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5 World Class Players Who Could Be Playing Their Last World Cup In 2022

We're a little more than a year away from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The quadrennial tournament is undoubtedly one of the biggest spectacles in the world of sports. Although it's hard to contain the excitement when the World Cup is around the corner, we'll also be forced to face some harsh realities next year.

The 2022 World Cup could be the last one for some of the biggest football stars of the game. Many of our footballing heroes, legends and idols we've grown up watching are in the twilight of their careers and are prepared to hang up their boots after next year's FIFA World Cup.

As such, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is going to be an event of epic proportions as these legends of the game battle for pride to become champions of the world.

Without further ado, let's take a look at 5 World class players who could be playing their last World Cup in 2022.

5. Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)

Photo Credits: Google

Age: 37

Italy have produced some of the greatest defenders in the history of the game. Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini has been one of the best in the business for over a decade and continues to be a dominant presence in Italy's backline.

The 37-year-old's incredible centre-back partnership with Leonardo Bonucci was crucial to Italy’s European championship success this past summer. The duo of Chiellini and Bonucci weren't dribbled past even once in the continental competition as they proved to be a mountain that cannot be moved.

Chiellini has had an illustrious footballing career. He was part of the Juventus side that won nine consecutive Serie A titles in the last decade. The 37-year old has also won five Coppa Italias and five Supercopa Italianas.

Giorgio Chiellini will clock 38 by the time the 2022 World Cup rolls up and he's likely to retire from international football after the conclusion of the tournament.

4. Karim Benzema (France)

Photo Credits: Google

Age: 33

France and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is one of the best strikers of his generation. He has been in sublime form for Real Madrid of late and has been playing some of the best football of his career this season.

Karim Benzema was called up to the French national side for the Euro 2020 championships. It was the first time he had been named in the national squad in six long years.

Benzema fared well at the Euro 2020 championships, scoring four goals in four appearances for the french national team as they crashed out in the Round of 16. The striker also scored important goals for France in the UEFA Nations League semi-final and the final as Didier Deschamps' men won the tournament.

The 33-year-old has netted 10 times and provided seven assists in just 10 appearances across all competitions so far this term for Real Madrid. He will be looking to keep up the good work until next year's World Cup. Benzema will turn 35 in December 2022 and as such, next year's World Cup is likely to be his last before he hangs up his boots.

3. Neymar Jr. (Brazil)

Photo Credits: Google

Age: 29

At 29-years-old, Neymar Jr. is the youngest player on the list. We would have expected him to stick around until the 2026 FIFA World Cup. But the Brazilian international has revealed that he will retire from international football after next year's edition.

Neymar is arguably Brazil's most important player right now and his exploits will be crucial to their chances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He has scored 70 goals in his international career so far and continues to be one of the best players in the world.

2. Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Photo Credits: Google

Age: 34

Lionel Messi finally won a major trophy with the Argentina national team this past summer. Messi was named the Best Player of the Tournament as La Albiceleste won the Copa America after a gap of 28 years.

Lionel Messi left Barcelona in the summer and is part of a star-studded squad at Paris Saint-Germain right now.

The 34-year old had led Argentina to the 2014 World Cup final but they fell to an extra-time goal from Germany, who went on to win. It would have been a crowning achievement for Messi and would have cemented his status as the greatest footballer of all time. But it simply wasn't to be.

The Argentine star will get one more go at it next year but it's highly unlikely that we'll see him turn up for the 2026 edition. Messi will be 39 in 2026 and he would have retired from international football long before that time.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Photo Credits: Google

Age: 36

Cristiano Ronaldo is 36-years-old but he continues to be one of the most prolific goalscorers on the planet. That being said, his age is starting to catch up with him. He has lost a yard of pace and is no longer an electric presence on the football pitch.

Credit goes to him for still being effective and moulding his game to continue to be a reliable player for both club and country. Cristiano Ronaldo won the Golden Boot at the 2020 European championships, scoring five goals and providing an assist in four appearances in the tournament.

Ronaldo has still got it and will be looking towards playing as the main striker for the Portuguese national team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

However, he will be 41 by the time the 2026 FIFA World Cup rolls in and he is likely to have hung up his boots by then.

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