Football or Soccer is a demanding sport and players are required to be on the move for 90 minutes. Physical condition is a major aspect for any player. But with increasing age, players can have their performance affected. However, some players have only gotten better and aged like fine wine. Meanwhile, there is a possibility that some of the elite football players from different soccer leagues could retire in 2023. They might continue to play into their 40s but it’s also possible that we won’t see them again until 2023.
Here is the list of five footballers who could hang up their boots:
#5 Andres Iniesta (38 years old)
Andres Iniesta is certainly one of the greatest names in football history due to his masterclass performances in the midfield. He had a glorious career with FC Barcelona, having won nine La Liga titles, six Copas del Rey, four Champions League titles and many other titles.
Following that, Iniesta joined Japanese club Vissel Kobe in 2018. In May 2021, the midfielder signed a contract extension with Vissel Kobe till 2023. It may be his last playing career contract ever.
#4 Giorgio Chiellini (38 years old)
Giorgio Chiellini who is considered one of the best defenders of his generation has showcased his strength, aggressiveness, and man-marking abilities during the peak of his career.
He joined Juventus in 2005 and won a record 9 consecutive Serie A titles from 2012 to 2020. Furthermore, he also won 5 Coppa Italia titles and 5 Supercoppa Italiana titles, having also played two UEFA Champions League finals (in 2015 and 2017).
He retired from international football in 2022 with 117 caps — making him Italy’s joint 5th-highest appearance holder.
On the 13th of June 2022, Chiellini agreed to join MLS side, Los Angeles FC, on a contract till 2023. There is a high chance that he might decide to hang up his boots soon.
#3 Dani Alves (39 years old)
Meanwhile, the Brazilian maestro Dani Alves is regarded as one of the greatest full-backs of all time. He has had an illustrious football career with 47 official titles.
He spent the best part of his career with European giants: Sevilla, Barcelona, Juventus, and PSG.
On the 23rd of July 2022, Alves signed a 1-year contract with Mexican club, UNAM. He may hang up his boots when the deal expires in 2023. He featured in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with Brazil. On 20 January 2023, following his arrest for sexual assault allegation, UNAM decided to end Alves’ contract with the club.
#2 Pepe Reina (40 years old)
Goalkeeper Pepe Reina has had successful stints at the likes of top-tier clubs such as Barcelona, Villareal, Liverpool, Napoli, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Aston Villa, and Lazio.
Reina holds the record more number of continuous clean sheets by a Liverpool goalkeeper. He has 8 clean sheets for them breaking the previous record of 5 clean sheets by David James. He was also the part of 2010 World Cup winning team. He has also won the 2008, 2012 UEFA Euro Cup winner.
On the 8th of July 2022, Reina returned to Villarreal on a season-long deal. Given his age, he might decide to retire in 2023 when he turns 41.
#1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (41 years old)
Considered as one of the best strikers in history, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is certainly aging like fine wine and he’s still in incredible shape.
Last season, he added another Serie A title to his trophy collection with AC Milan — more than a decade after winning his first for the club. That was his 7th Serie A title overall, having also won it with Juventus and Inter Milan.
In total, the Swede has 34 trophies over a career that has spanned more than two decades, where he has also played for Ajax, Barcelona, PSG, Manchester United, and LA Galaxy.
In July 2022, Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed a one-year contract extension with Milan, staying for the next season. However, injuries have taken a toll on his body and there is a possibility that he might quit football at the end of the 2022/23 season.