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5 legendary footballers who could end their career in the MLS

Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Lionel Messi (right) could end their careers in the MLS.
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Lionel Messi (right) could end their careers in the MLS.
Sanstab Das
ANALYST

America's Major League Soccer (MLS) is one of the fastest-growing domestic football leagues in the world.

The MLS is home to some of the best players in the continent, including Carlos Vela, Josef Martinez and Luiz Araujo. The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney made the cross-continent trip in recent years.

The league is extremely competitive. Moreover, MLS clubs offer lucrative financial packages, along with the opportunity to reside in some of the best cities in the world. That makes the MLS an attractive destination for world-class players to end their career there.

A generation of talented footballers has now given way to a new generation led by Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are probably the last remnants of the golden era. The likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos are entering the twilight phase of their glorious career. It will be interesting to see if they choose the MLS to call time on their career.

On that note, here's a look at five legendary footballers who could end their career in the Major League Soccer (MLS).


#5 Franck Ribery

Franck Ribery is currently plying his trade at Salernitana.
Franck Ribery is currently plying his trade at Salernitana.

Franck Ribery would've certainly won the Ballon d'Or award at least once if not for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's duopoly in the last decade.

After an illustrious 12-year career at the Allianz Arena, the Frenchman parted ways with Bayern Munich in the summer of 2019 to join Fiorentina. At 36, Ribery was well past his prime when he arrived in Italy, but he fared decently. In 51 appearances for the Serie A outfit, he scored five goals and provided ten assists.

When you come to play football in Italy and you learn “Italian” 🇮🇹😬 @FranckRibery @OfficialUSS1919 #SerieA💎 #WeAreCalcio https://t.co/MrOR0ts0Sl

Ribery recently joined newly-promoted US Salernitana, who are currently languishing in 19th place in the Serie A table. The club has only won two matches out of their 12 this campaign. Salernitana are one of the favourites to go back down to the second division.

In such a scenario, Ribery could consider making the final move of his career to the MLS instead of Serie B.


#4 Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi Buffon recently signed for his boyhood club Parma Calcio 1913.
Gianluigi Buffon recently signed for his boyhood club Parma Calcio 1913.

Gianluigi Buffon's £47.6 million move to Juventus from boyhood club Parma two decades ago remains one of the most expensive goalkeeper transfers of all time.

This summer, Buffon's footballing journey completed a full circle when he returned to his boyhood club after 20 years. Parma are currently in Italy's second division - Serie B. They are 14th in the Serie B table, but will hope to make their place among Italy's top dogs, with Buffon in their ranks.

🚨⚽️ | NEW: Parma have released a special shirt to celebrate the anniversary of Gianluigi Buffon making his Parma debut in 1995 https://t.co/LETsRWmvIy

Many have claimed Parma might be Buffon's last club, as he might look to retire where it all started for him. However, the Italian superstar is going strong even at 43.

Buffon aims to lead Parma back to where they belong, but the club does not look like a contender for promotion this season. That could entice the legendary goalkeeper to end his extraordinary career with a final flourish in the MLS.

Despite Parma's leaky defence, Buffon has kept four clean sheets in Serie B this season. That is evidence that Buffon might have some years in his tank to prosper in a 'lesser' league like the MLS.

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Edited by Bhargav
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