Lionel Messi’s World Cup journey is coming to a close. On Thursday, the Argentine legend told Star Plus that the tournament in Qatar next month will be his last. “I’m nervous and anxious at the same moment,” Messi admitted. “This is the final one.”

Messi’s decision to skip the 2026 World Cup at the age of 35 is unsurprising. However, the announcement reinforces the notion that this year’s event will signal the end of an era. In addition to Messi, Qatar 2022 will most likely be the final World Cup for other megastars Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Neymar (Brazil), as well as several other big names.


Ronaldo, like Messi, is simply out of time. The Manchester United attacker, who is two years older than Messi, is expected to exit the world’s biggest competition at the same time. Both players made their World Cup debuts in 2006, and their careers have been compared and contrasted throughout. Neither has won a World Cup, but Ronaldo won the Euro 2016 championship and Messi won the Copa America last year.

Ronaldo stated in 2016 that the 2022 World Cup would be his final. “I expect Qatar to be my final World Cup,” he said at the time to beIN Sports. “I frequently visit Qatar and Dubai for vacations. I’m overjoyed because this will almost certainly be the last international event.”. Ronaldo recently changed his tune, stating in September that he hopes to represent Portugal in Qatar and at the European Championship in 2024.

Although Argentina and Portugal are projected to be title contenders this year, Brazil is the top-ranked team and betting favorite. Neymar, the 30-year-old marvel who plays with Messi at PSG, is at the heart of Brazil’s ambitions. In October 2021, Neymar told a documentary crew that Qatar will most likely be his last destination.

“I think [Qatar] is going to be my last World Cup,” Neymar remarked in the DAZN documentary “Neymar Jr. and the Line of Kings.” “I consider it my final because I’m not sure I have the mental fortitude to deal with football longer. So I’ll do everything I can to perform well, to win with my country, and to accomplish my greatest ambition since I was a child. And I’m hoping I can pull it off.”


Ukraine has joined Spain and Portugal in their campaign for the 2030 World Cup. Rodrygo, a Brazilian player, told ESPN last summer that Neymar was “ready to leave the national team.”. If Neymar does play his final World Cup at the age of 30, the decision to leave a little early will set a precedent. Pelé, a Brazilian icon, played his final World Cup at the age of 29 in 1970. Ronaldo, one of his Brazilian successors, also competed in his final competition at that age.

That glamorous trio will almost certainly not be the only ones to go after Qatar. This World Cup has a slew of players who have maintained a high level into their mid-30s, implying that they will play a role but are unlikely to return to the stage. France striker Karim Benzema (34), Poland forward Robert Lewandowski (34), Croatia midfielder Luka Modric (37), Brazil defender Thiago Silva (38), and Uruguay forward Luis Suárez (34) are among the aged talents expected to tread the field next month (35).

Thomas Müller (33) of Germany will have a lot to play for next month. Müller will have the best lifetime World Cup goal total of any player in the event if he makes the German squad. Miroslav Klose, a former German teammate, owns the record with 16.

Wales striker and former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, who currently plays for Los Angeles FC in Major League Soccer, told ESPN this summer that if his country had not qualified for its first World Cup appearance in 64 years, he would have retired. The prospect of next month’s events kept him engaged.

Continue to read more latest news

 283 total views,  2 views today