Top 10 Footballers Not in the World Cup The 2022 World Cup is almost upon us. Regardless of what you think about the timing of the tournament or the question of where it is played, if you look at it through a purely sporting lens (as FIFA president Gianni Infantino wants it to be), the next month is likely to bring us the smorgasbord of footballing excellence that we have come to expect from world Cup.
The world’s biggest and brightest stars will do business in Qatar. There will be young and hungry players looking to make their mark on the global stage, such as Serbia’s Dušan Vlahovič. There will be established superstars looking to cement their legacies, such as Kylian Mbappe or Neymar. And of course, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the two gods of the game of the last two decades, will be there to fight for immortality one last time.
But for all that huge amount of talent, there is just as much that won’t be at the tournament. Whether it’s because their country didn’t qualify, they’re not fit, or they just weren’t selected to represent their team on the biggest stage, the group of players who will be missing out on the World Showcase is as good as any group you could put together. from those who will be there.
Which of the biggest names should you not miss? Here’s a sample of the best.
Let’s start with the most in-form footballer in the world.
Erling Haaland (Norway)
Erling Haaland is on a goalscoring pace that few have seen in the sport. In 13 games this year for Manchester City in the Premier League, he scored an incredible 18 goals. That’s good for one every 57.8 minutes. It’s a blistering pace that puts him within touching distance of Mohammed Salah’s record of 32 in a 38-game season – and perhaps even Andy Cole’s record of 34.
which was accomplished in a 42-game season. Add five goals in four Champions League games and the stats become even more staggering.
Haaland is simply a force of nature. He finds every space the defense gives him and can make the kind of adjustments that will make your head spin. He already has three hat tricks this season, including a magical performance in the Manchester Derby in which he bagged two assists for the Hattie.
The 22-year-old may well be the best player in the world right now – but for all his size, he couldn’t get Norway past qualification. While he finished tied for second in his group with five goals, the Norwegians eventually finished third, three points behind Turkey for a playoff spot. That leaves one of the most magical players in the world as a home for the tournament,
Mohammed Salah (Egypt)
Egypt made it through the Africa Cup of Nations to the final against Senegal in February. After 120 minutes without points, the Pharaohs fell in a shootout. Salah probably got the fifth kick, but we’ll never know because Senegal won the trophy before the fifth Egyptian striker took the field. A month later there was a rematch between the two teams in the final round of the CAF qualifiers. After a flat tie over two legs, they went into a shootout again. This time, Salah got his team’s first penalty – and missed. Senegal won again.
Salah has had a mixed season. He has only scored six times in the Premier League this year, but he has also scored seven times in the Champions League group stage. Either way, this is the last World Cup cycle in his prime and he will be sitting at home, which is a real shame for a neutral who could have seen the magic the winger can create.
Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Mike Maignan (France)
Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante were the driving forces behind France’s victory at the 2018 World Cup. Both midfielders will miss the tournament due to injury. Kante has played just two games this year and has not seen the field since August due to a hamstring problem. Pogba, in his eagerness to get to Qatar to help defend the crown, ended up costing himself a shot at the roster. After returning to Juventus as a free agent this summer, he tore his meniscus after the team’s first pre-season game.
After considering his options, he opted for immediate surgery and instead tried a more conservative rehabilitation process. After five weeks, it took both training sessions to find out what one could have told him from the start – the rehab wasn’t working. He immediately went under the knife, but his preparation for the tournament became a race against time. He was never favored to win this race and that became obvious when he picked up a muscle injury while rehabbing a few weeks ago. If he had the surgery right away, he would have a much bigger margin for recovery and might be the only person on this list who is on it because of his own mistakes.
Maignan, on the other hand, spent last season establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe as an integral part of AC Milan’s scudetto-winning side. But he injured his calf during the last international break and has not played since, missing out on the chance to go to Qatar as Hugo Lloris’ understudy – and likely successor.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, Marco Verratti, Federico Chiesa (Italy)
The failure of the reigning European champions to qualify for the World Cup for the second consecutive cycle was perhaps the biggest shock of the entire qualification cycle. That leaves a lot of talented players on the couch this winter, but these three stand out the most.
Donnarumma is just a year away from being named player of the tournament at Euro 2020. The year that followed was more tumultuous. He struggled to find a team to match his demands in free agency and eventually had to split time with Keylor Navas at Paris Saint-Germain. He has been very shaky at times, none more so than in the last 16 of the Champions League when he made a critical error that helped spark Real Madrid’s comeback to the second round and knock out PSG. He may not be quite the Buffon-level goalkeeper some are portraying him to be, but he is as solid a scorer as you can find in the world. His PSG teammate Verratti continues to be one of the most underrated midfielders in the world. He has been in midfield for Parisiens for several years now, justifying their decision to buy him straight from Serie B in 2012. It is incredible to think that he will only play in one World Cup after playing an important role in midfield. Cesare Prandelli’s team in 2014 in Brazil.
Hopefully the same won’t be said of Chiesa when all is said and done. Even if Italy had qualified, the question would be whether or not the Juventus man would be at the tournament. He has just returned from a grueling 10-month rehab after tearing his ACL against Roma in January. Since his return, he has only had three partial appearances to get his feet under him. However, when healthy, he is one of the most dynamic wingers, as he showed in his breakout performance at the Euros. He will be instrumental in Italy’s bid to finally end their World Cup drought in four years in North America.
Fikayo Tomori (England)
We complete our list with the only player left out by the coach’s decision.
Since leaving Chelsea for AC Milan, Tomori has grown into one of the best defenders in Serie A. However, his rise does not appear to have impressed England manager Gareth Southgate, who has refused to call the 24-year-old not just for the World Cup, but almost ever. Tomori has just three caps to his name, while the likes of Harry Maguire and John Stones continue to control playing time at center-back.
The two have 107 caps between them, but whether they deserve more is highly debatable. Maguire’s transfer fee – Manchester United paid more for him than Juventus paid for Matthijs de Light in the same window – has become something of an albatross, while Stones has never lived up to the heights expected of him when he joined Man City and was one of them. the main culprits behind England’s embarrassing 4-0 home defeat to Hungary in the UEFA Nations League this summer.
And yet Southgate insisted in picking his side that England’s younger defenders “didn’t do enough to push the experienced ones out”.
This explanation flatly ignores Tomori’s last three seasons, not to mention the extreme shortcomings of the defenders he selected. If England fails to build on their second-place finish at the Euros with a similarly deep run at this World Cup, that defense will be one of the biggest
Sadio Mane (Senegal)
For many players, the prospect of getting injured in the last game or two before the World Cup break was a nightmare. Unfortunately for Sadio Mane, this nightmare has become a reality.
Mane was forced out of Bayern Munich’s win over Werder Bremen on November 8 with a leg injury. Regardless, he was included in Senegal’s original squad and Senegal initially indicated that their star man would miss the “first games” of the tournament. But another scan has now completely ruled him out of the tournament.
It is a cruel blow for Mane, who has been instrumental to the reigning African champions over the past year. He scored the decisive penalty in both of Senegal’s shootouts against Egypt earlier this year, first winning the AFCON and then sending his country to the World Cup. After winning everything he could at Liverpool, he moved to Bayern this year and has nine goals and four assists in 20 games between the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Without him, Senegal’s attack will take a huge step backward and the world will miss out on seeing one of the best players in Africa – and the world – on the biggest stage.