Monday, October 2, 2023

From Messi to Ronaldo: Top 10 players who will play their last FIFA World Cup

With less than 10 months to go before the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, the participation of 29 nations from around the globe is already confirmed. The remaining 3 spots of the 32 will be filled in after nations qualify from their respective playoffs round.
However, two greats of the game, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will compete in the fifth World Cup of their careers. Moreover, the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 is likely to be the last world cup for both, as they have reached the twilight of their career, Zeenews reported.
Both Messi and Ronaldo represented their respective countries first time in a World Cup in 2006. Despite being the best in the business for more than 15 years, neither Ronaldo nor Messi have lifted the World Cup trophy once in their careers.
Here are the top-10 players who are likely to play their last World Cup:
1) Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal got down to a difficult road in qualifying for the FIFA World Cup. Their participation was confirmed late on March 29, when they defeated North Macedonia in the European play-offs final. Ronaldo, who’s 37-years of age is likely to play his last world cup reason being his age. Although, he defies all odds with his fitness and stats at 37 also, but by the time the next world cup comes around the corner, the five-time Ballon d’Or holder will be 41 years of age.
2) Lionel Messi
The little magician lifted the Copa America trophy last year with Argentina and the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup will be his last chance to win the biggest trophy in world football. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner single-handedly carried Argentina to the 2014 World Cup final but failed to seal the deal for his country.
Messi’s numbers have taken a dip since he left FC Barcelona for PSG and the 34-year-old is clearly in for his last World Cup with Argentina.
3) Luka Modric
The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner, who won the trophy because of his astonishing performance in the 2018 World Cup, where he guided Croatia to a World Cup final, is likely to play his last World Cup in 2022. Nonetheless, Luka Modric is the only player who has won a Ballon d’Or since 2007 in the Messi-Ronaldo era. Luka Modric, 36 years of age has still a lot left in his tank and he showed that by helping Real Madrid knock PSG out of the Champions League 2022. Sadly, he’s also reaching the ending moments of his career with injuries and his age taking a toll.
4) Robert Lewandowski
The Bayern Munich striker will be 37 at the time of the 2026 World Cup. However, he can be a part of that tournament too if he’s able to follow the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo. The fitness Lewandowski has maintained after entering his thirties still keeps him lethal in front of goal. The Poland international is yet to score a goal in the World Cup and will surely change this record of his in Qatar this year.
5) Karim Benzema
The French forward missed the 2018 World Cup but is now back with full force to be a part of the already star-studded Les Bleus team. Benzema, 34 is inarguably at the peak of his career and is in deadly form. Recently, he scored a hat-trick against PSG to ruin their Champions League dream.
6) Luis Suarez
Suarez will feature in his fourth world cup and most likely his last. The former Barcelona striker is one of the greatest in history already and his numbers speak for himself. He’s Uruguay’s all-time top scorer with 55 goals under his belt. Suarez is 35 years of age and will surely retire in a couple of years with injuries being a concern.
7) Manuel Neuer
Neuer’s teammate Toni Kroos has already retired from international football while the goalkeeper will lead Germany eyeing the 2022 World Cup trophy. Neuer is already a world champion winning the elusive trophy in 2014 and can hang up his boots in the international arena as he’ll be 40 when the next World Cup comes.
8) Sergio Ramos
The Spanish defender has been known for his aggressive defending and late-winning goals. At 36-years, Ramos is currently struggling to perform consistently and is most likely to retire after the 2022 WC.
9) Hugo Lloris
Lloris has represented France since 2008 and the 35-year-old has won a lot of titles in both domestic and international arenas. Hugo has represented France in two Nations Leagues, three Euros and three World Cups. He also holds the record of most capped player for France (108).
10) Sergio Busquets
The Spanish midfielder is the third-highest capped player and is still a key player for the nation being the heart of the mid-field. The FC Barcelona legend is a world champion and a Euro winner with Spain. He’ll be 34 when the World Cup starts and will most likely play his last major with Spain this year itself.



Don't Miss