Footballers who could retire at the end of 2022-23 season
- The longevity of football players in recent years has improved massively. Players go past 35 without retiring from professional football.
- Most players quit international football before officially retiring from professional football.
- Several players could announce retirement at the end of next season. Some are waiting to participate in the World Cup before retiring next summer.
The 2022-23 season in Europe’s top five leagues began last weekend. Few players might retire from professional football at the end of this season.
Footballers were seen to be in the final chapters of their careers after reaching 30. However, things have recently changed as players still look strong in their 30s. Players like Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva are still doing wonders on the pitch despite being in their late 30s.
There are a few players who are still pushing so as to participate in the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament. The players might decide to quit after the end of this season.
1. Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale was a force to reckon with in the late 2000s and early 2010s. However, in recent seasons, the Wales international struggled to get playing time at Real Madrid. Injuries played a huge role in his struggles with the Los Blancos.
Gareth Bale left the La Liga giants this summer and joined Los Angeles in MLS. The former Tottenham Hotspurs winger signed a one-year deal with Los Angeles.
Bale might have joined the MLS side to get regular playing time and feature for Wales in World Cup. It should not come as a surprise if the legendary winger retires at the end of the 2022-23 season.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the best strikers to ever step on a football pitch. The AC Milan forward has played for several teams, including Juventus, Inter Milan, FC Barcelona and Manchester United.
Football fans thought Zlatan would retire after he left Manchester United in 2018 and joined LA Galaxy. He made 58 appearances scoring 53 goals for the MLS side before returning to Europe. Zlatan joined AC Milan during the 2020 January transfer window after proving he was still lethal in front of goal.
Zlatan, who will turn 41 in October, has been useful for the Italian giants. He helped Milan win the Serie A title last season, scoring eight goals and providing three assists.
Ibrahimovic has a contract with AC Milan until the end of this season. His injury woes in recent years could force him to retire next year.
3. Giorgio Chiellini
Giorgio Chiellini will go down in history as one of the best defenders of his generation. The Italian international is an old-school centre-back known for his man-marking and aggression towards opponents.
Giorgio Chiellini spent 18 years at Juventus, where he won several titles, including the Scudetto, nine consecutive times. He was also instrumental for the Italian national team who won the Euros tournament last season.
However, it is clear that Chiellini is in the last stages of his football career after he joined Los Angeles FC this summer. The centre-back signed a one-year contract with LAFC and might retire at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Pepe, 39, is a regular starter in FC Porto’s squad. The former Real Madrid star is still going strong despite his age.
Pepe wants to feature in the 2022 FIFA World Cup before announcing his retirement from international football. The Portuguese international has one year left in his contract with FC Porto. He will also likely hang his boots from professional football at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Pepe is one of the complete defenders of his generation. He won three UEFA Champions League titles and three La Liga titles with Real Madrid between 2007 and 2017. The centre-back also played a huge role as Portugal won the 2016 European championship.
5. Joaquin Sanchez
Joaquin Sanchez was one of the exciting wingers in Europe during his prime. The Spanish international won the La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2002.
The Real Betis star celebrated his 41st birthday on July 21. Due to his age, Sanchez has not been a threat to opposition defenders in recent years.
Sanchez extended his contract with Real Betis until the end of 2022-23 next season. We will not be surprised if he calls his football career a day next summer.