Messi and Cristiano, Their Last World Cup?

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is now only six days away. Nations have announced their teams for the tournament as many new names are making their dreams of representing their country come true. There are also a number of soccer stars playing in what could very well be their last World Cup.  

Although Ronaldo and Messi are not even among the five oldest players at this World Cup, rumors are strong that it could be their last. The former Ballon d’Or winners have not had a great professional year. For starters, neither of the soccer captains reached the ten first positions of the French annual soccer award. 

38-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s statistics in the Premier League are not looking as sharp as before, with only 18 scores and a little over 1000 minutes on the field, which could negatively affect his performance. The conflictive relationship between the Portuguese captain and his team, Manchester United, some controversial public statements, and only 16 games played, 10 for the Premier League and 6 for the Europa League, might have left Cristiano unprepared for this World Cup. 

35-year-old Lionel Messi is not doing a lot better. After 17 straight seasons with Barcelona, the 7-time Ballon d’Or winner was sold to PSG, where he has not performed as expected. The Argentinian forward had a very complicated first season in Paris. After getting Covid-19 and suffering several injuries, he finally closed the season with one score for the Premier League and five for the Champions, his worst record since 2005. 

Although the Portuguese and the Argentinian captains are not by far the most veteran players at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the two superstars could be considering retirement soon, depending on their Qatar performance. Although Cristiano has lately stated to feel very motivated and expressed his plans to play at the 2024 European Championship, conflicts with his team are still apparent.

Lionel Messi, on the other hand, has confirmed that the 2022 World Cup will be his last and that he has his mind set on achieving what he could not do before. 

“I feel good physically at the moment. Better than last year when I arrived at PSG. But when I said this could be my last World Cup, I did so because of my age. After this one finishes, we will see how I’m feeling,” said Lionel in a more recent interview.

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