Players Playing In Their Last World Cup At Qatar – Top 7
In this article we are counting down the top 7 players playing in their last FIFA World Cup at Qatar in the 2022 edition of the tournament.
Some of football’s biggest names and all-time greats are likely to be saying goodbye to the World Cup stage this time around.
So let’s get right into it!
Top 7 Players Playing In Their Last World Cup At Qatar
7 Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema is in the form of his life after recently being awarded the Balon d’Or after an incredible year where he led Real Madrid to Champions League glory. The France international is 34 years of age and he will turn 35 the day after this year’s World Cup Final.
By the time the next World Cup comes around Benzema will be 38 years of age. There is still a chance that he could be part of that French squad but at 38 there is no guarantee that he won’t have retired from international football or that he will be performing at the level required to get into France’s squad.
Despite France being the reigning World Cup champions Benzema, at 33 and one of the best players in the world, does not have a World Cup medal! Benzema was absent from the national team for many years during his career with many blaming his omission on racism on the part of France’s FA.
He was recalled to the French national team ahead of the 2020 Euros and he performed brilliantly in that tournament. He scored four goals in France’s four games before they were surprisingly eliminated in the round of 16 by Switzerland on penalties.
In Qatar the Real Madrid star will form a formidable striking partnership with Kylian Mbappe in France’s bid to repeat as FIFA World Cup champions.
So can the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner cap off a phenomenal season by helping France land the sport’s ultimate prize again? The French are now the joint-second favourites to win the World Cup at 11/2 so it looks like a fairytale ending to the year and his World Cup career could be on the cards for Karim Benzema in Qatar.
6 Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani has had a sparkling career for his country and at club level. The striker is now 35 years of age so this will be his last time donning the blue of Uruguay at the FIFA World Cup.
The Valencia striker will be 39 years of age in 2026 and it also just looks like his career is beginning to wind down. The Uruguayan had successful stints at PSG and Manchester United during his career, but he now finds himself at Valencia where he is still an important player but lacks the fitness to play 90 minutes on a regular basis.
The best finish he has had with Uruguay at the World Cup is fourth place back in South Africa’s 2010 World Cup. La Celeste were controversial winners over Ghana in the quarter-final before the Netherlands knocked them out 3-2 in the semi-final.
Cavani is Uruguay’s second all-time leading goal scorer with 58 goals for his country in 133 appearances. At the Qatar 2022 World Cup he is expected to come off the bench as an impact substitute with Luis Suarez and Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez expected to start.
So what can we expect from Cavani and Uruguay in this World Cup? Well this small nation have a history of overachieving at the World Cup and evidence of that is their two FIFA World Cup titles back in the early days of the competition.
Uruguay have qualified for the knock-out rounds in the last three World Cups including a semi-final appearance in 2010 and a run to the quarter-final in 2018. With that in mind, you might be interested in the 12/5 odds on Uruguay reaching the quarter-finals in Qatar.
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5 Robert Lewandowski
Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski is still one of the best players in the world but at 34 years of age he is likely entering the twilight of his career. The Poland star has only played in one World Cup which was the most recent World Cup in Russia 2018.
Lewandowski will be 37 years of age by the time the 2026 World Cup in North America comes around. Is there a chance he is still playing international football then? Yes, there is a chance but with Poland having not qualified for two of the last four FIFA World Cups there’s also the chance that his nation doesn’t qualify next time around.
Lewandowski is Poland’s all-time leading goal scorer with 76 goals scored in 134 appearances for his native country. This leaves him just outside the top ten on the list of all-time international goals scored at 11th spot. He would tie Pele (yes that Pele) with one goal at this World Cup or pass him on the list if he can hit the back of the net twice in Qatar.
The Polish captain will be the main man for his nation in the 2022 World Cup and his performances will be vital to Poland’s success in the tournament. Lewandowski is in great form at Barcelona with 13 goals in 14 matches so if he can maintain this form in Qatar then Poland could surprise a lot of people at this World Cup.
At the 2020 Euros we saw Cristiano Ronaldo crowned top scorer with 5 goals despite his team being knocked out in the round of 16. Given this, Lewandowski is an interesting bet at 40/1 to win the World Cup Golden Boot even if Poland aren’t likely to go any further than the quarter-finals.
4 Luka Modric
Luka Modric is one of the great midfielders of the modern era. He won the Golden Ball (player of the tournament) award at the 2018 Russia World Cup after leading his country Croatia to a first World Cup final appearance.
With the Real Madrid playmaker now 37 years old this is all but certainly his last appearance at the FIFA World Cup. Modric will be 40 when the 2026 FIFA World Cup starts and there have been reports that he plans to retire from international football after the 2024 Euros.
Modric has played at three World Cups. His first appearance was as a substitute in 2006 and he has since played in the tournament in 2014 and 2018.
