Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could make history by becoming part of a select group of players who have managed to participate in as many as five World Cup competitions.
Both Argentina and Portugal have clinched qualification to the 2022 World Cup, one which will take place in Qatar in November and December, and the two stars are expected to feature in the competition if they stay healthy.
Let’s, then, take a look at the four players who are expected to play their fifth World Cup in Qatar this year.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Portugal sealed qualification after beating North Macedonia in the playoffs. Ronaldo has played in all World Cups since 2006, when Portugal finished fourth. He has participated in 17 World Cup matches and, if he reaches the final this season, he could break Lothar Matthaus’ record of 25 games.
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
He featured in the same editions as the Manchester United forward, starting from the one in 2006. Messi led Argentina to the 2014 final in Brazil, but his team failed to beat Germany. He has mustered two more World Cup appearances than Ronaldo.
Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)
The best Mexican goalkeeper of all time will play in his fifth World Cup, as Mexico have managed to secure qualification. He has participated in eight games, as he stayed on the bench on some occasions in the past.
Andres Guardado (Mexico)
The Real Betis midfielder has featured in 12 World Cup matches. He is expected to make it to this year’s edition, although he is no longer considered as a starter. Guardado has never managed to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
Then, these are the few players who have already been in five World Cups.
Antonio Carbajal (Mexico)
The Mexican goalkeeper played a total of 11 games across the 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962 and 1966 editions of the World Cup.
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
He came closer than anyone to featuring in a sixth World Cup, but Italy didn’t make it to the 2018 edition after being eliminated from Russia in the qualifiers. Buffon was in the Italy squad in five World Cups, but only participated in four of them since he played no minute in the 1998 edition.
Rafael Marquez (Mexico)
Another Mexican on the list, Marquez has registered 19 appearances in five World Cups since 2002.
Lothar Matthaus (Germany)
He is the player with the most appearances in World Cup history with 25. His first appearance came in 1982 and his last was in 1998, winning the trophy in 1990.
Andres Iniesta, Sergio Ramos and Pepe Reina are still active, but they are not expected to be called up by Luis Enrique and join the select group of players with participations in five World Cups.