The long wait is finally over. World Cup 2018 is just a week away and football’s biggest stars will headline Russia this summer. However, some of the world’s best players are set to miss out on the summer showpiece due to various reasons. From Gareth Bale to Gigi Buffon, many of the sport’s biggest names have failed to make the cut for Russia.
Here, we have compiled an all-star 11 from players who will not feature in the World Cup 2018 lining up in a 4-3-3 formation.
GK: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
The veteran was planning to become the first player to feature in six World Cups but Sweden had other ideas. Italy failed to make way past the Scandinavian nation in the playoffs, and hence missed out on the qualification berth. Buffon was devastated after the loss to Sweden. He will paredt ways with Juventus, but has not hung up his gloves at international level yet.
RB: Dani Alves (Brazil)
One of the game’s most decorated players, Dani Alves was set to represent Brazil in the summer but unfortunately injured himself right before the tournament. The 35-year-old suffered a knee ligament injury on 8th May, during the French Cup final, effectively ending his hopes of playing in his third World Cup for the Selecao.
CB: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
Chiellini will be another player who won’t be seen in Russia and the sight of him clutching Buffon post the defeat to Sweden, made so many fans cry their heart out. The 33-year-old was instrumental for Juventus yet again this term. However, football fans will not be treated to the robust tackling style of Chiellini this summer.
CB: Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)
Bonucci is the prime example of a proper defender in the modern game. He has been ever present for the Azzurri, however, he too like Chiellini, will not be featuring at the World Cup. Bonucci makes defending look like an art, but Russia will not be graced by another of the game’s forgotten artists.
LB: David Alaba (Austria)
One of the game’s most versatile players, David Alaba will not be playing in the World Cup. A six-time Bundesliga champion with Bayern Munich, he has tasted lesser success in national colours of Austria. Alaba was a vital cog in Bayern’s Bundesliga defence this term, but Austria’s failure to qualify for Russia means Euro 2016 will be his only appearance in a major international tournament.
CM: Radja Nainggolan (Belgium)
Despite his stunning performances for AS Roma this term, Nainggolan failed to convince Roberto Martinez and hence didn’t make the cut for Russia. He was the lynchpin for Roma against Barcelona, helping them secure a shocking victory in the Champions League. Nevertheless, his heroics went in vain as the 30-year-old announced his retirement shortly after being left out of the Belgium World Cup squad.
CM: Marco Verratti (Italy)
Often lauded as the successor to Andrea Pirlo, Verrati will have to wait for the European Championship of 2020 to shine in Azzurri colours. He had a superb season with PSG but failed to inspire his team past a determined Sweden outfit. Hence, he too will be forced to sit out the summer showpiece in Russia alongside his national team-mates.
CM: Arturo Vidal (Chile)
One of the most consistent performers in Chile’s recent successes, Vidal too will miss out on the World Cup. Chile played Brazil in their final qualification match but Vidal was suspended for that game. The Selecao won 3-0 as a decimated Vidal watched his team crash out of the race to qualify for Russia 2018.
RW: Gareth Bale (Wales)
Gareth Bale rose to the occasion against Liverpool in the Champions League final, but after starring for the Dragons in the Euro 2016, he failed to carry forward his nation to Russia. Wales were edged out for the World Cup qualification spot by the Republic of Ireland, meaning the Real Madrid star will have to wait to achieve further glory in national colours.
LW: Alexis Sanchez (Chile)
After a couple of positive years at international level, Alexis Sanchez won’t be seen sprinting down the flanks for Chile in Russia. La Roja suffered a last-minute heartbreak when they succumbed against Brazil and other results didn’t go their way as well. Chile will be sorely missed this summer, and so will be their talisman.
ST: Mauro Icardi (Argentina)
Icardi scored 29 goals for Inter Milan, finishing as the top scorer in Serie A. However, he will still somehow miss the plane to Russia, as Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli had other plans. The 25-year-old was somehow overlooked by Sampaoli and will have to support Messi and company from home. A player of Icardi’s calibre failing to make the cut for his nation proves the embarrassment of riches Argentina posses in their front-line.
Honourable Mentions: Jan Oblak, Alex Sandro, Van Dijk, Fabinho, Leroy Sane, Marek Hamsik, Anthony Martial and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as substitutes.
Football can be cruel at times. The likes of Buffon and Chiellini have been true servants of the game. It will be a difficult sight to actually have a World Cup without such great personalities. But the show must go an, and with the spectacle less than a week away, let us know about players who you think should feature in this list.