Euro 2020 Special

Legendary Players Who Will Feature in Their Last World Cup

With the World Cup now looming on the horizon, there are a group of elite players, now in the twilight of their careers, who know that this may be their last major international tournament as they head into the twilight of their careers.

No doubt they would love to go out on a high by lifting the trophy aloft in December 16th in Lusail.

Here are some set to bid their World Cup farewells.


Karim Benzema

Benzema recently won the Ballon d’or and, at 34 years old, is arguably in the form of his life.

However, he missed out on France’s win in Russia in 2018, having been cast into the international wilderness by Didier Deschamps and the French Football federation for his part in a plot to blackmail a former international team-mate.

He only earned a recall in 2021 and this is probably his last chance for World Cup glory.


Cristiano Ronaldo

At 38, Benzema’s former Real Madrid team mate Cristiano Ronaldo is even older, and, although he remains in excellent physical shape, it is unrealistic to expect him to be still playing at the top level in four years’ time when the tournament is staged in North America. He may find himself reduced to a bit part role with his club Manchester United, but the Portuguese captain remains integral to the hopes of his country in Qatar.

The highest goalscorer in the history of international football, with 117 goals for his name, Ronaldo will be looking to add to his tally before he is forced to hang up his boots.


Lionel Messi

For years Ronaldo and Messi vied for the tag of best footballer in the world, but Father Time has caught up with both of them, and it is time for younger men to take their place. Messi has come close before. In 2014, his Argentina side made the final against Germany, but, by then, he was only half fit and was unable to perform to his best in what was a very disappointing match and they lost to the Germans in extra time.

Fed up with the burden of carrying Argentine hopes, Messi has retired from international football several times before, only to be persuaded to return.

This will be his fifth World Cup at the age of 35, and almost certainly his last.


Angel Di Maria

Di maria has played alongside Messi for many years and has been a very influential figure for them. Although currently injured, the Juventus player believes that he will be fit in time for Qatar, which is a good job in his case. He is now 34 years old and knows there will not be another World Cup for him.


Luka Modrić

Midfielder Luka Modrić was part of the Croatia team that reached the World Cup final in Russia four years ago before losing to France, and he won the Ballon d’Or that year, partly in recognition of them.

He is playing as well as ever for Real Madrid, and was integral to them winning the League and the Champions League for a record 14th time last season. Unfortunately for him, he is now 37 years old and knows that his time at the top is drawing to a close.


Manuel Neuer

When Manuel Neuer decides to hang up his gloves and looks at his medal collection he will find a World Cup winner’s one among them from 2014, when he was part of the Germany team that won the World Cup in Brazil. He was named the best goalkeeper at that tournament, and this will be the last chance for the German captain to add to his international medal haul.


Thomas Müller

When Neuer does decide to step away from international football, he is likely to be joined by Bayern Munich team-mate Thomas Müller. Another winner from that 2014 German side, the versatile forward has played 18 times for his country, but will know that he is unlikely to make many more appearances.


Robert Lewandowski

Neuer and Müller know Robert Lewandowski well from their time together with the Bundesliga side, but, although he has now moved on to Barcelona, the Polish captain continues to knock in the goals.

This will be his second World Cup, but, at the age of 34, it is likely to be his last. He will be hoping that his side do better than last time in Russia when they failed to get past the group stages, although they have been drawn with Argentina, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.




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