The FIFA World Cup is set to take place in Qatar,2022, from November 20 until December 18. The biggest stars in the world of football will be locking horns this November with the ultimate aim of lifting the coveted trophy after the final in December.
For a lot of high-profile names it will likely be their final chance of adding the World Cup to their trophy cabinet, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric among the players likely to have retired from international football by the time their next chance arrives in 2026.
However, we might witness some superstars play their last World Cup. There are players who are edging closer to retirement age and Qatar 2022 would become their last opportunity to shine.
The FIFA World Cup will play host to two of the greatest players ever to set foot on a football field: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will always be synonymous with each other. However, debates about who is the greatest will continue long after both players retire. 2022 could be their last chance to claim the FIFA World Cup, for thirty-five-year-old Messi and Ronaldo, a couple of years his senior at 37 years old.
- Cristiano Ronaldo
The Qatar World Cup, many doubts and expectations are rising for the Portuguese star player, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese has already led his National team to European Glory in Euro 2016.
At the club level, Cristiano Ronaldo has emerged as one of the greatest players to ever step on the football ground. Also, he’s the highest goal scorer in the history of football at both, the club and international levels.
Ronaldo has played at four World Cups and last year broke the international scoring record held by Iran’s Ali Daei, but he has never managed a goal in the knockout rounds either. The Portugal captain will be nearly 38 at the end of this year, yet he remains in impressive physical shape and still scored 24 goals for Manchester United this season.
In the 2018 World Cup that took place in Russia, Portugal was eliminated by Uruguay in the Round of 16. In the opening match of group B,Cristiano’s perfect hat trick stunned the whole Spanish team.
Hence, Cristiano Ronaldo is 37-year-old now. But he’s still in really good shape as he scored 24 goals in all competitions for Manchester United. When asked about whether it will be the Portuguese’s last world cup, he said “I will be the one to decide, nobody else.“
- Lionel Messi
If we talk about Cristiano Ronaldo, we can’t neglect the presence of Lionel Messi. As both the legends ageing, their decade-long rivalry is going to end too. The Argentine Playmaker was not so much impressive in his first season in the Ligue 1 but we know what he’s actually capable of.
The legendary Argentinian finally lifted silverware with the national team last summer at the Copa America – and it looks as though Qatar 2022 will be his last chance to win the biggest one of all.
Ronaldo and Messi will undoubtedly create headlines whether they delight or disappoint in Qatar, but they won’t be alone in thinking this could be their .
- Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is, of course, desperate to have a strong World Cup. It’s never been his best competition. It might be his last one, but having seen him play and how he looks after himself. I wouldn’t be surprised if, like Cristiano Ronaldo, he still plays into his late thirties and maybe gives it one more shot. But, of course, it doesn’t get any easier. Especially as a centre-forward with the hopes of the entire nation on his shoulders. Can he break his duck and score a goal at this year’s World Cup? That will really help Poland to progress.
Neymar is considered Brazil’s main man. Maybe he is still lamenting what happened to him in World Cup 2014. He was playing great football before an injury ended his World Cup. Neymar knows now that if he doesn’t play well, there is someone like Vinicius Junior, Raphinha, Antony, or Richarlison ready to take his place.
- Luka Modric
Modric will go down in history as one of the best midfielders in football. The Croatia captain led his country to the World Cup final for the first time in their history back in Russia in 2018.The 35-year-old is also the most capped Croatian player, and we will witness his magic creativity for the last time on the world stage. The player has already confirmed his trip to Qatar will be the last one as the national team player.
Messi, Ronaldo, Lewandowski, Modric and Neymar have all experienced the highs and lows of playing in a World Cup. However, multiple Champions League winner Gareth Bale will land in Doha on the wrong side of Thirty, and the games will be his first (and most likely last) chance to play at this level for his country. With plenty to offer, the Welshman is desperate to be a part of the tournament before he ends his playing career.
- Luis Suarez
35-year-old Suarez will take part in his fourth and final FIFA World Cup with a checkered record so far in his previous competitions. In 2010, he denied Ghana the chance to become the first African team to reach the semi-finals by punching a goalbound effort off the line. Four years later, he was caught biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, which saw him earn a four-month suspension from all football. But he has been a consistent presence for a country that has produced some world-class strikers in recent years. The national team skipper has scored 68 goals in 134 games for the country.
- Gareth Bale
Arguably Wales’ greatest ever player, Bale is about to achieve the goal he has worked his career for and play in the World Cup. Wales is about to take part in their first World Cup since 1958 and Bale has contributed hugely to the national team since making his debut in 2006. He has tallied 39 goals and 22 assists in 108 appearances. The 33-year-old winger now plays for MLS side Los Angeles FC, having achieved everything possible in his club career.
Pepe will definitely go down in history as a legendary Portuguese centre-back. The 38-year-old plays to this day, as he’s now the captain of Porto. Pepe also got called up to Portugal’s Euro 2020 squad and played all four games, forming a centre-back partnership with Ruben Dias.
