It has been 18 days since the World Cup started and more than half of the teams have already been knocked out. There have been many upsets with the likes of tournament favorites Spain, Germany and Argentina already out.
With Andres Iniesta and Javier Mascherano having already announced their retirement from International football, we have a look at other players who have not yet announced their retirement, but may well have played their last games at the World Cup.
Lionel Messi, Argentina
Messi’s quest for an International Trophy with Argentina seems to have ended after Argentina’s exit from the World Cup. He has announced his retirement once before and is expected to do the same again.
Argentina lost 3-4 against France and Messi’s World Cup dream was over. The world has probably seen the last of Lionel Messi at the World Cup and unfortunately, it was just not meant to be for him.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
Ronaldo (33) has played in four World Cup’s for Portugal and this was expected to be his last one. He won the Euro 2016 with Portugal but could never win the World Cup.
He set the World Cup on fire after his hat-trick against Spain but failed to inspire after that. Portugal lost 1-2 against Uruguay in the Round of 16 Ronaldo’s one man mission of leading Portugal to World Cup glory was over.
Gerard Pique, Spain
Pique is one man who has won it all at club and international level. After being booed by Spanish fans for supporting Catalonia referendum, Pique had announced earlier that he will retire after the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Spain was knocked out after losing against Russia 4-3 on penalties, and Pique is expected to soon give official confirmation regarding his retirement.
Sami Khedira, Germany
Khedira (32) will be 36 by the World Cup arrives in Qatar in 2022 and is not expected to play till then.
He has been an integral part of a German side which has dominated world football in the last decade but his World Cup journey is expected to end here after Germany’s shock exit in the group stage at the hands of South Korea.
Sergio Aguero, Argentina
Aguero (30) has probably played his last game at the World Cup following Argentina’s round of 16 exit at the hands of France. He will be 34 in 2022 and is not expected to continue for that long.
Aguero was Argentina’s top-scorer at this World Cup with two goals but this was his first ever World Cup goal. This speaks volumes about how much he has under-performed at the International level.
David Silva, Spain
David Silva is yet another player who won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 but is not expected to be a part of 2022 FIFA World Cup.
He has been Spain’s star since their 2008 Euro triumph but his International journey may end here as he will be 36 in 2022. He looked visibly distraught after Spain’s shock exit in the round of 16 at the hands of hosts Russia.
Pepe is another Portugal legend as he was a pivotal part of Portugal’s team which won the Euro in 2016. He is expected to announce his retirement soon after Portugal was knocked-out of the World Cup.
He is a mere shadow of his former self as he was poor at this World Cup. He looked slow and could only keep a single clean sheet in four matches. Portugal will look to move on and infuse some young blood in an ageing backline.