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From Ryan Giggs to Alfredo di Stefano: 10 best footballers who have never participated in a World Cup

From Ryan Giggs to Alfredo di Stefano: 10 best footballers who have never participated in a World Cup

On Sunday, when the Qatar World Cup begins, a lot of the world’s greatest players will attempt to showcase their talents on the international stage.

With billions of eyeballs on the competition, players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar are under tremendous pressure to succeed.

While this three and others have the chance to compete for the title of world champions, some of the most renowned players have not been given the opportunity to participate in the competition.

In light of this, SportsDias examines the top players who have never been in a World Cup finals match.

10. David Ginola

David Ginola, a French winger who previously played for Newcastle, Tottenham, Aston Villa, and Everton, impressed Premier League fans with his quick feet and ingenuity. He was unable to reproduce these performances on the world level.

Ginola made only 17 appearances for the France national team and scored only three goals. Infamously, the former winger made a blunder in qualifying when his cross against Bulgaria was easily cleared and ultimately contributed to a 2-1 loss when France needed only a draw to qualify for the 1994 tournament.

9. Alfredo di Stefano

Intriguingly, Di Stefano played for three different national teams throughout his career at Real Madrid. He represented Argentina, Colombia, and Spain, with the latter gaining the most caps.

This did not help him qualify for the World Cup, as Argentina withdrew from qualification and Spain failed to qualify eight years later. He helped 

Spain qualify for the 1962 tournament, but an injury prevented him from making the team.

8. George Best

While Di Stefano has played for multiple national teams, the same cannot be said for former Manchester United player Best. The winger played 37 times for Northern Ireland and scored nine goals for the national team.

His team did not qualify until the final days of Best’s playing career in 1982, but at age 35, he was not selected for the squad.

7. Eric Cantona

From one former Manchester United  player to another, the 45-year-old has actually had an outstanding career with France. Cantona appeared in 45 games for Les Bleus and scored a staggering 20 goals.

Cantona fell victim to Ginola’s error, with France failing to qualify for the 1990 and 1994 World Cups. He retired prior to the 1998 tournament, and France went on to win the tournament for the first time.

6. George Weah

Weah, who won the Ballon d’Or, was a member of a talented national team, whilst Cantona was left out despite being a member of an exceptionally talented national team. During his 18-year career, the Monaco and AC Milan star made 75 appearances for Liberia.

The closest he came to qualifying for the tournament was prior to the 2002 edition, when Liberia fell short by a single point.

5. Ryan Giggs

It is odd that the current crop of Wales players will be making their first appearance in Qatar since 1958 without one of their most legendary players.

Ryan Giggs, a 13-time Premier League champion, earned 64 appearances for the Welsh national team during his career.

He abruptly ended his Wales career in 2007, having failed to assist his team qualify for a single World Cup.

4. Ian Rush

Rush earned a reputation as one of the most dangerous goal-scorers of his generation, scoring 383 goals throughout the course of his club career, making him undoubtedly one of the finest players in Wales. He transferred this form to the international level, scoring 28 goals for the Welsh national team.

In qualifying for the 1994 World Cup, the former Liverpool and Juventus great scored a hat-trick, but it was not enough to qualify his country for the tournament.

3. Abedi Pele

Former attacking midfielder and Ghanaian icon who was instrumental in his country’s 1982 African Cup of Nations victory. Until 2013, when Asamoah Gyan surpassed him, he was his country’s all-time leading scorer.

Despite his accomplishment, he was unable to demonstrate his talents at the World Cup because Ghana failed to qualify over his lengthy career.

2. Sami Hyypia

Hyypia, perhaps one of the best defenders in the history of Liverpool, made 464 appearances for the Reds before leaving for Bayer Leverkusen. He has also been immortalized in national team legend.

The centre-back gained 105 caps for his country, the second-most in history, but his experience was unable to help Finland qualify for a World Cup.

1. Jari Litmanen

Litmanen, a former midfielder for the Finnish national team, is the only player to have accrued more international appearances than Hyypia. After playing for Barcelona, Liverpool, and Ajax, he was regarded as the greatest Finnish footballer in history.

He amassed an incredible 137 national team appearances and scored 32 goals over four decades. Due to Finland’s inability to qualify for a World Cup, Litmanen was never given the chance to showcase his skills at a tournament.

From Ryan Giggs to Alfredo di Stefano: 10 best footballers who have never participated in a World Cup

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