Arsene Wenger claims the 2022 World Cup is the ‘LAST CHANCE’ for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and a host of other global greats are at the last chance saloon in terms of winning a World Cup, according to Arsene Wenger.

The former Arsenal manager is now head of FIFA’s Technical Study Group, and launched their new player and team data analysis platform in Doha yesterday, ahead of the World Cup’s first match between Qatar and Ecuador today (Sunday).

And as Wenger outlined the increasing speed and intensity of modern football, he said this tournament is the last chance for some of the greatest players in football history to bow out with a World Cup winners medal.

‘I believe this World Cup is the last chance for great players who have shown us all their talent in the last 10 or 15 years,’ he said.

‘They will come here and think ‘it’s now or never’. It’s exciting to see because Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, and Karim Benzema are top of the world. Lewandowski too – they will all be thinking: ‘this is my chance.’

Ronaldo and Luka Modric are both 37, Messi is 35, Benzema and Lewandowski are 34, while Neymar is the youngest of the ‘older’ generation at 30.

Wenger did, however, have some encouragement for the most skilful players, especially Messi and Modric, who are slight figures but can still thrive in the era of relentless pressing and increasing physicality.

‘The luck of our sport is that it is a technical sport, and despite the increasing intensity, when you look at the end of a game to see who made the difference, who made you win, they are players with vision and with the technical ability to realise their vision.’

‘Badly used science can be detrimental to risk because players can be too conscious of data and not play with freedom.

‘That is why the science should be used well, to encourage players to keep making audacious decisions. If not, it could be detrimental to the quality of the game.

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