To put Modric’s career in perspective, along with the 2018 World Cup Golden Ball he has won the Ballon d’Or and five Champions Leagues with Real Madrid as a key part of their team. At the international level the Croatian captain has scored 23 goals in 154 games for his country.
In Qatar Modric will be the main man for Croatia yet again and his ability to pull the strings in midfield should give this team a chance to advance into the knockout stages of the tournament.
If you think Modric can lift his team to another strong World Cup campaign this time around then you might like the look of the 3/1 odds on Croatia reaching the quarter-finals in Qatar.
3 Luis Suarez
The 2022 World Cup will be the last for one of Uruguay’s greatest ever players Luis Suarez. The striker is 35 years old and he turns 36 a little more than a month after this World Cup is set to end.
This means that Suarez will be 39 and likely long retired from international football when the 2026 World Cup starts. He has recently been playing his club football at home in Uruguay for Nacional and is rumoured to be joining the MLS in the US after Qatar’s World Cup ends.
The native of Salto, Uruguay has represented his nation on the World Cup stage on three separate occasions. The first time was in 2010 when they reached the semi-final, then again in 2014 and 2018 when the team also reached the knockout rounds.
Suarez is the all-time Uruguayan record goal scorer with 68 goals in 134 appearances for his country. This tally puts him at 24th in the list of all-time international goals scored. Of those 68 goals seven of them came at the FIFA World Cup where he has played 13 games for Uruguay.
In Qatar Suarez will form a striking partnership with Darwin Nunez of Liverpool. If Suarez can perform like he has in previous World Cups then this could be one of the best attacking duos at the 2022 World Cup.
So can Suarez give one last vintage performance and end his World Cup career on a high note? If this side do make a tournament run then the Uruguayan number nine figures to be a big part of their success. You can back Suarez to be the tournament’s top goal scorer at a massive price of 66/1.
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2 Cristiano Ronaldo
What is there to say about Cristiano Ronaldo that hasn’t been said already? The Portugal legend is a machine but at 37 years of age you figure the end has to come at some point.
If this were any other player then you could say for sure that at 37 this will be his last FIFA World Cup but with Ronaldo you can never be certain. The Portugal captain will be 41 by the time the next FIFA World Cup comes around but he has said that he plans to play for Portugal in the 2024 Euros so maybe another World Cup isn’t completely out of the question.
The Man United striker is set to appear at his fifth World Cup in Qatar which will match the record for FIFA World Cup appearances. He actually had his most success in the tournament earlier in his career when he was an important part of the Portugal team that got to a World Cup semi-final in 2006.
Since 2006 it has been bitter disappointment for Ronaldo and Portugal on world football’s greatest stage. A round of 16 exit in 2010 was followed by a group stage elimination in 2014 and another round of 16 loss in 2018. The Madeira native has 7 World Cup goals in 17 appearances at the competition.
Ronaldo is the all-time international leading goal scorer with 117 goals in 191 caps. He has all the records, all the tournament wins all the individual accolades but there is just one thing missing from Ronaldo’s storied career and that is a World Cup trophy.
If you are into the whole Ronaldo v Messi debate, then this World Cup will go along way towards deciding who history judges to be the greater player. If either of them are to go ahead and lead their country to World Cup glory in Qatar, then the balance will surely tip in their favour.
If you think that Ronaldo can cap off his World Cup career with a fairytale ending then there are some very interesting bets that you will find. One that catches the eye is Ronaldo as World Cup top goal scorer and Portugal to win the World Cup at 100/1.
1 Lionel Messi
Perhaps the best player to ever grace a football pitch will be saying ‘adios’ to the World Cup stage in Qatar. Lionel Messi will be bidding to leave the Middle East accompanied by a World Cup trophy for Argentina for the first time since the legendary Maradona guided the nation to its last World Cup victory in 1986.
Messi is now 35 years old which means he will be 39 years old by the time the 2026 World Cup comes around. When asked if 2022 will be his last FIFA World Cup he confirmed that it surely will be. The Rosario native has scored six goals and recorded five assists in 19 games played during his World Cup career.
There has been plenty of heartbreak in Messi’s World Cup appearances. Argentina got to the quarter-finals in both 2006 and 2010 before being knocked out. In 2014 it looked like it would finally be Messi’s turn to bring his nation to World Cup glory but Mario Gotze of Germany scored a stunning goal in extra-time of that year’s final to break Argentinian hearts yet again.
The 35-year-old has scored 90 goals in 164 appearances for his nation which puts him third all-time on the international goals scored list. Last season was a bit of a down season for the Argentine at club level but he seems to be back playing some of his best football this season with PSG.
Argentina and Messi look to be set up well to make a run at winning this World Cup. There is a lot more talent around him than in recent World Cups and while he is still the star man, opponents will have plenty of other players to worry about on this Argentina team too.
If you think that Messi can lead his Argentina side to victory in Qatar as the tournament’s top goal scorer then you can find attractive odds of 25/1.
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