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World Cup 2018

4 players who could retire from international duty after the World Cup

The 2018 World Cup in Russia is nearly upon us and the 32 competing nations are putting the finishing touches to their preparations for the tournament.

Numerous teams hold a realistic chance of lifting the trophy on July 15 and for many stars it will be their final opportunity to win the most prestigious prize in football.

Read on as we take a look at four players who could retire from international duty after the World Cup.

Lionel Messi – Argentina

Messi has already has suggested he will retire from international football – again – if Argentina fail to win the World Cup this year.

The Barcelona forward has never won a major international trophy and he has something of a love/hate relationship with Argentina fans.

Messi has walked away from the international team once before – after Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile in 2016.

However, he eventually reversed his decision and helped his country qualify for the World Cup, but this summer’s tournament is likely to be Messi’s final one on the biggest stage.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal

Ronaldo would probably be happy to play on until he became the world’s oldest soccer player if it meant he had a chance of winning the World Cup.

Despite his superb record at club level, there are still doubts about the 33-year-old’s ability to deliver at international level, particularly when you consider he has only scored three goals at the World Cup finals during his career.

Portugal were surprise winners at the European Championships in 2016 and if they fail to follow up in Russia the Real Madrid star can be expected to hang up his boots at international level.

Andres Iniesta – Spain

Iniesta has hinted that this will be his last World Cup and he will be desperate to go out with a bang by winning the tournament for a second time.

The 34-year-old scored the winning goal in the 2010 final and he was also a key part of Spain’s two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

Spain are unbeaten under manager Julen Lopetegu and they head into the World Cup in Russia as one of the more fancied teams.

Iniesta is leaving Barcelona after 16 seasons to join Japanese club Vissel Kobe from next season, so quitting the national team at the same time as he exits his beloved Barca makes perfect sense.

Thiago Silva – Brazil

Brazil captain Thiago Silva will undoubtedly have a point to prove at this summer’s tournament.

Silva missed Brazil’s 7-1 mauling by Germany in the 2014 semi-finals through suspension and he will be eager to make amends in Russia.

The Paris Saint-Germain defender is now 33-years-old and it is highly unlikely that he’ll still be playing international football when the next World Cup comes around.

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