The FIFA World Cup is undoubtedly the biggest football tournament on Earth. The tournament occurs every 4 years and is almost celebrated like a festival. Many great footballers have graced the World Cup and gifted us some unforgettable moments and etched their names into the history books.
However, unfortunately, many great footballers have also missed out on the World Cup due to their misfortunes or for belonging from not so strong footballing nation. Here we take a look at them.
Top 5 greatest football players who have never played in the World Cup
5. George Weah
The current President of Liberia is one of the best African footballers of all time. Geroge Weah was a footballing legend and won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995. He played for PSG and AC Milan and also had a short stint at Chelsea.
However, Liberia has failed to qualify for the World Cup in their history till today, so Weah missed out on playing on the big stage.
4. George Best (Northern Ireland)
Geroge Best is one of the best right-wingers of all time. He was a Manchester United great and won the European Cup title in 1968 and two league titles in 1964–65, 1966–67. However, he failed to help his country qualify during his prime playing days.
Northern Ireland did qualify for the World Cup in 1982 and 1986 but Dest had already stopped playing for the national team in 1977.
3. Ryan Giggs (Wales)
Another Manchester United legend missed out on playing in the World Cup. Ryan Giggs is the most decorated player of Manchester United having won 34 trophies during his playing career. However, Wales failed to qualify during his playing days. Now, after 64 years Wales has qualified for the 2022 World Cup.
2. Eric Cantona (France)
This list is filled with former Manchester United players. Another Manchester United great, Eric Cantona has never played in the World Cup despite belonging to such a strong footballing nation, France.
Cantona was the captain of the French team during 1994 but sadly lost to Bulgaria in a must-win game to qualify for the World Cup. 4 years later, France did qualify for the tournament but Cantona missed out due to an injury and France went on to win the World Cup that year under Didier Deschamps.
1. Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain, Argentina and Colombia)
Alfredo Di Stefano is one of the greatest footballers. He played for Spanish giants Real Madrid and he is their third-highest goalscorer only bettered by Raul and Cristiano Ronaldo. He was an integral part of the team which won five consecutive European Cups. Di Stefano scored in each of the five European Cup finals for Real Madrid between 1956 and 1960, including a hat-trick in the last.
Di Stefano played for three different national teams during his career. He played 4 matches for Colombia and scored 6 goals in 6 appearances for Argentina and 23 goals in 31 appearances for Spain. However, sadly he never played in the World Cup which seems to be very unfortunate despite playing for Argentina and Spain.
He did play for Spain in the World Cup qualifying matches in 1957 but unfortunately, Spain missed out on that World Cup after losing to Switzerland. And finally, when the chance of playing in the biggest football tournament arrived in 1962, Di Stefano was ruled out due to an injury which later forced him to retire.