Ronaldo, Messi and more likely to play in final World Cup

BERLIN—Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are among the few players hoping for a final hurrah in what is likely to be their final World Cup appearance.

Besides these two are Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez, Luka Modric, Dani Alves, Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller.

Holding out for the next World Cup in North America in 2026 could be a step forward for these veterans.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Perhaps ominously for Portugal’s Group H rivals, the 37-year-old Ronaldo has had a frustrating season at Manchester United so far. Ronaldo has already set the record for the most goals scored in men’s international football with 117 goals, while in Portugal he has set a record with 191 appearances. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been in the Premier League since his first stint at United, his trophy-laden period with Real Madrid, or Juventus won his two Serie A titles. But his return this season has so far been nothing like he hoped. Ronaldo has made nine appearances in the Premier League and has been limited to just one goal.

soccer world cup last dance
Cristiano Ronaldo (C) of Portugal, Hugo Guillamon (L) of Spain and his teammates during a UEFA Nations League football match between Portugal and Spain at the Municipal Stadium in Braga, Portugal, 27 September 2022 Challenge Rodri and Ball. (Luis Vieira/AP Photo)

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Much of Argentina’s hope rests with a small artist from Rosario. The 35-year-old Messi has surpassed Ronaldo with his seven Ballon d’Or titles, all but the last due to his outstanding play at Barcelona. Now with Qatar-backed Paris Saint-Germain, Messi is off his 30-man shortlist for the 2022 Ballon d’Or. But Messi has found his form this season. He came close to winning his 2014 World Cup, where Argentina reached the final, but so far his only major international title is his 2021 Copa his USA.

Robert Lewandowski (Poland)

Lewandowski, 34, may not have gotten the recognition he deserves in the shadow of Messi and Ronaldo. Lewandowski quietly scored for Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich before his recent move to Barcelona, ​​where he scored 312 goals in 384 appearances. Lewandowski is the undisputed Polish leader and captain of the team, and in 134 appearances he scored 76 goals, including his nine in World Cup qualifiers. is also included. Lewandowski has yet to score a goal in the World Cup. In his only previous World Cup tournament in 2018, Poland were eliminated from the group stage.

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski makes fifth for his team during the Champions League Group E football match between Bayern Munich and Benfica Lisbon on November 2, 2021 in Munich, Germany (Matthias Schrader/AP Photo)

Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

The 35-year-old Suárez, who has scored 134 goals in Uruguay’s history, will be playing in his fourth World Cup tournament. It will be his first time playing for his boyhood club, Nacional, in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, after a stellar career at Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid. Suarez was sent off for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder in the 2014 World Cup group match. Suárez helped Atlético win his league title in Spain in his first season with the club in 2021, where he stayed for another one season before returning to Nacional. He dueled Ronaldo when he played for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, and the old rivals are set to meet again when Uruguay takes on Portugal at Lusail Stadium on November 28.

Luka Modric (Croatia)

Modric, 37, is one of those players who seem to get better with age. In his tenth season at Real Madrid, Modric played a key role in his club’s ten-year success, during which he won five Champions League titles and his three league titles. won. He also won the Ballon d’Or in 2018, the first time since 2007 that neither Messi nor Ronaldo won. For Croatia, he plays an equally important role. He is the all-seeing controller in midfield and the driving force behind the team reaching his 2018 World Cup final. Croatia had lost to France in the final four years earlier, but Modric was still awarded the Golden Ball. He’s the best player in the tournament. This will be his fifth World Cup tournament.

Dani Alves (Brazil)

Alves, 39, one of the greatest right-backs of all time, is determined to finish his international career in the best possible shape after a knee injury kept him out of the last World Cup. Alves has only appeared in his two World Cups, his 2010 and his 2014. He became famous for his lightning bolt running up and down the right side of the field in a successful spell at Sevilla before his 2008 move to Barcelona. He spent his eight years laden with trophies. He played for Catalan clubs, then spent time at Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, then São Paulo before returning to Barcelona last year. He joined Mexican club Pumas earlier this year.

Manuel Neuer (Germany)

The 36-year-old Neuer is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers to come out of Germany with talents like Oliver Kahn, Jens Lehmann, Harald Schumacher and Sepp Meyer. Despite the strength of rivals such as Barcelona’s Marc his Andre his Ter Stegen and Eintracht his Frankfurt Kevin his Trapp, Neuer won his spot at the 2010 Worlds in his Cuillap No. .1 position is maintained. The Bayern Munich captain was named the tournament’s goalkeeper when Germany won in 2014. This year’s tournament will be his fourth World Cup for him.

Epoch Times photo
Germany’s Joachim Low (left) Heads talks with Manuel Neuer (C) and Thomas Müller during an open training session prior to a football friendly between Germany and Argentina in Düsseldorf, Germany, September 1, 2014 Coach (Frank Augustin/AP) )

Thomas Müller (Germany)

The 33-year-old Müller has almost always featured for Germany and Bayern Munich since scoring five goals at the 2010 World Cup. After a poor run as the defending champions at the 2018 World Cup, he was briefly dropped in 2019 by then-German coach Joachim Loef as the team’s restructuring ultimately failed. , Müller was recalled at last year’s European Championships and established himself as a leader. talent), Muller can be seen encouraging his teammates and giving tips and advice to younger players.

Ciaran Fahy

Associated Press