Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19, Euro 2020 was pushed back by a year to 2021 and there were doubts about the availability of some ageing players like Portugal’s Pepe, who turned 38 this year. These players, who are on the wrong side of their 30s, are thorough professionals and have kept themselves in immaculate shape to be ready for this tournament. But the reality is that some of these world-class players are playing their last European Championship and most probably won’t be around in the 2024 edition.
Here we have listed five players who may be playing their last Euros.
The 38-year-old Portuguese defender, Pepe has been around at a high level of competitive football for quite some time now. This has to be his last European Championship with Portugal and the defending champions would be hoping to keep him fit throughout the tournament. Pepe had a good season with Porto and has carried his form in the initial phase of Euro 2020 as well. He is at the heart of the defence of a team that is considered as one of the favourites to win Euro 2020.
CRISTIANO RONALDO (PORTUGAL)
The highest goalscorer in European Championship history, Cristiano Ronaldo may be 36 in 2021 but he is still at the top of his game. His performance against Hungary in the first match of the tournament showed his class as his brace sealed the three points for the defending champions. People have speculated before and have been mistaken but at 36, this has to be Ronaldo’s last Euro competition and thankfully, he has a squad with him who are capable of winning another silverware for the nation.
GARETH BALE (WALES)
There have been plenty of rumours circulating around that Gareth Bale is set to announce his retirement from international football after Euro 2020. Bale hasn’t come out and said anything regarding this and has been busy putting in strong performances on the field. So one may wonder as to why he would want to retire when he is in such great form. Whether he calls it quits after this tournament or not, Euro 2020 could be the last European Championship for the Welshman.
GIORGIO CHIELLINI (ITALY)
The legend of Italian football, Giorgio Chiellini started Euro 2020 on a strong note but picked up an injury against Switzerland in Italy’s second match of the tournament. Chiellini is 36 currently and is one of the senior statesmen in the Italian squad now. For his sake, the injury he picked up isn’t that serious and we could see him in action again in this tournament. But if we consider the 2024 edition, chances of the Italian legend donning his national colours again look slim.
LUKA MODRIC (CROATIA)
The only footballer to win the Ballon D’Or apart from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo since 2008 is Croatia’s Luka Modric. The midfield genius is in a team that has consistently performed well on the world stage. Modric is 35 currently and is still playing football at an elite level but the question is till when? 2024 seems too far-fetched for Modric and chances are that like his former midfield partner Ivan Rakitic, he may quit the international scene soon. But still, you can never be sure of the classy midfielder.