Arsène Wenger has praised the “exceptional qualities” which have allowed Thierry Henry and Ryan Giggs to stay at the top for so long.
Former Gunner Henry remains one of the stars of Major League Soccer at 36, while Giggs - who turns 40 on Friday - is still playing regularly for Manchester United.
Wenger believes both players have certain traits that allow them to thrive, even when playing against much younger opponents.
You look at his club career - it's absolutely unbelievable. The quality of his performances show a masterclass at 40Arsène Wenger
“If I’m 20 per cent above the normal level at a young age and I drop 10 per cent, I'm still 10 per cent above everybody else. That's what happened to Ryan Giggs,” the manager told Arsenal Player.
“What he has done is absolutely exceptional. I always thought that Ryan Giggs did not always get the reward or the recognition for his quality and his huge career because he did not play in the World Cup and the European Championship.
“You look at his club career - it's absolutely unbelievable. The quality of his performances show a masterclass at 40. What is very remarkable in his case is that he has turned from being an individual player into being a good passer and a collective player.
“That is a very difficult transformation and that shows you that he not only had individual quality but the intelligence and understanding of the game as well.
“People like Thierry Henry [also] had exceptional qualities,” added Wenger. “They would run 100 metres in 11 seconds when everybody else did it in 12.5 or 13. So if today they are running it in 12, they are still quicker.
“They start from a huge potential and that's why at that age they can still survive, because they have the football intelligence. They had exceptional physical qualities at the start.”Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 28 Nov 2013