The FIFA World Cup in Qatar should be a big show with so many exciting fights already underway.
The best footballers in the world will take to the pitch for a chance to lift the illustrious gold trophy and carve a place in football history.
But, for some, this World Cup could very well be their last. Indeed, some famous footballers may be playing their last World Cup in Qatar. More than anything else, it is because they are reaching the final stages of their careers and are close to retiring from the sport.
Let’s take a look at the four biggest stars who could play their last World Cup in Qatar 2022.
Will Lionel Messi hoist the trophy in his last World Cup?
For Lionel Messi, Qatar 2022 could absolutely be “The Last Dance” in terms of major international competitions. The 34-year-old isn’t getting any younger and must realize this is his last chance to win big gold internationally.
So far Messi has taken part in four World Cups with Argentina. The last time he went was in 2014, in which, despite him winning the MVP award, he saw his team falter in the final. This time, Argentina are one of the favorites to win Qatar after winning the Copa America last year.
A lot is riding on this for the PSG star. The hopes of his entire nation, as well as those of his fans around the world, fall on his shoulders.
Messi may not have had a good season with PSG, but he is still going strong for Argentina (he scored 4 goals and got 5 assists in the Copa America win). As long as his teammates support him, Messi should make his last World Cup one to remember.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s last dance
When it comes to Messi’s quest to earn the “GOAT” tag, Cristiano Ronaldo is never far behind. Just like his rival, Ronaldo will also play for the last time in a World Cup. He had to fight hard to make sure Portugal booked a seat in Qatar, helping his side win through the qualifying playoffs in March.
Ronaldo has won a continental tournament (Euro 2016), but like Messi, he has yet to savor the glory of the World Cup. The 37-year-old is still going strong despite his age, having scored 24 goals so far this season for a relatively poor Manchester United side.
Ronaldo will be the captain of the Portuguese team, looking to lead from the attack in the World Cup. They have been placed in a competitive group together with Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea, so Cristiano will have to give his best.
If he is able to awaken the scoring machine in him and gain hold in knockout matches, Ronaldo could fulfill his dream of winning the “Big Gold” in Qatar.
Will Benzema finally achieve World Cup success?
If Karim Benzema truly aspires to earn a reputation as one of the best strikers of all time, he must win a major international trophy. After missing the last edition, won by France, Benzema will have the chance to raise the gold this time.
Playing for the reigning champions, Benzema will play an important role in their campaign. He will lead the line and will have to replicate his national form internationally to take them to the bottom of the competition.
Benzema has scored 44 goals this season and will look to continue his strong form in Qatar. Most importantly, this will probably also be his last World Cup. Previously had disappointing campaigns in the World Cup, France were eliminated in the group stage in the 2010 edition and in the quarter-finals in 2014.
As this is the last chance for him to win the big international tournament, Benzema will play with enhanced vigor to bring joy to his home country.
Luka Modric tries to make the World Cup final memorable
Luka Modric was heartbroken at the end of the 2018 World Cup, falling in France despite having completed an incredible underdog history with Croatia. Indeed, the midfielder played an important role in inspiring Croatia to make it to the final against all odds.
Modric received the Player of the Tournament award for his heroism, but had to settle for a silver medal. This time he aims to replicate it, but with a different result in the final. The 36-year-old will also play his last World Cup and arguably his last major international competition in Qatar.
The midfield master is still going strong, as evidenced by his brilliant work in Real Madrid’s Champions League this season. He will seek to use the last of his brilliance to inspire Croatia to make another heroic story and make his last World Cup memorable.