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Undoubtedly FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world. As soccer is the most watched sporting event on earth, billions of people watch the FIFA World Cup Final. On the other hand, the NFL Superbowl pales in comparison with not more than 100 million viewer worldwide.
Football is the elite of all popular sports in the world. So the crowd here can be considered as the cream of the crop. Famous players, who are usually seen playing with the Europe giant clubs like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, AC Milan, Manchester United come together once every four year. On the same footballing event they dazzle the world with their spectacle of skills.
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Regrettably some stars do not make it. Of course not because they were not good enough. Even considering soccer superstars who never played in a world cup, we are not even pointing to those who couldn’t play due to injury. The most interesting fact is some of them are before such tournament started. And obviously, some of the soccer superstars’ national team were not good enough that they could participate the most spectacular competition in the World.
Top 5 Soccer Superstars Who never played in a World Cup:
Here we are trying to rank those unfortunate soccer superstars, who achieved everything except the glory of winning or even participating in a World Cup.
5. George Best – Northern Ireland
Played For: Manchester United
George Best is another Word for soccer tragedy, in fact tragic story. Definitely he was the footballer of unfulfilled potential. George Best was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. At the age of just 15, Best was scouted for the English giant club Manchester United. He was the regular soccer superstar to dazzle the public at Old Trafford with his amazing displays of technical skills. George is best known for his charisma and easy going manner. No surprise, he became one of the first known celebrity footballers for the Manchester United club in world soccer history.
But there was a problematic issue with his increasing extravagant lifestyle, which in turn led him to several alcoholism health issue. Northern Ireland qualified for the 1982 World Cup final round. But Best was unfortunate enough that his good years were left behind. Even for a 36 year old George, we can say that the toll the drinking had taken away the FIFA World Cup opportunity from Best and also from the public, who could watch the amazing part of soccer history. The Manchester United display couldn’t take place in the World’s most watched sporting event.
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4. Jari Litmanen – Finland
Played For: Ajax FC, Liverpool and Barcelona
Another great player who had the silky touch of an artist but never played in a world cup. The soccer superstar could execute almost every possibilities with the ball at his feet. The legendary playmaker, Jari Litmanen was born in Finland and played as a regular striker for the famous club Ajax FC. Quite unfortunate he was, as his national team attained much more success in Ice Hockey than in soccer.
Jari Litmanen came of age in the 1990’s playing for such illustrious European giant teams. He almost achieved the pinnacle of success with such clubs, except for his National Team. Finland was not quite a part of the then elite Europe soccer community.
Despite producing such great talents like Litmanen and Sami Hyppia (all time Liverpool legend), Finland could never get past the qualifying stage for the FIFA World Cup. And sadly, the footballing world kept deprived of watching the soccer superstar play with grace and artistry in the greatest soccer competition.
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3. Ryan Giggs – Wales
Played For: Manchester United
Most probably Ryan Giggs is saddest example of a player with such caliber and never playing in a Football World Cup. In fact we can say the World Cup is misfortunate enough to miss a soccer superstar like Ryan Giggs. Born in Wales, Ryan Giggs started his professional soccer career under the tutelage of the legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in 1990.
Giggs was instrumental throughout that decade in winning title after title for Manchester United. Yes, he got his right companion, another great of the 90’s – David Beckham, the Neville brothers, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes. With all those achievements keeping in pocket, the glory of playing in a World Cup did elude him more often. Of course, it would be real difficult for a small team like Wales to win the aristocrat tournament, but qualifying would definitely be an honor for him.
Undoubtedly the World Football event world would have seen magic performed by the midfield maestro. That’s what Giggs was practically. His smooth and calm approach would have left spectators wondering. It was quite a dream for any manager to have a soccer superstar like Ryan Giggs in his team and still he never played in a World Cup tournament.
2. Frédéric Kanouté – Mali
Played For: Sevilla FC, Beijing Guoan (current team)
Frederic Kanoute is an underrated player that was one of the unfortunate ones that didn’t get the chance to shine in a World Cup tournament. Many can comment this an odd choice, but I still believe him as one of the soccer superstars for the top five selection who never played in a World Cup. Kanoute actually made a name for himself in various European leagues. Teams from England, France and Spain.
Finally it was with the famous Spanish Club, that he reached his prime. He achieved the glory of challenging the top two all-time Spanish (in fact European) giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. With his skills and leadership he led Sevilla to UEFA Cup wins in 2006 and 2007. Probably these circumstances cemented his status as local legend.
Unfortunately Kanoute’s national team could never reach his heights. We know, it never made it to the finals of World Cup during Kanoute’s playing days. So, the football world had to miss the amazing soccer star playing in the greatest ground.
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1. George Weah – Liberia
Played For: PSG, AC Milan
The absence of a player like George Weah from the FIFA World Cup is truly unforgettable. Undoubtedly Weah is regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time. There are so many greater achievements in his diary like 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year and winning the Ballon d’Or.
George Weah started his youth career playing with the France famous PSG. Soon enough, Weah attracted the attention of one of the most prestigious clubs of that era, A.C. Milan. He played for five years in AC Milan and attained buckets of trophies. Very soon he became one of the best known faces of Italian soccer history.
Unfortunately again, this success did not transfer over to the international arena. His home country Liberia being already wracked with Civil War, he couldn’t take part in the greatest show on earth. Liberia along the soccer superstar failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. Unbelievable but truth is, George Weah never played in a FIFA World Cup tournament.
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