From Messi to Suarez to Benzema, these are the high profile players likely to take the final bow in the top league.

The football World Cup Kicking off in Qatar on Sunday will likely be the final act on the world stage for numerous of the game’s stars.

Here’s a list of 10 players widely expected to take their final bow in the sport’s most prestigious tournament.

Lionel Messi, Argentina

Qatar 2022 will be Messi’s fifth World Cup. The 35-year-old striker from French side Paris St Germain will hope to build on last year’s Copa America triumph in Argentina and win the title. a trophy that has eluded him so far in his storied career.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal

The story surrounding the Portuguese superstar should have been dominated by his quest to win Portugal’s first-ever World Cup. But instead, Cristiano Ronaldo enters the campaign with the smoke of a explosive interview in which he berated his club Manchester United as he hovered over him.

Luka Modric, Croatia

While Modric’s age belies his achievements, the 37-year-old can’t defy time forever. The winner of the Ballon d’Or for the 2018 World Cup in Russia – an award given to the best player of the tournament – hopes to take his country a step further than last time, when Croatia lost to France in the final.

Luis Suarez, Uruguay

The World Cup is an important chapter in Luis Suarez’s legend – the save on the goal line against Ghana in 2010, the brace against England in 2014 and the infamous Leonardo Bonucci bite are all part of World Cup folklore. At 35 years old, Uruguay are hoping for another boom as they prepare to face South Korea, Uruguay and – as fate would have it – Ghana.

Thiago Silva, Brazil

The World Cup in Russia should have been Thiago Silva’s last. But the Chelsea centre-back shows no signs of slowing down and remains one of the best defenders in the world even at 38 years old.

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Thiago Silva will be key to Brazil’s World Cup chances [Matilde Campodonico/Reuters)

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.

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Karim Benzema won his first Ballon d’Or last month [Benoit Tessier/Reuters]

Aymen Mathlouthi, Tunisia

At 38, veteran goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi is one of the oldest players to take part in this year’s World Cup. Mathlouthi captained Tunisia at the last World Cup and returns to the side after a three-year absence in a roster of four goalkeepers for the tournament.

Sergio Busquets, Spain

At 34 years old, Sergio Busquets has shown some signs of age catching up with him. But he remains an important member of Luis Enrique’s Spanish squad.

“If we can control the type of game and make it the way we want, that is control possession and dominate the opponent around their defensive area of ​​the field, then ‘Busi’ is still number 1 in his position,” said Enrique. in an interview ESPN.



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