Seven top stars who are set to play in their final World Cup in Qatar before international retirement including Messi

SEVERAL top class players are set to bow out from international football after the World Cup later this year.

The planet's greatest stars will meet in Qatar this winter vying to be crowned champions of the world with their respective nations.

The festival of football will offer up opportunities for some players to announce themselves as superstars on the global scene.

But it will also bring forward a final farewell from many of the amazing talents that we have seen grace our game for a number of years.

Following the tournament, a number of stars will call it quits from international football, as they hit the twilights of their respective careers.

SunSport rounds up seven of the best players that may see their final World Cup action in 2022.

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The Argentine gave his country's many football fans an almighty scare in 2016, when he announced his international retirement aged just 29.

He performed a swift U-turn, however, and was rewarded last year when he finally earned Copa America glory.

His time in the national team may truly be up this year, however, and he recently told reporters: "I don’t know what I will do after the World Cup. I am thinking about what is coming. After Qatar, I will have to reassess many things."

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Ronaldo helped Portugal book their place at the World Cup finals last week and is set to be a key man for Fernando Santos's side in Qatar.

The forward seems unlikely to ever want to retire from international duty, but given that he'll be 41 by the time the 2026 edition comes around, another World Cup beyond Qatar feels pretty unlikely.

Asked about potential retirement last week Ronaldo was bullish, saying: "The one who is going to decide my future is me, nobody else. If I feel like playing more, I'll play, if I don't feel like playing more, I won't. I'll decide, period."


The Real Madrid midfielder has been a sensational servant to his country down the years, dragging them all the way to the World Cup final in 2018, and earning a Ballon d'Or for his efforts.

While the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic have retired from international football, Modric remains as committed as ever aged 36.

But given he'll have turned 37 by the time the finals come around in November, surely it'll be a World Cup swansong for the long-haired midfield magician.


Pique announced all the way back in 2016 that he'd be retiring from international duty after the 2018 World Cup – with many believing he was upset at a "lack of respect" shown by the Spanish press.

The Barcelona ace may be getting cold feet, however.

Reports in Spain today suggest that Pique is strongly considering an international comeback aged 35, and could be in contention to return to Luis Enrique's squad for the World Cup later this year.


At 30-years-old, it's not inconceivable that Neymar could still be in good enough nick to play an important role for Brazil by the time 2026 rolls around.

The man himself appears to disagree, however, telling DAZN in October: "I think it’s my last World Cup. I see it as my last because I don’t know if I have the strength of mind to deal with football any more.

"So I’ll do everything to turn up well, do everything to win with my country, to realise my greatest dream since I was little. And I hope I can do it."


The Frenchman missed out on his country's triumph in 2018 amid a six-year international exile.

But after being brought back into the fold, Benzema is looking to make up for lost time.

At 34 he remains at the peak of his powers, but this will likely be his last chance to achieve what Kylian Mbappe and Co managed in Russia and lift a World Cup trophy.


Bayern Munich star Lewandowski has been a sensational player for his country down the years, banging in 75 goals in 129 caps to date.

The Pole appears to have no intention of retiring any time soon, but at 33, may have entered his final World Cup cycle.

Lewandowski will be desperate to make a splash in Qatar, having never scored a World Cup goal.

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