These men have earned the right to bow out on the grandest stage of them all.
The FIFA World Cup is nothing less than a festival for football fanatics, and fans from all around the globe will gather in Russia to make this grand event even more auspicious in 2018. New stars will get their name into the history books while some known faces may be gracing this tournament for the last time
To make it special we here at Khel Now have selected a few names across all Confederations who have given their blood and sweat for their nation, but will hang their boots after this World Cup.
5. Jalal Hosseini (Iran- AFC)
The 36-year old Iranian defender will be a very important player for coach Carlos Queiroz. Hosseini is currently captain of Persepolis FC in the Persian Gulf Pro League and has donned the Iranian colours for an astounding 114 times. This will be his second World Cup outing for the veteran defender.
Hosseini maybe 36, but his performances in qualification have been superb. He was the top defender in Asia as he conceded only a single goal in 794 minutes of play. Coach Queiroz has favoured some of the younger defenders at times and that is understandable as Hosseini is coming to a stage where his job will be more that of a mentor and with his experience.
4. Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica- CONCACAF)
Bryan Ruiz in action for club and country
The Costa Rican midfielder who broke onto the footballing scene largely due to his heroics in the 2014 World Cup, where he alongside Keylor Navas and company stunned the world with their run upto the quarterfinals. The 32-year-old former Fulham attacking midfielder has been a national hero for the Central Americans and will hope to replicate his performances this time around in Russia as well.
Ruiz currently features for Sporting Lisbon and is a senior member for the Portuguese outfit. Being on the wrong side of thirty and fading away from his prime this looks likely to be the last World Cup for the Los Ticos captain. If so, he would want to make it special and would like to bring his ‘A’ game to Russia.
3. Javier Mascherano (Argentina- CONMEBOL)
Mascherano is very well-known among fans all around the globe and the 33-year-old versatile defensive midfielder is on the brink of hanging up his boots for the La Albiceleste after the World Cup in Russia. The former Barcelona man has featured for Argentina in 142 matches and has played in three World Cups from 2006, “El Jefecito” has also donned the captain’s armband for a major part of his career with the national team.
Mascherano is definitely a player who will be remembered for his calm and composed approach and his excellent defensive qualities. He was one of the best defensive midfielders around during his prime and with age, has shifted more to a centre-back role.
2. Essam El-Hadary (Egypt- CAF)
The shot-stopper will be the oldest player to feature in the tournament
Egypt’s fairy-tale story of qualifying for a World Cup for the first time since 1990 is simply inspirational. But, if there’s something more inspirational, then it has to be their goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary’s story of zeal and determination. The 45-year-old will be playing in his first World Cup and it will be one for the history books.
The man with the armband will be determined to keep each and every shot away from his goal. El-Hadary will become the oldest player ever to grace the mega event, beating the previous record set by Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon aged 43, who made his way to Brazil in 2014.
1. Andres Iniesta (Spain- UEFA)
This is probably the most heartbreaking story among all the picks and the most renowned as well. Andres Iniesta is a player who is loved by all, even by rival supporters. Iniesta with his fellow teammates under the tutelage of Vincente Del Bosque went on a winning spree where they won the 2008 European Championships, 2010 World Cup and then the 2012 Euro putting the limelight firmly on La Roja. His goal in extra-time against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final will never be forgotten by any football fan.
In this illustrious career, Iniesta has always given us reasons to love and adore him. Manager Julen Lopetegui has already said that having someone of Iniesta’s calibre is always special and his experience will also be helpful on the big stage.
David Silva, Vincent Kompany, Tim Cahill, Ricardo Quaresma, Pepe, Radamel Falcao, Diego Godin.