Many promising young players will make their World Cup debut in Qatar, but what about the veterans? A few experienced guys will be hoping to leave a mark in what could be the final World Cup of their careers. It’s their last chance to lift the coveted trophy and solidify their legacies in the soccer world.

The oldest soccer players at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are the main focus of this article. I highlight their career accomplishments and assess their chances to impact the tournament.

Football Luka Modric

  • Age: 37
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Country: Croatia
  • Club: Real Madrid

England regretfully remembers the heroics of Luka Modric in 2018. The 37-year-old soccer icon now holds the all-time record in Croatia with 155 international appearances. Many believe this will be Modric’s last World Cup, but 2026 is very much possible.

Despite his age, Modric is among the most talented midfielders at the 2022 World Cup. He’s also been integral to Real Madrid’s recent success, winning five total Champions League titles. The hope is that Modric can produce some magical moments again this year in Qatar.

The midfielder’s game always revolved around finding pockets of space and moving the ball quickly. Modric can also score or assist from impossible angles and has never relied on his physical attributes.

A player with such a style can contribute for a few more years, especially in international soccer. I expect a strong World Cup performance from Modric, who could lead Croatia to another deep run.

Football Cristiano Ronaldo

  • Age: 37
  • Position: Forward
  • Country: Portugal
  • Club: Manchester United

In 2022, Cristiano Ronaldo will join an elite group of players by competing in his fifth World Cup. The only other players to earn this distinction include Lothar Matthaus, Antonio Carbajal, and Rafael Marquez. He’s already achieved legendary status in soccer, but a World Cup trophy would be insane for his legacy.

This is probably Ronaldo’s last World Cup, despite his longevity and talent level as a player. Portugal has too many talented forwards, so I don’t think he can keep his place with the squad until 2026.

Qatar is his last shot at the World Cup. Portugal is one of the best teams in terms of talent, but Ronaldo’s impact might be negative this time around. His shocking interview with Piers Morgan rattled the soccer world.

The early signs suggest that his teammates in Man Utd and Portugal are not happy, so Ronaldo’s presence might ruin the squad atmosphere.

Football Thiago Silva

  • Age: 38
  • Position: Center-back
  • Country: Brazil
  • Club: Chelsea FC

Thiago Silva will also give it another go in 2022, making him one of the oldest players to watch at the FIFA World Cup. He brings a ton of experience and leadership to a versatile and talented Brazilian squad. He’s a defensive powerhouse whose presence alone will benefit the team.

You don’t expect a player to be that good at 38, but Silva has been a revelation for a struggling Chelsea squad all season long.

The veteran is still one of the best central defenders in the world and the captain of the top contender in Qatar 2022. I won’t be shocked if Silva’s Brazil wins the World Cup with Brazil, which would be the pinnacle of his decorated career.

Football Dani Alves

  • Age: 38
  • Position: Right-back
  • Country: Brazil
  • Club: Club Universidad Nacional

Thiago Silva technically isn’t the oldest Brazilian player competing at this year’s World Cup. That distinction goes to Dani Alves, who’s also set to become the oldest Brazilian ever to play in the prestigious soccer tournament.

The selection of Alves surprised many fans, especially since he plays in Liga MX. The reality is that Brazil is lighter than usual on the flanks. The country usually has the best fullbacks in the world, but that’s not the case in Qatar.

I’m not sure if Alves will be a regular, but his experience and winning pedigree can be critical in tough moments.

Football Eiji Kawashima

  • Age: 39
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Country: Japan
  • Club: RC Strasbourg

The veteran Japanese goalkeeper continues to astound us even as he approaches his 40th birthday. Many people expected him to be named to Japan’s national team for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and they weren’t disappointed!

Kawashima previously became the oldest Japanese player to compete in a World Cup in 2018. He’ll now break his own record as he guards the net in Qatar.

Goalkeepers blossom later than outfield players, and Kawashima probably has a few more good years left in him. I wouldn’t completely rule out the opportunity to see him again in 4 years.

Football Pepe

  • Age: 39
  • Position: Center-back
  • Country: Portugal
  • Club: FC Porto

The legendary Portuguese player enters Qatar with plenty of experience and athletic ability. His illustrious career for Real Madrid includes three Champions League titles and three Spanish championships. Pepe will also become a four-time World Cup participant this year.

Although Pepe is one of the oldest players at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, he can still leave a mark. He remains a go-to option for Portugal at center-back, fortifying an already stout defense. Pepe also recently took part in winning EURO 2016 and the 2019 UEFA Nations League for Portugal.

Winning the World Cup will be the crowning achievement in Pepe’s career if Portugal can pull it off. The hardworking center-back has plenty of experience on the biggest stages in soccer, and he can be pivotal in Qatar.

Football Atiba Hutchinson

  • Age: 39
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Country: Canada
  • Club: Besiktas

Atiba Hutchinson is the only member of the Canadian team that was born during the 1986 World Cup. That was the first and only other time that Canada qualified for the tournament. He’ll also be the second-oldest player at the FIFA World Cup 2022.

The Canadians also selected Hutchinson to be a captain, which makes a lot of sense. He’s been the most reliable player for Canada’s national team over the years, appearing in 97 games. He took over the record for most international appearances in 2021, surpassing Julian De Guzman.

Football Alfredo Talavera

  • Age: 40
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Country: Mexico
  • Club: FC Juarez

Alfredo Talavera isn’t Mexico’s first option at goalkeeper, but he’s the oldest player at the 2022 World Cup. He’ll likely play behind Guillermo Ochoa, another veteran. Since 2011, Talavera has played 40 caps for the Mexican national team.

This is also Talavera’s third consecutive appearance in the World Cup, although it’s unlikely he’ll play at all. Interestingly, Talavera is great at saving penalties. Will he get the chance to shine if the country reaches a penalty shootout in the knockouts?

Football Can the Oldest Players Leave a Mark in Qatar?

Experience matters when it comes to competing in the FIFA World Cup. Teams often benefit from a veteran presence that helps guide and mentor some younger athletes. The oldest players at the 2022 World Cup could make a world of difference for their countries.

If you think they can, you should check what the best sports betting sites have to offer. You can often find props for the veterans and make some money if the bookies underestimate them.

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