Five best free agents to play in World Cups as Cristiano Ronaldo joins likes of Frank Lampard and Zinedine Zidane

CRISTIANO RONALDO joins a small group of football greats who competed in the World Cup as free agents.

Manchester United terminated Ronaldo’s £500,000-a-week contract via mutual consent on Tuesday after his bombshell interview with SunSport columnist Piers Morgan.

Cristiano Ronaldo will compete in the 2022 World Cup as a free agentGetty

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner tore United to shreds from top to bottom as he took shots at the the Glazers, manager Erik ten Hag and former team-mates Wayne Rooney as well as Gary Neville.

The Portugal captain is now fully focused on the 2022 World Cup as he has nowhere to go back to after the end of the tournament in Qatar.

But who else does the star forward join in the list of players that competed at the World Cup without a team?

SunSport take you through five big names that competed in the esteemed competition as free agents:

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The lists most recent addition Cristiano Ronaldo has yet to kick a ball in Qatar and is already a free agent as well as the centre of attention.

Manchester United legend Ronaldo will be looking for a new club once he returns from this year’s tournament, with the likes of Chelsea and Sporting Lisbon linked.

But first the Portugal international will focus on Group H opponents Ghana, South Korea and Uruguay.


Zinedine Zidane decided to end his career in the 2006 World Cup and was determined to go out with a bang… literally.

Zidane had just ended his glittering five-year stint at Real Madrid when he decided to retire from club football.

The legendary playmaker then opted to roll credits on his scintillating career with France’s shirt on as he led his country to the final.

And the Juventus legend almost won the trophy for the second time but his temper got the better of him as he headbutted Italy’s Marco Materazzi and was sent off during extra-time.


Zinedine Zidane left Real Madrid before retiring with France in the 2006 World CupGetty


Frank Lampard found himself in a strange position during the 2014 World Cup as he was no longer a Chelsea player.

Lampard’s legendary 13-year stint at Stamford Bridge came to an end before linking up with England for a shambolic run that saw them crash out in the group stage.

Things got better for the legendary midfielder soon after as he signed for Manchester City.

Frank Lampard competed for England in teh 2014 World Cup after leaving ChelseaAP:Associated Press


Tony Cascarino was a free agent when he linked up with the Republic of Ireland for the 1994 World Cup.

Cascarino had been released by Chelsea in the summer before jetting off to the United States.

But the striker managed to seal a move to Marseille soon after and spent two years at the Velodrome.

Giorgos Karagounis led Greece in the 2014 World Cup after leaving FulhamReuters


Just like Zinedine Zidane, Giorgos Karagounis decided to have his last hurrah at the World Cup with Greece in 2014 – just 10 years after helping his country win Euro 2004.

Karagounis had left Fulham following their relegation to the Championship and was fully focused on leading his country to yet another international success.

And the legendary midfielder did just that as he helped the Greeks reach the Last 16 for the first and only time in their history.

Fernando Santos’ men went to penalties with Costa Rica, who netted all of their spot kicks before Karagounis could hit Greece’s fifth and final shot.

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