Please Wait . . .
Like it or not, we are sadly enteringthe twilight years of the careers of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - arguably the greatest duo to have ever graced the football pitch.
By the time the 2022 World Cup in Qatar rolls around, Ronaldo will be 37 and Messi will be 35.
With most professional footballers in Europe calling time on the game in their early to mid 30s, this would put both Ronaldo and Messi well past that age bracket.
Neither player has given a specific timeframe for when they expect to hang up their boots for the final time, which is only natural due to their superstar status.
But though might both be the GOATs with superhuman ability on the football pitch, even they won't be able to keep playing forever.
If Ronaldo and Messi were to appear at the 2022 World Cup, it would be safe to say that it would be their final appearance at an international tournament.
It might be an encouraging sign that neither footballer has explicitly stated that they plan on retiring before the tournament, remaining vague on when they expect to call time on their career.
The prospect of a last chance to win theWorld Cup trophy would be a tantalising thought for them - as neither has ever won a World Cup with their respective countries before.
Messireached the final of the 2014 World Cup with Argentina, painfully losing to Germany. Ronaldo has never been named a world champion either, butwon the 2016 European Championshipand 2019 UEFA Nations League with Portugal.
Ronaldo has been public about his desires to keep playing football well past the expected age of retirement, stating: “Several years ago, the age of playing football was until 30-32, but now, you find those who are 40 years old playing on the field.
“The moment my body is no longer responding in the right way on the field, then it would be the time to leave. My success in my field is the result of hard work, and a way of living.I work continuously to improve my mental and physical abilities. I aspire to continue my studies after retiring from football.
"I hope I live more than 50 years to learn new things and face different challenges and try to find solutions for them.One of the things that I seek to challenge myself in, for example, is acting in a movie.
"I always recommend learning all that is new. This is what I always strive for. I always seek to educate myself, because my studies tend toanswer many of the questions on my mind.
"We have to learn the best of others, and this is an important partin helping me achieve what I have reached now."
Messi, on the other hand, has remained more coy about when he plans on retiring, but his former team-mate at Barcelona Xavi has iterated his confidence that the Argentine will appear at the Qatar finals in 2022at 35 years of age.
"I see Leo playing until he wants to. On a physical level, he is fast, strong, he is a competitive beast, physically an animal," Xavi toldMarca.