10 Biggest Stars of World Football Who Could Retire in 2014
Every season, bright young prospects like Adnan Januzaj and Paul Pogba burst onto the scene and enter the footballing masses.
However, to make room for all the new talent, older players must make way.
Here, we take a look at 10 players who could hang up their boots at the end of the current season or calendar year.
Who joins Rio Ferdinand on our list?
Ricardo Carvalho is playing out a one-year deal with Monaco that could well be the last of his illustrious career.
Andre Villas-Boas tried to recruit him for his backroom staff at Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, per The Metro, and it's looking increasingly likely that he'll hang up his boots rather soon.
That said, he's been decent for the Ligue 1 outfit and could be tempted by another one-year deal.
Rio Ferdinand has been a magnificent servant for Manchester United over the past decade and more, but the time may just be right for him to hang up his boots.
There's no FIFA World Cup on the horizon for him and his performances are visibly slowing. The Red Devils' defence is in need of serious revamping given Ferdinand is 35 and Nemanja Vidic is 32, and David Moyes could secure new recruits that blow the current crop out of the water.
It may just be the right time to stop, so Rio can preserve his immense legacy and go out on top.
Raul Gonzalez, former Schalke stud and living Real Madrid legend, could well call it quits at the end of 2014.
After leaving his new home in Gelsenkirchen for a Qatari adventure in 2012, he stands to end his contract in the Middle East in December, and has made all the moves of a man on his way out.
He'll be 37 years of age and has five children. Perhaps the wife would appreciate the help?
Ryan Giggs is all but certain to retire at the end of the season.
He's unable to play a full 90 minutes on most occasions, and plays sporadically for David Moyes as it stands.
With Paul Scholes gone, he's the last of the class of '92.
While his presence in the dressing room has likely been important during the managerial change, they cannot continue to carry him much longer.
He'll likely step straight into a coaching role at the club.
The timeless Javier Zanetti, now aged 40, has been mysteriously quiet in the Italian press since returning from a lengthy injury.
He's still contributing to the team and can play at a high level, but when an outfield player surpasses the 30s, it sounds an alarm bell in fans' hearts.
Die-hard Nerazzurri will be gutted to see him go should he make the decision.
Antonio Di Natale
Forget could retire, Antonio Di Natale has confirmed he will retire at the end of the 2013-14 season.
"I have already decided, in June I’ll stop playing football. It’s already established," report Sky Italia, via Forza Italian Football.
The Udinese star is a Serie A icon, but with four goals in 15 starts, his performance thus far this season has been underwhelming and may well be a contributor to the decision.
In July 2013, Carles Puyol told FIFA.com there was no way he was going to retire any time soon.
Unfortunately, after an injury-plagued six months, he's been forced to reconsider the decision.
He is now mulling over the possibility of hanging up his boots, per Mundo Deportivo, via Inside Spanish Football.
He has two years left to run on his Barcelona deal, but could be tempted to call it a day early.
Juan Roman Riquelme
Juan Roman Riquelme has already retired a number of times, but this could truly be his final swansong.
His contract at Boca Juniors is up at the end of the year, and after being brought back from a seven-month exile due to differences with a former coach, he is playing for his beloved club once again.
At 35, though, he will continue to face consistent questions over his future.
Juan Sebastian Veron
Juan Sebastian Veron, like Juan Roman Riquelme, has already returned from retirement once.
The Daily Mail confirmed his return to the Estudiantes for the 2013-14 season, stepping down from his role in the offices to take to the pitch once again, but will he continue beyond the current year?
In October 2012, Brad Friedel admitted he was considering the possibility of retiring from football, per The Mirror.
Fast-forward 15 months, and his situation hasn't improved.
He's a year older (42) and Hugo Lloris a year into his full-time role as Tottenham Hotspur's No. 1 goalkeeper.
Both UK and U.S. media would welcome him with open arms for analysis, while the coaching route is also something he's explored.