One of the greatest moments for a player is being selected to play for their country.
To score for your country is a dream come true, but to win a World Cup with your country? Well, can anything be better?
Unfortunately some of the greatest players ever to slip on a pair of studs and shinpads will never know how it feels to lift a World Cup.
We have a look at some of the best players never to have won a World Cup.
Luis Figo – Portugal
Luis Figo has won pretty much everything he could have won. He has trophies left, right and centre. La Liga, Serie A, Portuguese Cup and a Ballon d’Or, but he has never won a World Cup. In fact, he’s never won a senior major trophy with Portugal. It’s not even like he had a poor team around him, he had Deco, Postiga, Rui Costa and C. Ronaldo. They just couldn’t crack a World Cup. The highest place he could manage was 4th at the 2006 World Cup.
Eric Cantona – France
One of the Premier League’s most famous, controversial and talented players ever. Eric Cantona is a recognisable name wherever you are in the world, unless, of course, you’re looking at a list of World Cup winners. (Sorry Eric). In fact, Cantona didn’t get to play in a World Cup after fallings out with managers, not surprising for Cantona, and poor French performances meant missing out on qualification. It may well be a case of just rotten luck that Cantona didn’t get to show his skills at a World Cup. He did, however, win a beach soccer World Cup in 2005 with France. Every cloud and all that.
Alfredo Di Stefano – Argentina, Colombia & Spain
“Argentina, Colombia AND Spain?” I hear you cry!
Yes, Real Madrid legend, Di Stefano did play for all three. He was born in Argentina, played just 4 games for Colombia and then received his Spanish Citizenship and so played for Spain. He only played 6 games for Argentina, however, he scored in all 6 and helped them win the South American Championship. Despite playing for 3 separate countries, Di Stefano never got the chance to play in a World Cup. Spain did qualify for the 1962 World Cup however an injury meant he had to miss the tournament. He retired from international football shortly afterwards.
Johan Cruyff – The Netherlands
One of the greatest players of all time, architect of ‘Total Football’, Three time Ballon d’Or winner and creator of the Cruyff turn which is still used in playgrounds and stadiums all over the world. Yet despite this, Cruyff never won a World Cup. He led The Netherlands to a runner up place in the 1974 World Cup where he was named Player of the Tournament but he couldn’t quite get his hands on the World Cup. Still, his visions and theories have paved the way for modern football at both national and international level. Despite just missing out on a World Cup, Cruyff is still one of the best and most influential players ever to step on a football pitch.
Messi & Ronaldo – Argentina . Portugal
Yes yes it’s not one player it’s two, and yes, there is still time for them to win it. But still, these are two of the greatest players ever, yet they still haven’t won a World Cup. Messi has come closest, losing out to Germany in the 2014 World Cup Final. Ronaldo has only managed 4th with his Portugal team, over 10 years ago.
There is still plenty of time for either player, or both, to win a World Cup. The only problem for them would be finding a place to put another trophy!
Sometimes it’s a case of wrong place wrong time, sometimes it can be a shining star in a struggling team, Giggs, Best, Weah etc, and sometimes it’s just bad luck that stops a player lifting the World Cup.
These are some of the greatest players ever, it’s just a shame we haven’t seen any of them lift a World Cup…. yet. Over to you Lionel and Cristiano.