Kroos will retire after Euro 2024.

9 era-defining greats set to play their last Euros this summer: Ronaldo, Kroos, Modric…

The Euros only come around every four years (apart from that time a pandemic put a big old spanner in the works), so, for those elder statesmen of the game, 2024 could well be their last shot at Euro glory.

At big international tournaments, some go out with a bang, some go out with a whimper, others headbutt Marco Materazzi in the sternum. Everyone dreams of going out at the top, though.

This summer’s European Championship could be the last time round for some of football’s living legends. We’ve rounded up nine all-time greats who are unlikely to grace the Euros stage again.

Toni Kroos

The only 100% confirmed retiree on this list. Kroos’ last professional kicks of a ball will be for his country in Germany this summer, and we’re fully expecting him to go out with less of a bang and more of a massive sonic boom.

Many pundits have Kroos down as their early favourite for player of the tournament.

If he and Germany manage to win the Euros on home soil, after the great man won the Champions League in his final game for Real Madrid, it would surely be the greatest retirement in the history of football.

Munich, Germany. 06th Sep, 2018. 06.09.2018, Bavaria, Munich: Soccer: Nations League A, Germany - France, Group stage, Group 1, Matchday 1. Toni Kroos (M) from Germany applauds after the 0:0.

READ: Kroos leads the way in big-name footballers retiring in 2024…


The mad bastard of Brazil (and Portugal) hasn’t actually given any indication that he’s planning to retire, but he will be 45 years old by the time Euro 2028 comes about. In football years, that’s borderline Cretaceous.

Portugal have a truly frightening squad, however. Pepe will be commanding the defence, but the midfield and attacking options… Forget about it. Ridiculous. Silly. Stupid. Pepe has a massive chance of bowing out of the Euros at the very top.

Robert Lewandowski

Poland’s talisman is 35 now, which, logically, means this should probably be his last Euros. If that proves to be the case, Poland have a MASSIVE hole to plug.

However, Lewandowski is super fit, takes his nutrition extremely serious, and could potentially see one more Championship before he calls it a day.

We reckon he might have an eye on World Cup 2026 for his international retirement, though. Unless Poland do the unthinkable and pull off a Greece…

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Manuel Neuer

Neuer is the best goalkeeper of his generation. Gigi Buffon was around for a long time before he arrived on the scene, and the German redefined what a goalkeeper could be. However…

We all know what happened to Bayern Munich this season: 3rd in the league and defeat in the Champions League semifinals.

Neuer’s individual form has faltered a little of late, and the big man will be 42, come Euro 2028. It looks likely that this will be Neuer’s final Euros and truly the end of an era.

Cristiano Ronaldo

He’s 39, he’s playing in Saudi Arabia, and there is simply no way that Ronaldo isn’t going to do everything in his power to see out his international career at a World Cup.

Yes, he’s a ridiculous athlete and we wouldn’t put it past him trying to play until he’s 60, but we reckon this is Ronaldo’s final European Championship, and he’s got a great chance of picking up his second winner’s medal.

Olivier Giroud

France’s squad is super-stacked. All the chat will be around Kylian Mbappe and the young guns from Real Madrid but Giroud is vital to this squad. Giroud allows the other attackers and the midfielders to flourish.

The handsome fella is France’s all-time top scorer, but he’s in there mainly to facilitate the headline-grabbers around him.

At the age of 37, Giroud has just signed for LAFC over in the United States, and this tournament is almost certainly set to be the great man’s last Euros.

Chicago, USA. 20th Aug, 2023. August 20, 2023, Chicago, Illinois, USA: Major League Soccer - Chicago Fire FC v Orlando City SC Xherdan Shaqiri (10 Chicago Fire FC) looks on with an injured eye during the game between Chicago Fire FC and Orlando City SC on Sunday August 20, 2023 at Soldier Field, Chicago, USA.

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Luka Modric

This is a tentative shout from us—more of a mutterance. One of the greatest midfielders of all time, let alone his generation, Modric plays football with his brain, not with his feet, although his feet are decent too.

He’s still playing as well as he ever has, if a little less frequently, but the man has so much football intelligence he could probably play with one leg.

He’s 38 now, so this should be his last outing at the Euros, but it would not surprise us if the little pirate-looking genius just kept going and going and going.

N’golo Kante

The international resurgence of Kante is a gorgeous thing. Kante played for Leicester City—they won the league.

Kante moved to Chelsea—they won the league. The same could be said for Danny Drinkwater, if we’re being pedantic, but Danny Drinkwater didn’t then win the World Cup, so we can probably drop that.

Kante missed the 2022 World Cup with a hamstring injury—France did not win.

He’s only 33, but he’s already made a move to Saudi Arabia to play his club football, and France have the likes of Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, and Warren Zaire-Emery coming through, this is likely to be the legend’s last Euros.

Thomas Muller

The original Raumdeuter and King of the Craic is the face of the Die Mannschaft.

He’s 34 now, but still an extremely effective player since, like Luke Modric, he’s never relied on speed or strength. Muller is stringy and wily and super-intelligent.

Jamal Musiala, Florian Wirtz, and Kai Havertz all occupy similar areas of the pitch to Muller, and are all far younger than the veteran, so you’d expect this to be Muller’s Euros swan song. Auf wiedersehen, sweet prince. Maybe.