10 Big Names Who Will Be Making Their World Cup Swansong
The 2014 World Cup promises to be memorable for a selection of great players who will be playing in the last major international tournaments for their countries.
England have two midfielders in the latter stages of their careers that are unlikely to feature in the next World Cup, while Italy also have two names expected to be saying their farewell this summer.
There are plenty more veterans of the game making their swansong in the coveted tournament too, so who are the 10 biggest names who will be playing in their last World Cup?
Samuel Eto’o, Cameroon
Talented striker Sameul Eto’o has been a terrific servant for Cameroon, and his influence in the national team should not go unnoticed. The two-time winner of the African Cup of Nations made over 110 appearances for the Indomitable Lions, scoring a record 54 goals.
Now 33, he can proudly look back on an impressive international career that will see him playing in his third World Cup this summer, which will surely be his last.
Andrea Pirlo, Italy
The bearded Italian maestro is likely to call time on his international career after this summer‘s tournament, as Andrea Pirlo will be representing Italy in his third World Cup.
The 35-year-old has made over 100 caps for his country, and even won the 2006 World Cup. He’s been a brilliant servant for his country and has surprised many with his fantastic form in the eve of his playing career. He remains a pivotal player in the Italy midfield and will bow out a national hero this summer regardless.
Frank Lampard, England
The long-serving England international, 35, will be playing his third World Cup this summer, and has made over 100 caps for the Three Lions after making his England debut in 1999.
A quarter-final exit of the 2002 World Cup remains the furthest Frank Lampard's ever gone in the tournament.
The Former Chelsea midfielder is expected to call time on his England duties following this summer's World Cup, but his playing career could still have some time to go.
Steven Gerrard, England
Another England stalwart, Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard has surpassed a century of caps for his country and will also play in his third World Cup this summer.
The 34-year-old, who first featured for the Three Lions in 2000, has remained as important in the side all throughout the years of his career. He’s been a constant in the England team, but conceded the 2014 World Cup will likely be his last, according to John Cross of the Mirror.
Making over 130 caps for the Spanish national team, while set to play in his fourth World Cup, Xavi is 34 years old. While his form has dwindled slightly with age, he still remains an important part of the Spain midfield and will be a key figure in this summer’s tournament.
He won the 2010 World Cup and would love to cap his international career with another before potentially calling time in his Spain duties.
Almost certainly playing in his last World Cup, Xavi faces stiff competition from the likes of Koke (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) and Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), who look the most likely to succeed him in the team in the future.
Robin van Persie, Netherlands
Robin van Persie, 30, is likely to be playing in his last World Cup for the Netherlands. The Manchester United striker has featured in two World Cups for his country, making more than 80 caps.
Such is his advancing age and history of injury problems, Van Persie will likely be making his World Cup swansong this summer, but he has fond memories of making the 2010 final against eventual winners Spain.
Wesley Sneijder, Netherlands
Set to surpass 100 caps for the Netherlands in this summer's World Cup, midfielder Wesley Sneijder knows this could be his last chance in the 2014 tournament.
The 30-year-old, who currently plays for Galatasaray, has featured in two World Cups and is a well-decorated player. He scored two goals in the 2010 World Cup quarter-final and a goal in the semi-final that sent his side to the final against eventual winners Spain, and he’ll be hoping to go one better in what is likely to be his swansong.
Miroslav Klose, Germany
While recently becoming Germany’s all-time top goalscorer, striker Miroslav Klose was supposed to be finished after the 2010 World Cup due to his age. He led his country to the 2010 semi-finals, but they just fell short against eventual winners Spain. That was at the age of 32.
Now 36, Klose has featured in three World Cups for Germany, while making over 130 caps. This summer’s tournament should be his last, but Klose has proved many wrong by being here now.
Gianluigi Buffon, Italy
Long-serving Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is expected to bow out after the World Cup this summer. Now 36, he’s reached the tail end of his international career and is set to feature in his fifth World Cup tournament.
The veteran won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, as did his club and country teammate Andrea Pirlo.
Buffon, who plays for Juventus, has made 140 caps for his country. While he’s stood the test of time over the course of his career, this summer’s World Cup is likely to be his last for Italy.
Iker Casillas, Spain
Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas is now 33 and has played in three World Cups for the national team. He’s made more than 150 caps for Spain in his career, but is expected to be featuring in his last World Cup, as Manchester United’s David de Gea is one of a few names who will provide stiff competition for the No. 1 jersey in the future.
He, like Xavi, won the 2010 World Cup with Spain and is hoping they can retain it this summer.