Ronaldo, Messi, Hamilton, Nadal, Biles: 10 iconic athletes that may retire soon

Athletes who may retire soon

Tennis star Roger Federer has become the latest sporting icon to call time on their career, but which other athletes could soon follow suit? 

Federer is one of the most recognisable figures in the history of his tennis and while his 20 Grand Slam singles titles rank only third on the all-time list, there are many who still consider him the best player ever.

The same can be said for Serena Williams, who also announced her retirement recently –– bringing to an end more than two decades of dominance in the sport. 

As much as it saddens us to think about, all the greatest athletes of this generation must retire at some point –– even though it feels as though many could go on forever. 

We’ve taken inspiration from the Daily Mail, who have devised a list of sports stars who may be nearing their swansong. 

Here are 10 athletes who may be close to retirement: 

Rafael Nadal 

Nadal and Federer enjoyed one of the most competitive rivalries in sporting history and now that the Swiss star has put down his racquet for good, Nadal may choose to do the same. 

The Spaniard has won the most Grand Slam titles in men’s tennis history, having secured his 22nd major at Roland-Garros earlier this year. 

However, the 36-year-old suffered an abdominal tear at Wimbledon and didn’t look completely fit at the US Open. 

With Novak Djokovic closing in on his Grand Slam record, Nadal may want to continue playing, but a lot will depend on whether he can stay fit. 


Tom Brady

Brady retired from the NFL back in February but soon changed his mind and is now 2-0 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. 

The 45-year-old already has six Super Bowls to his name and don’t be surprised if he adds another to this tally. 

Yet, Brady is still likely to call time on his career at the end of this season or next –– this time for good. 

Tom Brady for the Buccaneers

Lewis Hamilton 

Hamilton has won a joint-record seven F1 World Championships and remains one of the best drivers on the grid. 

His Mercedes car has been uncompetitive this season, however, and he stands no chance of winning a record-breaking eighth championship this year. 

After losing to Max Verstappen in agonising circumstances last season and with a failing car for much of this campaign, questions are mounting over whether Hamilton will call it a day. 

Lewis Hamilton

Simone Biles

Biles is the most decorated gymnast in history and has achieved things that many thought were never possible. 

Yet, at 25 years old, there is no doubt she has passed her peak and having publicly admitted her mental health struggles, the next Olympic Games seems some way away. 

Simone Biles

Cristiano Ronaldo 

Ronaldo has been out of favour with new Man United boss Erik ten Hag and reports have suggested that few clubs are willing to meet the wage demands of the Portuguese star. 

With the upcoming World Cup likely to be his last, if the five-time Ballon d’Or winner continues to be benched, then his retirement could come sooner rather than later.

Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Man United

Lionel Messi 

Like Ronaldo, Messi is regarded as one of the best players of all time and is a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner. 

Having left Barcelona last season, Messi scored just six league goals in his first year at PSG and was snubbed of a Ballon d’Or nomination

He’s started this campaign much stronger, but it may still be the beginning of the end. 


Venus Williams 

Venus is actually older than her sister, Serena, who called time on her career at the US Open earlier this month. 

The 42-year-old rarely competes on the WTA Tour anymore and last won a title in February 2016. 

A seven-time Grand Slam champion, Venus’ time on the court is almost certainly coming to an end soon, though perhaps she’ll give Serena’s retirement time to soak in first. 

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Venus Williams and Serena Williams

How many Grand Slam doubles titles have Venus and Serena won together?

LeBron James

James is second on the all-time NBA scoring list and has won four NBA titles. 

While the 37-year-old remains one of the best players in the league, he has been part of a struggling LA Lakers side recently and time may be running out for him to add to his silverware. 

LeBron James - Los Angeles Lakers

Megan Rapinoe 

Rapinoe has won almost everything there is to win and is regarded as one of the best women’s footballers ever. 

The US star is also a widely known activist and at 37 years old, she may choose to focus more of her attention on this moving forward. 


Tiger Woods

Woods made a miraculous return to golf at the Masters this year, but it’s clear the 15-time major winner is far from fully fit. 

While Woods is never one to give up the fight, it was clear how much he was struggling physically at St Andrews in July and the end of his career seems inevitable at this point.

Tiger Woods
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