The 2022 World Cup of Qatar will be the last major international tournament for many legends of the game.
Mother nature waits for nobody and Messi more than anybody is aware of that. He was recently quoted by Argentine outlet TN, per The Mirror, stating that the upcoming World Cup will “surely” be his last.
What did Messi say regarding his retirement?
“If it is my last World Cup? Yes, surely yes, surely yes.
“I feel good physically, I can have a very good pre-season this year that I hadn’t done the year before because of how everything went.
“I started training late, playing without rhythm, with the tournament already started, then I went to the national team, when I came back, I had an injury and I never finished starting.”
And so, with even the great man himself acknowledging that this will be his last hurrah in world football’s most illustrious competition, it means he will have one more shot at earning glory.
The same likely goes for Ronaldo, too, given the Portuguese icon is two years older than Messi and now a 37-year-old veteran.
But which other high-profile stars are set to enjoy their last dance in Qatar?
The best XI of players set to play their last World Cup
GK – Manuel Neuer (36)
RB – Dani Alves (39)
CB – Diego Godin (36)
CB – Thiago Silva (38)
LB – Jordi Alba (33)
CM – Sergio Busquets (34
CM – Luka Modric (37)
CAM – Roberto Firmino (31)
RW – Lionel Messi (35)
ST – Lewandowski (34)
LW – Cristiano Ronaldo (37)
Alves is fighting for a call up to the Brazilian national team for Qatar despite incredibly now being 39-yeards old.
Although Silva, who is just one year his junior, has every chance of starting for the Selecao.
Alba and Busquets will also likely play important roles for Spain.
Whereas Godin and Firmino will be battling for gametime in their respective South American squads. However, given the quality afforded to both Brazil and Urugay, they might find minutes pretty hard to come by.
Who would make the bench?
The list of reputable stars set to hang up their international boots doesn’t stop there, though.
We’ve also drafted up a six-man bench of players that could be partaking in their last World Cup.
Check it out below:
Sub – Guillermo Ochoa (37)
Sub – Pepe (39)
Sub – Jose Fonte (38)
Sub – Joao Moutinho (36)
Sub – Luis Suarez (35)
Sub – Olivier Giroud (36)
The 2022 World Cup isn’t just a last swansong for Ronaldo but a whole host of Portuguese players, with Pepe, Fonte and Moutinho all bowing out.
Mexican cult hero Ochoa, who always turns it on for the World Cup, will say goodbye to the big stage aged 37.
Meanwhile, Suarez and Giroud surely won’t have another tournament in them at the ages of 39 and 40.