Sports

5 Stars Who Have Proven That Age Is Just A Number

It is quite common for players to play at the top deep into the 30s, sometimes even till their 40s, as these athletes have shown.

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Lionel Messi kisses the World Cup trophy at Lusail Stadium, Qatar.
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Indian batsman Murali Vijay recently said that decision-makers in Indian cricket perceive players over 30 as past their prime, save for exceptions like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. (More Sports News)

“After 30 in India, it’s [that player] a taboo. I think people see us as 80-year-olds walking on the street,” he said on a digital platform. “The media should also address it differently. I feel you are peaking in your 30s. Sitting here right now, I feel I can bat the best way I can. But unfortunately, the opportunities were less, and I had to search for chances outside.”

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It is unfortunate that a player would feel that way because in these times, athletes often play till their 40s. Here are some who epitomize longevity.

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (41)

The AC Milan forward is actively playing professional football despite crossing the 40 mark. The Swede has played for some of the top clubs in football, like Barcelona, Ajax and Manchester United, and continues to provide the same spark that he did in his younger days. “As long as I can produce results, I will still play. The day I slow down, I want the people around me to be honest and say he’s slowing down and then I’ll be realistic,” Ibrahimovic said on CNN. 

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2. Lionel Messi (35)

How can we not talk about Messi after what he conjured up in Qatar? Scoring seven goals and making some more, he was awarded the Golden Ball for being the tournament’s outstanding player. Argentina's last summit success had come in 1986. They came close to winning in 2014 in Brazil but eventually lost 1-0 to Germany in the final. However, in Qatar, Messi and Argentina thwarted the force of Kylian Mbappe's France as the Albiceleste celebrated the numero uno prize in world football.

3. Megan Rapinoe (37)

The US women’s football winger is a twice FIFA Women's World Cup winner (2015, 2019) and has also won a gold medal at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Rapinoe was also named on TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020, thanks to her sporting excellence and activism. The American forward was also an active voice in her country for equal pay for women. 

4. James Anderson (40)

James 'Jimmy' Anderson recently stated in an interview to the Daily Mail that he will continue to play Test cricket despite crossing 40. The veteran cricketer is one of England's finest bowlers with 675 wickets in 177 Tests. Anderson made his debut versus Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2002 in the 50-over format cricket and has never looked back since.

5. LeBron James (38)

One of American basketball's greatest players, LeBron James' popularity has no limits. Nor does his longevity. The LA Lakers star completes two decades in the NBA this year, and continues to rake in the records. James has four NBA championships, and two gold medals with Team USA at the Olympics (2008, 2012) and a bronze (2004). With many awards and plaudits to his name, LeBron James continues to prove that the age factor plays a minimal role as far as achieving success goes.

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