The Oldest Players at Qatar 2022

A World Cup is approaching that will be, for many players, the last time they'll compete in one. How will the older players prepare for this event?
The Oldest Players at Qatar 2022

Last update: 18 November, 2022

Like every FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022 will be a very special event. For many players, it will be their last chance to take part. In today’s article, we’ve decided to take a look at how the oldest players at Qatar 2022 and their current state of fitness.

The time of the year the World Cup is taking place this year isn’t at all typical. The heat in Qatar forced them to move it from the traditional dates of June and July to November and December. This places it in right in the middle of the season, which can make players fitter for the event, but also increases the risk of injury before or during the competition.

The oldest players at Qatar 2022

Of the 832 players who will be at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, 239 are over the age of 30. That is, 28% are more than three decades old, which is pretty old in soccer terms!

The oldest player in Qatar 2022 will be Alfredo Talavera, goalkeeper of the Mexico national team, who is 40 years old. As for outfield players, there are several 39-year-olds, such as Pepe of Portugal; Dani Alves of Brazil; Hutchinson of Canada; Pasveer of the Netherlands; and Kawashima of Japan.

Other famous soccer stars will probably be attending their last World Cup due to their age, and so now we’re going to take a look at some of these players to see how they’re preparing for Qatar 2022.


Soccer player Pepe.
Pepe is going to the World Cup in Qatar with a knee injury.

The Portuguese defender, who used to play for Real Madrid, will play his last World Cup in Qatar. This season, he played 11 games for Porto, a team where he is an important player.

However, Pepe is arriving at the World Cup with an injury. He’s suffering from a knee injury that has kept him inactive since the first week of October. Despite that, he’s still hoping to be for his team’s first match on Thursday, November 24, against Ghana.

Dani Alves, among the oldest players in Qatar 2022

This steely Brazilian fullback, one of the most successful soccer players in history, will also be 39 years old when Qatar 2022 starts. He’s an important member of his team, Pumas UNAM of Mexico, for whom he has played 12 matches and 86% of possible match time in the 2022-2023 season so far.

One thing that stands out about Dani Alves is his good physical condition, despite his age. This year he only suffered a minor knee injury that sidelined him for less than a week in early October. Although he probably won’t start for Brazil, he’s available should the coach want to use him.

Steve Mandanda

French goalkeeper Steve Mandanda is 37 years old and will be the oldest player of the current world champions. The Zaire-born, but naturalized, French goalkeeper currently plays for Rennes, for whom he has made 13 appearances this season.

Like the two previous players, he has also had knee problems this season. However, he was only sidelined for 11 days. Although France’s first-choice goalkeeper is Hugo Lloris, Mandanda will be available for coach Didier Deschamps if he should need him.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano, one of the great soccer stars, arrives injury-free for Qatar 2022, although he hasn’t played too many matches this season.

The passage of time is inexorable and Cristiano Ronaldo won’t only be one of the oldest players at Qatar 2022, but will surely play his last matches in a World Cup.

In the midst of a dispute with Manchester United, the striker arrives with low morale and not many minutes of playing time, 41% of the team’s total playing time. He can use that to his advantage though, and find a chance to start again for his nation, after a season with 3 goals in 16 games, but without any injuries.

Oldest players at Qatar 2022: Lionel Messi

Although goalkeeper Franco Armani is Argentina’s oldest player at 36, Messi is close behind at 35. The Paris Saint-Germain star will be playing in his fifth World Cup, which, in his own words, is likely to be his last.

Lionel Messi arrives in Qatar in top form. With his club, he played 13 matches this season (84% of the minutes played), in which he scored 7 goals and provided 10 assists. He has also shone in the last few matches played with his national team.

As for injuries, ‘Leo’ was out of action for a week at the beginning of October. The reason? A muscle strain in his calf. He is in impeccable condition and highly motivated to try to crown his career with a World Cup.

Other older players who will say goodbye to the World Cup

Apart from those listed, Qatar 2022 could represent a World Cup farewell for other players. Examples are Luka Modric (37 years old), Diego Godín (37), Manuel Neuer (36) and Sergio Busquets (34), among others.

The bright side is that we will surely meet new stars who will dazzle us on the pitch, as happened with Kylian Mbappé at Russia 2018. Undoubtedly, a great sporting event is approaching and all soccer fans are looking forward to cheering their team to glory.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.