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FIFA World Cup 2022 : The Last Dance

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Messi and Ronaldo playing a past International Match | PHOTO: Courtesy |
  • World Cup season is here with us, with kick-off just days away
  • Sadly we get to see an end of an era for some of the players as they play their last World Cup
  • Some of the players have become household names around the World

Several players, including Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, and Lionel Messi, are expected to play in their final World Cup this month in Qatar.

In addition to those two are Thomas Müller, Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suárez, Luka Modric and Dani Alves.

For these seasoned athletes, holding on for the upcoming World Cup in North America in 2026 may be going too far. We at SportLeo sample the players who might just have run out of time for the next World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to play his last World Cup competition for Portugal | PHOTO: Sky Sports|

Ronaldo, 37, has had a difficult season so far at Manchester United and is ready to prove himself in Qatar.

The United star, being the men’s international all-time Goalscorer with 117 goals, looks to re-write his story after an unsuccessful start to a new season under Erik Ten Hag with major controversies. With the Portugal icon seemingly adamant that age is just but a number, the football fraternity expects this Qatar World Cup to be his last. Only time will tell.

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Lionel Messi playing his last World Cup as he fights to lift one in his lifetime | PHOTO: Sky Sports|

Thirsty for the much-coveted trophy, The World Cup, comes the Albicelestes, led by their 35-year-old Captain Messi. With the Paris Saint-Germain player’s best result from the World Cup being the 2014 Final tie with Germany, which ended in favour of the Germans, he looks to end his legacy as a Football Icon, and no challenge comes greater to the World Cup. His season couldn’t have started any better, with the Argentine bagging 12 goals and 14 assists so far from just 19 matches for his club Paris Saint-Germain. The real bragging rights are on the line, and Messi looks determined to lift the cup in Qatar this December.

Thomas Müller (Germany)

Thomas Müller, 33, was an almost constant for Germany after scoring five goals at the 2010 World Cup. After Germany’s disappointing World Cup performance in 2018 as the defending champion, Joachim Löw briefly dropped Müller from the team in 2019. However, Müller was recalled for the European Championship the following year and has since proven to be a leader.

Not being a prolific goal scorer, Muller is known best for his personality and squad-uniting antics, which are crucial in a World Cup tournament. He’s always seen encouraging teammates on the pitch and advising younger players, which will pay off in the future when he retires from playing.

Robert Lewandowski (Poland)

Robert Lewandowski, 34, always in the shadows, has never received enough accolades due to the Messi-Ronaldo era. He is one of the best strikers we will ever see as he reaches retirement age. With the Polish holding his Country’s record scorer title, he’s expected to lead them to the Qatar World Cup. Lewandowski’s goal-scoring history in the Bundesliga speaks for itself, as he scored 312 goals in 384 games before his most recent move to Barcelona. Despite not having a World Cup goal, the Polish have sights on helping his team get through the Group Stages this time.

Luis Suárez ( Uruguay)

This Qatar World Cup will be Luis Suarez’s fourth one. After moving to his boyhood club Nacional, the Uruguayan is expected to play his last World Cup after having a controversy-filled career. In the 2014 World Cup, he was sent home after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini. The Uruguayan is set to meet his old nemesis, Cristiano Ronaldo, as the two clubs battle in the same group together with Ghana and the Korean Republic.

Luka Modric ( Croatia)

Luka Modric

Luka Modric admitted to this World Cup being his last | PHOTO: Mirror|

Despite his age, Modric seems to be getting better, like fine wine. The 37-year-old Real Madrid midfielder has played a decade for the Spanish giants and has been crucial to the Team’s success. With five Champions Leagues, three League Titles, and the Croatian midfielder bagging the 2018 Ballon d’Or, he seems set to carry his Country in Qatar for his fifth World Cup appearance and his last.

Dani Alves (Brazil)

If you ask any football fan to list the best full-backs in our history, you are clearly expecting to hear the name, Daniel Alves da Silva. Dani Alves has had one heck of a career, with the Brazilian playing eight successful years in the Spanish side Barcelona before moving to Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. The 39-year-old fullback hasn’t had the best in the International scene playing in only two World Cups ( 2014 and 2018). Being given a chance by Tite in what was an unexpected call-up, the Brazilian is determined to end his career on a high. Brazil expected to ease out the likes of Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon in their group as they fight for a sixth World Cup win.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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