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From Messi to Alves: these veterans are going for their last trick in world cup Qatar



world cup Qatar

For some talents, the World Cup in Qatar is the ideal stage to put themselves in the spotlight, but there are also players who are going to start their last global final tournament. What about Lionel Messi, who has never won a World Cup? Or Pepe, who at 39 years old is one of the oldest participants in Qatar? Afrilatest lists ten veterans who (probably) start their last trick at a World Cup.

world cup Qatar

Cristiano Ronaldo (37)

Of course Ronaldo is again the eye-catcher at Portugal. The 37-year-old star is already facing his fifth World Cup. In 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 he was also present. Where he enjoys a lot of fame nationally, that is a bit different at his club Manchester United.

In an interview with British journalist Piers Morgan this week, Ronaldo lashed out at both coach Erik ten Hag (“I have no respect for him”) and the club management. Fans responded on social media with the hashtag #RonaldoOut. It is for Portugal to hope that the riot around Ronaldo does not continue at the World Cup.

Lionel Messi (35)

Just like Ronaldo, Messi is facing his fifth and, in his own words, last World Cup. The Argentinian played nineteen World Cup matches, but never scored in the knockout phase. Moreover, the world title is missing from his list of honours and that eats away at the dribbler of Paris Saint-Germain. In 2014, Argentina was very close, but then Mario Götze shattered Messi’s dream in extra time. Last year’s Copa América win will give the Argentine citizen courage, as will the series of 36 unbeaten international matches.


Luis Suárez (35)

In July of this year, Suárez completed the circle. After sixteen years of stringing together the goals on the European pitches, ‘El Pistolero’ returned to the team where it all started for him: Nacional. The club from Uruguay offered him a contract for five months, so that he could optimally prepare for the World Cup in Qatar. It’s exactly what Suárez has wanted since his retirement from Atlético Madrid: to shine again at a global tournament.

world cup Qatar

Manuel Neuer (36) (world cup Qatar)

Neuer is one of the most experienced players at the World Cup. Since then national coach Joachim Low took him to the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, he kept all matches for the Germans at final tournaments. In 2014, in addition to the world title, it also earned him the prize for best goalkeeper of the tournament. The World Cup in Qatar will probably be the last highlight of his international career for the 36-year-old Neuer. Although: in two years the European Championship will take place in your own country.

Luka Modric (37)

After reaching the final four years ago, Luka Modric is determined to flame out one more time at a World Cup with Croatia. The Golden Ball winner of 2018 has been the man in midfield at both his country and Real Madrid for years. Modric, with 155 international caps record international, is already there for the eighth time at a final tournament. “There is no better feeling for me than coming out for my country. I hope to be able to do that for as long as possible,” he said recently.

world cup Qatar

Karim Benzema (34)

Believe it or not: Benzema is only starting his second World Cup in Qatar. The brand new Golden Ball winner was only there in 2014. In the years that followed, he was invariably missing from France because of the extortion case involving then fellow international Mathieu Valbuena. At last year’s European Championship, the now almost 35-year-old Benzema surprisingly made his comeback as an international and now many eyes are on the high-scoring striker of Real Madrid, who has a lack of preparation due to a muscle injury.

Jan Vertonghen (35)

After the lost friendly match against the Dutch team in September, Vertonghen was asked whether the World Cup in Qatar would be his last trick. The 35-year-old Belgian left the answer in the middle. “The fact is that we are not getting any younger, but I will continue as long as I can. And at the moment I still feel very good.” Vertonghen has been part of the much-discussed golden generation of our southern neighbors for years. If the number three of the previous World Cup wants something, it will have to happen in Qatar.


Pepe (39) (world cup Qatar)

Only Alfred Talavera of Mexico (40 years and 63 days) and the Canadian former PSV player Atiba Hutchinson (39 years and 285 days) are older than Pepe at this World Cup. The tough defender really wanted to go to Qatar (“I have the same ambition as a fifteen-year-old boy”) and saw that wish come true. He will be at Portugal, among other things, as a mentor to Benfica defender António Silva, who is no less than twenty years younger.

Kasper Schmeichel (36)

Denmark is partly because of a number of experienced players one of the ‘dark horses’ at the World Cup. One of them is Kasper Schmeichel, who played a leading role during the World Cup in 2018 by stopping a penalty from Modric in the eighth final against Croatia at a 1-1 score deep in extra time. In the penalty shootout that followed, he stopped two more, although that turned out not to be enough. Perhaps Schmeichel can help the Danes further than the eighth finals this time.

Dani Alves (39) (world cup Qatar)

It was the question that occupied many a Brazilian, and especially himself: would Dani Alves, 125-times international, be allowed to go to the World Cup in Qatar? The 39-year-old right-back is no longer the player he was in his heyday for Barcelona, but the sacred fire in him is still burning. That also proved the switch to the Mexican Pumas last summer to play himself in the spotlight with national coach Tite. Apparently he has succeeded. If Alves gets playing time, he will become the oldest Brazilian international ever. With Chelsea defender Thiago Silva (38) there is another veteran in the World Cup selection.

world cup Qatar


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