By the time the football World Cup in Qatar ends next year, fans could be bidding goodbye to an entire generation of stars. In this article, we will look at six legends who could be playing their last World Cup in 2022.
#6 Luka Modric
The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner has carried the hopes of an entire nation on his shoulders for more than a decade. Modric is universally respected for his on-field performances and his humble persona. He has played for Croatia in four World Cups and came inches closer to lifting the World Cup in 2018. The entire Croatian team will be looking to give a happy farewell for their greatest player in the 2022 World Cup.
#5 Luis Suarez
One of the most divisive personalities in the history of the World Cup, Luis Suarez has been at the center of two huge controversies. In 2010, his intentional hand ball took Uruguay to semi-finals and he infamously bit Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup. He has also put on outstanding performances, including a decisive brace against England in the 2014 World Cup.
#4 Sergio Ramos
Ramos is Spain’s most capped player and arguably their greatest centre-back. Ramos was selected for the 2006 World Cup and played his first major tournament as a right-back. He continued to play on the right side of the defense in the 2010 World Cup as Spain became champions.
Since then he has formed a formidable centre-back partnership with Gerard Pique. Although he was left out of the EURO 2020 squad due to injury concerns, he is expected to be part of the 2022 World Cup if he remains fit.
#3 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic is the oldest among the legends who could be playing their last World Cup in 2022. The ageless center-forward could break several records if he plays in the 2022 World Cup. He will be among the oldest outfield players to feature in a World Cup game. Zlatan will also be the only player featured in the 2002 World Cup to make it to the 2022 World Cup.
Zlatan last played a World Cup match in 2006 as Sweden did not qualify for the 2010 and 2014 editions. Sweden performed decently in his absence in the 2018 World Cup but his goal-scoring form for Milan might see him make the cut for Qatar 2022.
#2 Lionel Messi
The only major trophy missing Lionel Messi’s cabinet is the most prestigious trophy of them all. Lionel Messi came very close to lifting the trophy in 2014 where he was named the best player of the 2014 World Cup. In the 2018 World Cup, he missed a crucial penalty against Iceland but scored the goal that took Argentina to the Round of 16 stage.
Although Messi is the youngest player in the list, he has said recently that he only has 2-3 years left before retirement. Argentina will go into the tournament as dark horses after winning Copa America.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo
Topping the list of legends who could be playing their last World Cup in 2022 is Cristiano Ronaldo, the most prolific goalscorer in the history of international football. Ronaldo was one of the finds of the tournament in the 2006 World Cup as he helped Portugal reach the semi-finals.
Since then Portugal has not been able to get past the Round of 16 despite Ronaldo’s best efforts. However, Portugal have a splendid group of young players who could finally help Ronaldo and Portugal lift the World Cup. Ronaldo has seven World Cup goals now and will be looking to get his tally into double figures.