Especially for the most emotional fans, it is hard to see a player of great quality go away from the world of football, never to play again. Their dribbling, headers and goals, crosses and shoots, all the missed and converted chances, their unique spirit and playing style will never again be seen in professional football. Some of the world’s best players, once again, are going to play the World Cup for the last time, and they will not be seen in future World Cups.
‘Saint’ Iker Casillas:
No matter what club or national team you’ve supported all your life, you will not deny that Casillas is a legend when it comes to all goalkeepers. It is an honor for Real Madrid fans to acknowledge that the Spanish national goalkeeper has been a one-team player all his life. He is often called ‘saint’ due to his saint-like presence in the back for his team.
During his full career on the Spanish football team, totaling 14 years and 153 appearances, Casillas has only conceded 83 goals. Known as one of the best goalkeepers ever in world football history, he was also the World Cup 2010’s golden glove (the best goalkeeper). Having numerous trophies for individual achievement as best goalkeeper, there is no question that he is a legend.
Xavier ‘Xavi’ Hernandez:
When people-and football critics-talk about the greatest midfielders of our time, Xavi Hernandez is always near the top of the list. Xavi’s style is inspired by his team FC Barcelona’s school of thought, “tiki taka.” He is always looking space, and in that space has been responsible for some of the most dangerous attacking buildups in current generations. He is also known as the primary playmaker for the renowned forward Lionel Messi.
Xavi’s lifetime achievements are numerous: World player of the year 2010, Euro 2008 player of the tournament, UCL man of the match 2009, and UEFA mid-fielder of the season 08-09. He has won seven La Liga titles with FC Barcelona and two Spanish cups. In 1999 he was La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year, in 2005 La Liga Spanish Player of the Year, and La Liga midfielder of the ear in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Andrea Pirlo ‘el arquitecto’
There are few players in the world who have achieved the place in football where Andrea Pirlo stands. He is known as “the architect” because of his own unique playing style known as “deep playmaking.” It is said that the 2006 World Cup won by Italy was single-handedly won by Andrea Pirlo, who was also the top assist provider of the tournament and the man of the match in the final. Many experts believe that his best days are behind him,, but the Italian team has always counted on him for converting the free-kicks awarded at the edge of the D .
The Italian center midfielder is regarded as an artist in football; he is able to dictate the whole game with his passing. Though AC Milan let him go, he has still managed to win three Serie A titles with Juventus, and was named player of year for 2012 and 2013. When Andrea Pirlo plays his last game of the World Cup, it will be a sight to see, since World Cup football will never witness the artistry “that once existed in the name of Andrea Pirlo.”
Gianluigi ‘Gigi’ Buffon
Ask anyone, “Who is the Italian team’s goalkeeper?” and for as long as they can remember, Buffon-now thirty-six-has been at the post. The world has never seen a more consistent goalkeeper than Buffon, who is still going to represent Italy in the World Cup. Still the captain of the Italian side and his club Juventus, Buffon has countless achievements under his belt, including the 2006 World Cup under Fabio Cannavaro. He was the runner-up for the Ballon d’Or 2006, losing only to his captain. Age has never been a hindrance for Buffon; his reflexes have always been top-notch and he never thinks twice before diving. Remarkably, he has even given clean sheets with ten-man teams.
Steven Gerrard, ‘Stevie G’
The current English and Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard, has had a very emotional career, and he is loved even by the fans of rival clubs. Steven Gerrard has always played for one of the top-class teams of the Premier League-Liverpool -but never won a League title. However, he won the UEFA Champions League 2005 and was named man of the match.
Steven Gerrard is known for two aspects of his game; his playmaking and confident penalty-scoring. However, his greatest achievement is his fan-following. Captaining his national side at the age of 33, it’s obvious that he’s playing the World Cup for the last time, and his fans-yes, and all England-want him to bring the cup home. For a player who is loved and respected all over the world, “legend” is too small a word.
Xavi Hernandez player profile
Pirlo scores a free-kick news report
Steven Gerrard’s profile at Liverpool’ website