The Last Dance: Footballers who could retire after the 2022 World Cup
Some of the world’s best footballers see the World Cup as their proverbial last dance, where they will bring the curtains to their careers that are nothing short of amazing.
The sport will never be the same again should they hang up their boots, but that is the reality of the game of football. Elders will give way to new generation, no matter what the circumstances.
Here we have a list of potential retirements after the final whistle have been blown in Qatar in December.
Croatia’s record holder for appearances will be 37 when they open the tournament against Morocco in Al-Khor, as he looks to cap off his career with by lifting the World Cup. Prior to that, he had extended his stay with Real Madrid for another season.
Modric was on top of the world four years ago, in which he led the squad in checkers to their maiden World Cup final in Moscow, en route to a historic Ballon D’Or win.
Six years after lifting the European title, Portugal’s all-time leader in caps and goals knew that Qatar 2022 will be his last chance of winning it all, as he was 37 when they will play their opening match against Ghana.
The Manchester United legend still has gas in his tank, thanks to his fitness routine that is the best open secret in football. As a result of his committed and calculated regimen, he had enabled himself to be injury free for an extended period.
The Argentine might have had a downturn on his debut season with Paris Saint-Germain, but his Finalissima performance tells a different story as he tore Italy apart in Wembley, making a glimpse of what was to come in Qatar.
The upcoming tournament will be his last shot of winning it all, as last year’s success at the Copa America was his first in a major tournament.
With national records of 86 goals in 152 appearances, Leo would surely feel the pressure given that he will be 35 when he leads the Albiceleste against Saudi Arabia in Lusail. In retrospect, Maradona was aged 33 when he played his last match for Argentina in USA ‘94 before he was kicked out owing to his drug issues.
By the time they take on South Korea in Al-Rayyan on November 22, Luis Suarez is aged 35 in this match.
El Pistolero is the face of Uruguayan football, having been an integral part of the Proceso era by Tabarez, as he already won the Copa America more than a decade ago.
However, with the new generation coming in with the likes of Darwin Nuñez getting minutes, we will see the last of that 2010 World Cup squad that finish fourth in South Africa. Apart from Suarez, the team had Edinson Cavani partnering him up front, with Diego Godin and Fernando Muslera leading the back line.
Move over to John Charles, Ian Rush, and Ryan Giggs. There is no doubt that the soon-to-be free agent was the greatest footballer to wear the Welsh red kit, bar none.
Bale will be 33 by the time they will take on the United States in Al-Rayyan, with a daunting task of getting out of Group B.
His almost one-man show with the Dragons practically ended a 64-year World Cup drought, six years after Wales have returned to tournament football with an unlikely run to the last four of the Euros in France.
Rumors have been circling about his future ever since he announced his departure from Madrid, but on this occasion, the Welsh might be more than happy to be in the World Cup.
The hope of Poland is on the shoulders on this fearless forward, who is the nation’s record appearance maker and goal scorer. It is unknown now what his future will be because his club career beyond Bayern has never been set in stone now.
Lewandowski will turn 34 by the time the Eagles play Mexico in Group C, in which they will take on Messi and Argentina in their final group game.
The free agent right-back is already 39 years young, having been selected to the Brazil side in their June friendlies as a preparation for Qatar 2022. As a guide, centre-half Thiago Silva is just two years younger.
However, this will be the last shot of the former Barca and Juventus stalwart. Should he get the nod from Tite, it will be his third World Cup, having been part of the 2014 side that finished fourth at home.