The FIFA World Cup features both the world’s top players and the best national teams in international football.
While names like Pelé, Diego Maradona, and Johann Cruyff have all participated in the sport’s largest competition, there have been many more legendary players who didn’t make an appearance in the grandest stage of football.
Some of these footballers have had bad luck due to the nations they have played for, while others have simply had bad luck. However, it’s undeniable that, apart from them missing the World Cup, the World Cup also missed these football geniuses.
With less than a month away from the 2022 FIFA World Cup kick-off in Qatar, we’re getting ready for a great showcase of talent, as football fans from all over the country start taking advantage of the 1xBet Promo Code India to make their picks for the World Cup champions, the best player in the tournament and the top goalscorer.
With all this anxiety building up, let’s take a look at some of the best footballers that never played in the FIFA World Cup.
Alfredo Di Stefano
Pelé referred to Alfredo Di Stefano as the greatest player ever. However, Di Stefano was possibly the player who had the worst luck when it came to competing in the World Cup. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The star player that launched a successful era for Real Madrid competed internationally for three different nations – Argentina, Colombia, and Spain – but was unable to make it to a World Cup.
He did not compete in the 1950 World Cup since Argentina did not participate. After having represented Argentina and Colombia, he was ruled ineligible for the 1954 World Cup. He played in a few qualification matches after gaining Spanish citizenship, but the squad did not qualify for the 1958 World Cup. Finally, Di Stefano was unable to compete when Spain qualified in 1962 due to an injury.
Undoubtedly one of the best wingers the world has ever seen, George Best is one of the best footballers to play for Manchester United. In 1968, alongside Sir Bobby Charlton and Dennis Law, an attacking unit that was labeled United’s Holy Trinity, he and the Red Devils won the European Cup. He scored nine goals in 37 games for Northern Ireland, although they failed to qualify for the World Cup.
Northern Ireland was able to qualify twice, in 1982 and 1986, but Best was past his prime, unfit, and had not been given a national cap in many years. His personal life, which included excessive drinking, was largely blamed for his collapse, as did his lack of fitness, which is crucial for players nowadays. Nevertheless, he will be remembered as one of the most gifted athletes to ever be left out of the World Cup.
With 34 titles under his belt and other accolades as a Manchester United player, Ryan Giggs is one of the most accomplished players in the history of the sport. Regrettably, he has never played on an international stage with a strong supporting cast. He made 64 appearances and scored 12 goals for Wales.
Although he began his international career with the England junior team, he was sadly ineligible to play for the senior squad. Giggs became the youngest player to represent Wales when he did so at the age of just 17 years and 320 days. Wales only nearly qualified for the World Cup once throughout his career, in 1994, when he was still a youngster rising the ranks at Manchester United.
Due to his temperament, Eric Cantona was unable to play for extended stretches with the French team, which decreased his prospects of competing in the World Cup. Cantona was suspended from international matches following his uproar against then-head coach Henri Michel’s decision to leave him out of the team throughout one stage of qualifying for the 1990 World Cup.
After that, he had a successful run under Michel Platini and Gerard Houllier. However, following the incident at Crystal Palace, in which he drop-kicked an opposing fan, he was suspended from the team that won the 1998 World Cup, also due to the emergence of a certain someone called Zinedine Zidane.
George Weah, who once won FIFA World Player of the Year as well as numerous other individual and team honors during his football career in Liberia, France, and Italy, is perhaps the best African player to ever play the game.
Despite scoring 22 goals for his country during his career, he was unable to play in the World Cup. In fact, he never really stood a chance of qualifying for the tournament since he played for a nation that is still yet to reach its first World Cup.