FIFA World Cup 2018 is just around the corner and star players of every team will be under the spotlight. For many, it will be their last World Cup. Although Portugal’s legend Cristiano Ronaldo said that he won’t be retiring soon but as far as international careers go, footballers take big decisions post world cups.
Here is a look at players who may hang their boots after the tournament —
1. Luka Modric —
From being labelled as ‘the worst signing of the year’ to being an indispensable part of club Real Madrid’s midfield, Modric has 12 international goals under his belt in addition to a remarkable number of assists. The 18th ranked Croatia will depend on the midfielder in their league stage clashes against Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland. Croatia will expect more from them as they hope to make it past the group stages.
2. Andres Iniesta —
Spain had a forgettable experience in 2014 when they were knocked out in the group stages despite being the defending champions. Andres Iniesta retired from club football, playing his last match for Barcelona. The Spanish midfielder might do the same with his international career.
“At the moment, naturally, this World Cup will possibly be my last appearance for the national team. I don’t want to be around, just because of who I was. For the moment and with everything, it’s similar to what happens to me in my club,” he told Cadena Ser’s El Larguero radio show.
The 34-year-old has been a maverick in the midfield, whether for Spain or Barcelona. He also scored the winning goal for Spain in 2010 World Cup final in the 117th minute against The Netherlands. He has 13 international goals and 124 assists to his name. Spain will go up against Portugal in their first game, followed by Iran and Morocco.
3. Lionel Messi —
Lionel Messi came out of retirement to play for Argentina. It may be his last chance to see Argentina lift the World Cup. The Argentine forward will be under immense pressure to perform and win the World Cup for his team after 32 years. The fifth-ranked team will play against Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland. They are expected to get past the group stages.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo —
Ronaldo has hit a purple patch with his club Real Madrid’s yet another win in the Champions League Final. However, it has been a different story altogether in the World Cup for the fourth-ranked Portugal who have failed to make it into the final of the tournament.
The 33-year-old forward has 81 international goals and 141 assists under his belt. Ronaldo may have said that he feels like a 25-year-old but this might be his last world cup. Portugal will play their first fixture against Spain, followed by Morocco and Iran.
Note: The statistics in the above article are according to Wikipedia.