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Pirlo, Klose, Gerrard and the stars we'll never see at the World Cup again

Brazil marked the final World Cup for several household names, with Goal recognizing those waving goodbye to the tournament once and for all.

Time catches up with everyone in the end. For a number of the World Cup's biggest names, their advancing years mean they have graced the competition for the last time.

Most players don't get the opportunity to bow out at the top, but Miroslav Klose has waved goodbye to soccer's grandest stage in style.

His goal in Germany's 7-1 semifinal thrashing of Brazil saw him become the World Cup's record scorer with 16 strikes, in a fitting end to what will be his last appearance in the competition at the age of 36.

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Italy's Andrea Pirlo continues to defy his years with his brilliance, but given he will be 39 by the time Russia 2018 comes around, he is unlikely to weave his magic in the tournament again.

Another midfield star bidding farewell to the World Cup is Steven Gerrard. England was dumped out in the group stage in Brazil, and the 34-year-old is highly unlikely to have the opportunity to make amends in four years' time.

Spain endured a miserable campaign in Brazil, with its shock exit from Group B set to prompt a changing of the guard, as the veteran trio of Xabi Alonso, 32, Xavi, 34, and David Villa, 32, will be replaced by a new breed in 2018.

With four World Cups under his belt, Cameroon captain Samuel Eto'o has certainly had his fill of the game's greatest competition, but the 33-year-old would need to display astonishing durability if he is to appear at a fifth tournament.

Fellow African icon Didier Drogba was used mainly as a substitute in Brazil and the Cote d'Ivoire star will almost certainly be retired in 2018, when he will be 40 years old.

That could also be the case for Diego Forlan who, at 35 and now playing his soccer in Japan, did remarkably well to be selected in Uruguay's World Cup squad this time around.

Mexico defender Rafael Marquez became the first player to captain his side in four World Cups, though the 35-year-old won't extend that record in Russia in four years.

And having failed to reach the tournament at all, Sweden talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic — who turns 33 in October — may not get another opportunity to grace the competition.

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