Five players for which Euro 2024 will be their last
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Five players for which Euro 2024 will be their last

14/06/24 10:30

Five players for which Euro 2024 will be their last

With the Euro 2024 starting on Friday, young players will get the chance to show their skill and potential, to become confident in their squad but on the other side, the 2024 Euro might be the last for some of the most experienced players in European football.

From Friday onwards we can expect to see a lot of talent on the pitches in Germany and the joy of international football will strike again. But whilst fans gather to celebrate their team, some players are particularly eager to give it their all because they might not get the chance again in the future to play for their country - here are five players for whom the 2024 Euro might be there last:

1. Toni Kroos - Germany

Just recently Toni Kroos has announced that he will rejoin the German national team after initially retiring from it after Germany lost against England in the round of 16 during the 2020 Euros. During the tournament he got heavily criticised for his performance which was one of the reasons why he also decided not to play at the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

While German fans hoped for a return to the squad for years to come, the Madrid midfielder announced his retirement from football after the 2024 Euro, leaving the national team as well as Real Madrid, a club where he signed nearly ten years ago.

As he announced his retirement on Instagram, he wrote: “July 17th, 2014 – the day of my presentation at Real Madrid, the day that changed my life. (…) As I have always said: Real Madrid is and will be my last club.”

With winning the Champions League final this year against Dortmund and the Spanish league, he’s already won two trophies he will remember forever but the dream to finish his career with Germany winning the 2024 Euro still stands.

Madrid’s head coach, Carlo Ancelotti, said: “He finished at the very top, there is no way to finish higher than this. He had the boldness to finish (his career) and he is a legend at this club.”

2. Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal

While the Portuguese forward has not announced his retirement from international football, it has been rumoured that the Euro 2024 will be his last.

The Al Nassar captain is starting his sixth Euro campaign with Portugal at their opening match against Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Ronaldo’s career at clubs and international stage is one for the books and he achieved more than any young footballer could ever dream of. People who are not interested in football know who he is and what he has achieved. The Portuguese legend has won five Ballon d’Or awards, five Champions League titles, four European Golden Shoes and one Euro title in 2016.

The only trophy Ronaldo, who will turn 40 next year, could not win so far is the FIFA World Cup, which is why he might decide to give it one last shot in 2026, despite the fact that he did not play a full game at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, being subbed off or benched at every fixture.

Ronaldo himself hinted at his retirement when he said: “I know I don’t have many years of football left. (…) It’s a gift to play year after year, after 35. I’m 39 and every year is about enjoying (myself).”

3. Luka Modric - Croatia

Real Madrid’s star midfielder, Luka Modric, made his debut for the Croatian national team during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He will now return and play on German ground for the first time since his international debut. He began his career there as a youngster and is now likely to end it as a leader.

Croatia last played without Modric in 2005 and the midfielder has since appeared in 170 international fixtures, including Croatia's vice-championship at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Similar to Kroos, Modric wants his final club to be Madrid, where he has played a crucial role since his signing in 2012. He has not officially announced his retirement yet and has previously mentioned the eagerness, ambition and joy he still feels while on the pitch but regardless, at the age of 38, his days as a footballer are numbered.

Modric said: “I have always said that I would like to retire at Real Madrid, when I said that I would like to retire, Real Madrid is what I really want and think. (…) It would be a dream for me to retire in my home, in the club of my life and I hope that happens.”

4. Manuel Neuer - Germany

The keeper who has arguably made Germany’s World Cup win in 2014 possible, has been criticised a lot during the build up for the 2024 Euro.

His extraordinary performance, which was once the standard for him, seems to be missing in the recent fixtures he played for the national team and fans have started to argue for Neuer to not be the starting keeper at the Euros.

German coach Julian Nagelsmann has decided to nominate three goalkeepers for their home campaign and while he assured Neuer that he is the clear number one, many would rather see FC Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in goal.

Over the past couple of years, Neuer has struggled with multiple injuries and missed out on many opportunities to play but he fought his way back into Bayern's goal and is also positive to deliver on the international stage.

5. Olivier Giroud - France

Last but not least, it seems like Olivier Giroud's career might be coming to an end at some point after the Euros.

The Frenchman has played a crucial role in France’s recent success with winning the World Cup in 2018 as well as reaching the final in Qatar. Regardless, the France are still waiting for their first Euro title since 2000 and so is Giroud.

He started his international journey with France in 2011 at the age of 25 and is now looking to bring victory home to France for a second time in his career.

Giroud has not officially retired from football yet but did mention that the Euro 2024 will most likely be his last international tournament he will play.

In an interview with L’Equipe, he said: “To be honest, this will be my last competition with Les Bleus. Obviously I am going to miss it a lot (but) we need to make way for the youngsters.”

As Giroud said, it is slowly time to say farewell and thank you to some players who have helped to make football something so special. But with greatness going, young players such as Bellingham and co. are looking to create a new era in European football.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Kelly Stock

Football Writer

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