history at the age of 41. She has won a record 4 WNBA championships and 5 Olympic gold medals. She is also known as the partner of soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe.