FIFA’s 2018 World Cup has come with plenty of surprises so far, and the tournament hasn’t even started. With big names such as America and Italy absent from the roster, there are also talented players who got cut from the competition this year. Whether it was due to their national team not qualifying, disagreement with management or injury, here’s a crop of players who will certainly be missed in this year’s cup.
Leroy Sane (Germany): Sane served as a winger for Manchester City and was a vital player for the team. Additionally, he was voted the Premier League’s youngest player of the year after he racked up 14 goals and 19 assists. In spite of this, Germany manager, Joachim Low didn’t yet think Sane was ready for the national team. There’s speculation over whether or not that’s the real reason Sane didn’t qualify. It’s possible Low just isn’t a fan of the 22-year-old.
Marcus Alonso (Spain): The 27-year-old had an excellent 2016/2017 season with Chelsea when the team secured 30 wins and only five losses. However, their last season wasn’t so hot which might explain why Alonso fell off the radar for the Spanish National Team.
Aymeric Laporte (France): As the center back for Manchester City, Laporte along with his teammates had an astounding overall season, and finished with a well-deserved Premier League trophy. French coach, Didier Deschamps must not have been up-to-date on the news because he refused Laporte a spot on the national team.
Radja Nainggolan (Belgium): The Roma center midfielder largely contributed to the club progressing to the Champions League semi-final. Belgium National Team coach, Roberto Martinez apparently didn’t notice because he rejected Nainggolan. Martinez claims it was for “tactical” reasons. As a response, Nainggolan called it quits and retired from international football.
Cesc Fàbregas (Spain): Fàbregas was a powerhouse a couple of years ago, but the 31-year-old’s level of play has slightly declined since then. The Chelsea midfielder hasn’t delivered the way he used to which is unfortunate because he used to be one of the top picks.
Mario Gotze (Germany): The Borussia Dortmund midfielder had an okay season which could explain his failure to make the German National Team. It’s just odd because Gotze was the one who scored Germany’s extra-time goal against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final. Goes to show that a lot can change in four years.
Anthony Martial (France): It can be argued the Manchester United forward received the short end of the stick this past season. United manager Jose Mourinho failed to play the 22-year old consistently, therefore Martial only saw 18 games. He still was able to procure 9 goals impressively enough. Regardless, his partial presence for the club led to his complete absence from the French squad.
Gareth Bale (Wales): Unfortunately the Real Madrid star was unable to carry Wales to Russia. It’s a shame because Bale had one of his best performances this past season, specifically during the Real vs. Liverpool Champions League final. Hopefully, the winger will get a shot in 2020.
Virgil Van Dijk (Holland): The statement, “It’s me, not you” definitely doesn’t apply here. Van Dijk has enhanced Liverpool’s backline tenfold since joining as a center back. It would have been a pleasure to watch him in this year’s cup, but sadly, Holland didn’t make it to Russia. This is the second major international tournament in a row that the team has missed.
David Alaba (Austria): The 25-year-old is undoubtedly Austria’s best player and possibly one of the best-left backs in all of soccer. You won’t be seeing him play for the Austrian National Team though because the country didn’t even come close to qualifying. Don’t worry though. You can still watch him play for his club team, Bayern Munich.