2018 World Cup: Top 10 Greatest Players Who Never Played In A World Cup Final

2018 World Cup: Top 10 Greatest Players Who Never Played In A World Cup Final

 Many of the players who’ve missed out on Russia 2018 will have another chance in four years.

However, many great players from the past never got a chance to play on the biggest international stage.

Here is list of the top 10 great players who never played in a World Cup Final.

#10 Ian Rush and #9 Ryan Giggs – Both club legends at Liverpool and Manchester United but neither ever made it to the World Cup Final although there were occasions when Wales came close.

#8 Liam Brady – For Brady, it was close but no cigar when the Republic of Ireland qualified for Italia 90. Brady had made his debut for Ireland in 1974 while with Arsenal. He won 72 caps for his country but retired from international play midway through 1990 World Cup qualifying play.

Once Ireland qualified he had a change of heart but manager Jack Charlton was not of the same mind and refused to pick Brady.

Watch: Uruguay v Argentina – The Final – 1930 FIFA World Cup Uruguay

The first FIFA World Cup™ was one of a kind. Taking place wholly in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, the sport’s inaugural showpiece was rich in details that might bemuse the modern football fan: four teams arriving together on the same boat, an unfinished stadium, even a one-armed goalscorer in the Final. Yet it ended with a familiar outpouring of joy as the whole of Uruguay took a public holiday after La Celeste became the first world champions by defeating neighbours Argentina 4-2.

As it turned out he played his last ever game just weeks before the big event in the colors of West Ham. The irony of missing out on an Italian World Cup could not have escaped the elegant midfielder who played seven seasons in Serie A that included spells with Juventus, Sampdoria, and Inter.

#7 Bernd Schuster – A player good enough to grace the starting line up of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid but he never made it to the World Cup Final albeit on account of his stubbornness.

Schuster was a soccer protégé who made his debut for West Germany in 1979 aged just 20. The following year he was part of the team that won Euro 1980 and he was awarded the Silver Ball as the second best player at the tournament.

However, Schuster international career was limited to just 24 caps after heated disagreements with German coach Jupp Derwall, his teammates and authority in general.

He retired from playing in 1997 and missed the opportunity to play in 1986 (West Germany runner-up), and 1990 (winner) while he was very much in his prime.

How good was Schuster? Take a look at this video. The touch, the balance, his striking of the ball, the surging and powerful runs from midfield he was a rare talent.

#6 Eric Cantona – Cantona on the park had exquisite timing but the same cannot be said for the three opportunities he had to play at the World Cup Final.

Cantona got himself banned from playing for France during qualifying for Italy 1990 after insulting France’s Coach, Henri Michel – I believe “bag of shit” was the term Monsieur Cantona used.

As it turned out France failed to qualify anyway but perhaps with Cantona in the line-up Scotland might not have pipped France to the runners-up spot.

Cantona returned for the 1994 qualifying campaign and with two home games remaining, France just needed a single point to book tickets for the USA.

France stumbled and lost to Israel leaving Bulgaria needing to win in Paris in order to beat out France.

Cantona scored to put France ahead although Bulgaria did equalize before half-time. With only seconds remaining David Ginola gave away possession and it led to Bulgaria scoring the winning goal.

Of course, France would win the World Cup in 1998 but Cantona, still only 31, had retired in 1997.

#5 – Abedi Pele – He never made it to the big-stage but his son Andre (Ayew) did in 2010 and he was joined by his brother, Jordan, at Brazil 2014. Abedi Pele won the African Cup of Nations with Ghana in 1982 and the Champions League with Marseille in 1993.

#4 – Laszlo Kubala – Such was his skill and drawing power the 60,000 capacity Camp de Les Corts could not keep up with the demand and so Barcelona built the Camp Nou.

Reputed to be the player who pioneered bending the ball around or over the wall, Kubala represented Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Spain but never made played a minute at a World Cup Final.

He escaped from Hungary just as the great side of the late 40s and early 50s was beginning to flower and headed for Spain.

He signed for Barcelona and under the regulations in place at the time he was able to turn out for Spain. He is the only person to have represented three different countries and is likely to remain so.

He would manage Spain at the 1978 World Cup Final in Argentina.

#3 – George Weah – World Player of the Year in 1995, winner of numerous trophies and now President of Liberia.

But his prodigious talent could not get Liberia anywhere close to a place in the World Cup Final.

#2 – George Best – Northern Ireland made it to the World Cup in 1958 and again in 1982. During many of the intervening years, they had George Best but even the Best was not enough.

By the time Spain 1982 came around George was 36 and he had long before lost out to alcohol. He was very much a circus act by the eighties – arriving, playing a game or two, cashing a cheque and then off to the next stop.

Northern Ireland Manager Billy Bingham was said to have considered Best for selection in 1982 but if he had picked Best it would have been a major shock given his condition.

#1 – Alfredo Di Stefano – Kubala came from the east and Di Stefano from the west. Just as Kubala built the foundations on which the present day Barcelona is built, so Di Stefano did the same at Real Madrid.

The “Blond Arrow” missed out on the 1950 and 1954 World Cup Finals when Argentina refused to participate. Di Stefano then turned to Spain but Scotland won Group 9 and closed the door on his chance to play in Sweden in 1958.

In 1962 he was named in Spain’s squad for Chile but he was injured and was unable to play and Spain finished bottom of group 3. If there was any consolation it was that the two qualifiers, Brazil and Czechoslovakia made it all the way to the final match.

Is there a player you think I have missed? Let me know in a tweet and include @BobbySoccerRep.

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