I have put a list of the best ten players who will not make it to the Russia 2018 World Cup and there is some unbelieve players who are missing out. Have a look and see if you agree with my ranking of players, is there anyone I’ve missed?
- David Luiz
A ball playing aggressive centre back who plays out from the back, David Luiz re-wrote the rules on what role a central defender should play. His pace, eye for goal and flamboyant nature made him, at one time, one of the best central defenders in the world, with PSG paying €50 million for his services back in 2014. Since returning to Chelsea however, the Brazilian has struggled on the pitch. Antonio Conte obviously does not trust Luiz in his three-back formation, favouring less experienced players such as Rudiger and Christensen over him. As a result, Luiz has featured in just 10 league appearances this season and looks to be searching for a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer. This effected his chances to get into the Brazil squad massively with players like Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Miranda leaving no room for an out of form Luiz.
- David Alaba
Alaba has proven to be an incredibly influential player at Bayern Munich. Capable of playing in defence and midfield he has taken the place of Philipp Lahm as a quality utility player for the German giants. His range of passing and incredible work rate was not enough to help Austria as they once again miss out on a world cup. Austria have not qualified for a World Cup since 1998 and even with Alaba’s skills, it is no guarantee he will play in one in his career.
- Arjen Robben
After failing to qualify for the World Cup, Arjen Robben retired from International football ending an incredible career for the Netherlands. At 34 this was Robben’s final chance to excel in a major tournament and after being integral in pushing The Netherlands to finish Runner-up in 2010 and Third Place in 2014. It would have been great to see the winger try and push his nation one step further one last time, but it was not to be. Despite the strength in the squad featuring the likes of Van Dijk, De Vrij and Memphis Depay, qualification was not possible this time and Robben will be badly missed at this year’s World Cup.
- Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
Where ever he goes, Aubameyang stands out and attracts interest. Regrettably, this will not be happening in Russia this summer. A lack of quality players from Gabon means that the striker is likely to never feature in a World Cup but he certainly has the quality to. Since joining Arsenal, the forward looks sharp and his incredible goal record in Dortmund shows he could walk into the starting 11 for most sides in the World Cup. A great player in club football, but one who misses out on international tournaments such as this because of the country he is from.
- Radja Nainggolan
Nainggolan’s admission from the World cup is a massive shame for the fans just as much as himself but, it was also one of the easiest to predict. Despite being in incredible form for AS Roma and impressing all throughout this season, he has not been selected for the World Cup and as a result has retired from International football. Since Roberto Martinez has been managing Belgium, Nainggolan has been forced out, in place of what many regard as lesser talents Axel Witsel and Marouane Fellaini. Martinez defends his decision, explaining that his character would not be beneficial at the world cup as he would only be playing a small role. Belgium still have an incredible squad at this year’s finals, but it certainly would look better with Nainggolan in it.
- Jan Oblak
Since breaking into the first team at Atletico Madrid, Oblak has increased his reputation immensely and is now highly regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Unfortunately, apart from Josip Ilicic, Slovenia have a lack of footballing quality and a player like Oblak is very unlikely to ever play in the World Cup, despite his undeniable quality as a shot stopper. He is great keeper in the La Liga and at only 25, he has incredible potential and it is a great shame he will not be entertaining us in Russia.
- Mauro Icardi
Once again, another top-class player in form and dropped by his country, Icardi could not have done more in his attempts to make the World Cup squad. He scored 29 goals in 34 games, which tied Ciro Immobile for top scorer in the Serie A. Icardi also beat both Dybala and Higuaín in Goals, minutes per goal, shots and shots on target this season however, they have made it into the squad in front of him. Icardi is victim to circumstance, Argentina probably have the best forward line in the competition with Aguero, Dybala, Higuaín and of course Lionel Messi. It must be an incredibly bitter pill to swallow for Icardi as he is quality goal scorer, but this time the Inter forward has to be the one who misses out.
- Leroy Sane
Undoubtedly, this is the shock omission from the tournament. Leroy Sane was electric for Manchester City this season and was a large reason for their dominant Premier League season. The German won Young Player of the Year in the Premier League and still cannot get ahead of Julian Brandt and Julian Draxler in the left-wing position. It shows the strength in depth of the German squad, but a player with the form and quality of Sane, should surely be going to Russia ahead of other wingers. Alas, Joachim Low has left him out this year and Leroy Sane will be left wondering what can he do to break into the German first team.
- Leonardo Bonucci
Earlier on this season, Bonucci was named in FIFA’s team of the year, among the best in world football, and while every other player from that selection will travelling to the World Cup, Bonucci will be watching the action from his sofa. Bonucci is a strong commanding leader at the back who will be sorely missed this summer as he is a great defender. Italy have not missed a World Cup finals since 1958, unfortunately this year’s failure to qualify has coincided with the prime of Bonucci’s career.
- Gareth Bale
The Champions League final showed us what a talent we are missing out on watching at this year’s World Cup. Gareth Bale may not have had the best season, but his quality is extraordinary and he is certainly still regarded as one of the Top 5 players in the world. Bale scores all types of goals and sights like his overhead kick in the champions league final are not forgotten quickly. Bale has been a great servant for his country, but was unable to drag Wales to Russia as they lost out in a difficult qualifying group. The squad certainly has the ability to excel in big tournaments, shown by Wales’s incredible run in the 2016 European Championships but a poor qualification has robbed Bale of a chance to impress at a World Cup. He is an truly brilliant player and deserves to be number one on this list, although that is probably no consolation for the Real Madrid forward.
This list has in it some unbelievable players, but these are by no means the only amazing players not appearing in Russia this summer. Legends of the game Gianluigi Buffon and Zlatan Ibrahimović are missing out on impressing on the world stage for one final time, a sight many fans would have loved to see. As well as this, some players have had incredible seasons for their clubs and still not made the world cup, or this list. This includes Liverpool’s new signings Fabinho and Keita, the Bosnian duo Pjanic and Edin Dzeko. In addition to this Chiellini, Hamsik, Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal all miss out on playing in the biggest football competition in the world.
There is no doubt the tournament would be enhanced if these stars were playing but let’s not forget the incredible individuals which have made the tournament. Despite these notable admissions, it is set to be an amazing tournament, enjoyed by all who love football and sport in general.
What did you think of this list? Would you change the order at all or include any players I have missed out? I would love to know your thoughts down in the comment section below.