From Messi to Suarez to Benzema, these are the outstanding gamers prone to make ultimate bow in high competitors.
The soccer World Cup kicking off in Qatar on Sunday will doubtless be the ultimate act on the worldwide stage for quite a few stars of the sport.
Right here’s an inventory of 10 gamers who’re broadly anticipated to be making their ultimate bow within the sport’s most prestigious match.
Lionel Messi, Argentina
Qatar 2022 can be Messi’s fifth World Cup. The 35-year-old ahead of French facet Paris St Germain can be hoping to construct on Argentina’s Copa America triumph final yr and win the one trophy that has eluded him to date in his storied profession.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
The narrative across the Portuguese famous person ought to have been dominated by his quest to win Portugal its first-ever World Cup. However as an alternative, Cristiano Ronaldo enters the marketing campaign with the smoke of an explosive interview wherein he lambasted his membership Manchester United hanging over him.
Luka Modric, Croatia
Whereas Modric’s age belies his performances, the 37-year-old can’t defy time ceaselessly. The winner of the Golden Ball for the 2018 World Cup in Russia – an award given to the match’s greatest participant – can be hoping to take his nation one step additional than they did final time round, when Croatia misplaced to France within the ultimate.
Luis Suarez, Uruguay
The World Cup is a major chapter within the legend of Luis Suarez – the goal-line save towards Ghana in 2010, the brace towards England in 2014 and the notorious Leonardo Bonucci chunk are all a part of World Cup folklore. At 35, Uruguay can be hoping for another flourish as they put together to face South Korea, Uruguay and – as destiny would have it – Ghana.
Thiago Silva, Brazil
The World Cup in Russia was purported to have been Thiago Silva’s final. However, the Chelsea centre again has proven no indicators of slowing down and even on the age of 38, stays the most effective defenders on the planet.
Yuto Nagamoto, Japan
The 36-year-old is set to become the first Japanese player to appear in four World Cups.
“I’m 36 but physically fit, I’ve played against big players in Europe and at the World Cup. I don’t forget the experiences that are etched into my cells. I can definitely fight whatever kind of players or teams that come my way,” he said in an interview with The Japan Times.
Manuel Neuer, Germany
“You never know, but I assume it will be my last World Cup,” German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said in an interview earlier this month.
While the 2014 World Cup winner will be 40 by the time the next World Cup rolls along, he did mention that Qatar 2022 “doesn’t necessarily” have to be his last appearance on the global stage.
Karim Benzema, France
For all that he has achieved with Real Madrid, Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema is yet to have a defining tournament for France. He was not included in Les Blues’ 2018 winning squad and given his age and the level of talent in France’s ranks, this will likely be his last chance to make an impact at the World Cup.
Aymen Mathlouthi, Tunisia
At 38, veteran goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi is among the oldest gamers participating within the World Cup this yr. Mathlouthi was the captain for Tunisia within the final World Cup and returns to the squad after a three-year absence in an inventory of 4 goalkeepers for the match.
Sergio Busquets, Spain
At 34, Sergio Busquets has proven some indicators that age is catching up with him. However, he stays a key member of Luis Enrique’s Spanish squad.
“If we will management the kind of match, and make it the one we would like, which means controlling possession and dominating the opponent round their defensive space of the pitch, then ‘Busi’ remains to be the No. 1 in his place,” Enrique mentioned in an interview to ESPN.