Although the World Cup qualifiers are not finished yet, Fernando Santos’ side is the favourite to make it into the tournament.
And that next year’s competition might be Pepe’s last one, considering his age and the prospect of young talents.
- Diego Godin
The Uruguayan centre-back might also play his last World Cup, should his country qualify for November’s tournament. Godin, who currently plays for Serie A outfit Cagliari Calcio, has already played in three World Cups in 2010, 2014, and 2018. The 35-year-old has fiercely captained his country to the big tournaments and the next year could see his last outing as the Uruguay captain.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
It’s hard to accept that Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s era could come to an end after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Sweden international helped AC Milan to return back to their winning ways and lift the Serie A trophy at the end of the 2021/22 campaign. Unfortunately, he will be out of action for eight months after knee surgery. He would probably miss the upcoming World Cup, while it is still unclear whether he will be ready to continue his playing spell after recovery.
- Olivier Giroud
Giroud might as well retire from international football next year, giving Karim Benzema call for this year’s Euros. France coach Didier Deschamps decided to call the Real Madrid star, which caused some drama in the dressing room. Giroud, himself played just 40 minutes for the Bleus this summer, so next year might see the 34-year-old striker’s last outing in the World Cup.
- Guillermo Ochoa
Mexico’s legendary goalkeeper, Who is 37 years old. whom everybody remembers from the World Cup 2014 in Brazil, where he impressed the football world, might retire after next year. Qatar 2022 would be Ochoa’s 4th World Cup, even though he didn’t play in the first two ones. However, considering Ochoa’s age, next year’s tournament might as well become his last World Cup.
- Thiago Silva
Brazil’s captain has endured a legendary spell both in his club and country career, however, he might lead the five-time World Cup champions to the Mundial for the last time. Recent injury problems have ruled Thiago Silva out from Chelsea as well as from Brazil squads, so the career-changing decision could be made after Qatar 2022.
- Sergio Ramos
Ramos endured quite a strange season last term with a lot of injuries, Real Madrid departure and withdrawal from the Spain national team, which he captains. Luis Enrique decided to omit the legendary centre-back from his Euro 2020 squad, and should Spain qualify for the World Cup and Ramos be called up, that might see his last appearance in a La Furia Roja shirt.
- Giorgio Chiellini
Giorgio Chiellini has already announced he will retire from international football after Italy’s friendly against Argentina at Wembley in June. He is set to leave Juventus and join LAFC in MLS. So, after the World Cup, the Italian veteran’s playing time in club football could also come to an end.
- Gianluigi Buffon
Another legendary Italian, whom we will see playing last time for his country next year. In July Buffon admitted that he dreams of playing at the 2022 World Cup, so participation in Qatar 2022 would be the perfect farewell for the 43-year-old keeper.
- Edinson Cavani
The Uruguayan will wear the national team shirt for the final time during this World Cup. After leaving United, Cavani joined Valencia and is now looking to get more playing time before the World Cup. The 35-year-old will complement Suarez up front, and both strikers are the engine of Uruguay’s offence. Cavani has made 129 appearances for the national team, scoring 56 goals and dishing out 17 assists. He will be a key factor for the team ahead of the tournament.
- Angel Di Maria
Di Maria has consistently performed well in pivotal games, and his goal in the Copa America final has elevated his status in Argentina. And the 34-year-old is Argentina’s star player, and the nation’s failure to lift the trophy in the 2014 World Cup final was attributed primarily to his injury. Di Maria is currently injured but he should be fit before the competition.
Despite his advanced age, the player has made a strong impression since joining Juventus, and La Albiceleste will need him throughout the competition.
- Karim Benzema
After a standout performance for Real Madrid, Benzema was called up for the Euro 2020. The player, who recently won the Ballon d’Or, has been in outstanding form. And he will be the most crucial player; at the 2022 World Cup, big things will be expected of the 34-year-old. However, as the player is 34 this will be his last World Cup. He’ll undoubtedly take the opportunity of his final World Cup in November.
- Manuel Neuer
Neuer is, without a doubt, one of Europe’s most decorated goalkeepers and a wall in the net. He received the best goalkeeper award for his performance in the 2014 World Cup final. Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper, Neuer, who is 36, will play in his final World Cup before hanging up his gloves. Germany has a strong team, but it is unclear how far they will advance this time. Neuer will undoubtedly be important to the outcome of the competition.
- Thomas Muller
Muller has already won a World Cup and is most likely to play his last World Cup in Qatar. Muller is a technically gifted player who has a big impact on his country; even at age 33, he is still the most important player for Germany. The player has 10 goals and six assists in 16 World Cup games, demonstrating his importance to the nation. The 2022 World Cup will be his final tournament
This year’s tournament offers some players a chance to cement their place in history and, for others, the opportunity to wipe away the heartache of previous appearances at the World Cup. There will be drama. There will be pain and probably a tear or two along the way. However, there’s no place a footballer would rather be in just under five months than Qatar.