With the World Cup in Brazil less than a month away, we look at the best players who failed to make the cut for their countries.
Selection for a World Cup is considered one of the highest individual honours not just in football, but across sport. Winning a tournament is ranked even greater, it makes one immortal within footballing history.
Many great players that left their legacy on football have come and gone without winning a World Cup, Johan Cruyff, Luis Figo, Dennis Bergkamp and Eric Cantona to name a few. Some never even get the chance to compete, with Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale notable examples.
The pressure is certainly on the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez to achieve this feat, so that their place among the greats can be truly distinguished.
So, as we sit less than a month away from the opening game on June 12, here are some of the best players in recent times who have failed to make the cut for their country this summer.
Diego Lopez (Spain)
Real Madrid’s number one keeper for La Liga games over the past few seasons is overlooked by Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque. Lopez’s Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas is likely to Captain the team, while Napoli’s Pepe Reina and Manchester United’s David De Gea fill the remaining goalkeeper slots.
Eric Abidal (France)
As just one of Didier Deschamps high-profile droppings from the France squad, Eric Abidal did not make the cut to add to his 67 international caps. The Monaco captain played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups for his country, but has been left out this time around.
John Terry (England)
Having retired from international duty last year, Chelsea captain John Terry has proven he is still more than capable of holding the fort at the top level. Terry has just earned himself a one-year contract extension with Chelsea, but failed to change Roy Hodgson’s mind regarding a recall.
Fabricio Coloccini (Argentina)
Coloccini featured in the 2006 World Cup for Argentina, and has won silverware with the nation at the 2004 Olympic games. The Newcastle defender featured in their game over Paraguay last year, which sealed Argentina’s qualification for the tournament. Manager Alejandro Sabella has overlooked Coloccini for the finals.
Gael Clichy (France)
In Didier Deschamps second most high-profile axing from the French squad, Manchester City full-back Gael Clichy does not make the cut. Capped 20 times by France during his career, Clichy looks to have missed out at the expense of Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra.
The key to Brazil’s creativity for so many years, Kaka did not even make the hosts preliminary squad. The AC Milan man has appeared 87 times for his country, and was bidding to make it to a fourth World Cup with Brazil, after featuring in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 finals.
Samir Nasri (France)
Premier League title winner Samir Nasri is the biggest omission from Didier Deschamps France squad. Having missed out in France’s disastrous 2010 World Cup, Nasri went on to be selected for the European Championships in 2012, scoring in a group-stage match against England. But his 11 goals on route to helping Manchester City to two trophies this season was not enough for Nasri to appear in Brazil.
Robinho was left out entirely of Luiz Felipe Scolari's 23-man selection, despite being called up by Brazil just last year. The AC Milan forward has made 92 appearances for his country, scoring 27 goals along the way. But at 30 years of age, it seems he won’t be adding to his two World Cup showings.
Real Madrid’s 22-year-old playmaker Isco will not make the finals in Brazil, after Vincente Del Bosque overlooked his talents. The likes of Andreas Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Juan Mata are just a few names who have pipped him to selection, though age is certainly on Isco’s side for future tournaments.
Carlos Tevez (Argentina)
Despite 19 goals in Serie A for Juventus this season, Carlos Tevez has fallen short of selection for Argentina. Having played in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup’s, the former Manchester United and Manchester City striker was overlooked in the attacking department in favour of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonazlo Higuain, Franco Di Santo, Rodrigo Palacio and Ezequiel Lavezzi. That’s some competition.
Erik Lamela (Argentina)
Last, and probably with the least chance of all the World Cup exiles this season, is Tottenham’s expensive summer transfer Erik Lamela. The Argentine has made just nine appearances for Spurs this season, in what has been a campaign blighted by lack of game time for the forward. Lamela probably never even entered the thinking of Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella, with the likes of Messi, Aguero and Higuain providing competition for his place.