The FIFA World Cup is the biggest stage for the best footballers on the planet as they fight for glory. However, a few top players are not at this year’s edition due to various reasons. Here are 5 such superstars who will not be thrilling the world in Russia.

The FIFA World Cup 2018 is upon us. After an arduous qualifying process, 32 teams are set to battle it out in Russia to be crowned World Champions. Now, during qualification, there were a few World Cup regulars who missed out on a spot. Also, a few of the recent top teams failed to make the grade as well.

Now, these top teams are blessed with superstars without whom the World Cup is definitely poorer. Further, there are a few top players who are missing the tournament owing to unfortunate injuries. Either way, these players are bound to be missed and let’s take a look at the top 5 who are stuck in their homes away from Russia.

Note – We pick only one player from any country.

  • Gianluigi Buffon, Italy

The tears on the veteran goalkeeper’s face after the loss to Sweden in the playoffs are still fresh in every footballing fan’s memory. One of the most successful teams in the tournament with four titles, Italy finished second in their qualifying group behind Spain and were knocked out in the playoffs.

This led to Buffon, World Cup winner with the Azzurri back in 2006, missing out on the chance to become the only player to take part in six World Cups. The 40-year old was a serial winner with Juventus and along with his international team-mates, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, are some of the greatest defensive players ever who are set to miss the World Cup.

  • Arjen Robben, the Netherlands

Those two missed chances against Spain in the 2010 World Cup final and blitzing the same opponents with sheer pace in the 2014 edition are enough to highlight the Dutchman’s impact on the grandest stage of them all. The devastating winger is one of the best players of his generation and currently plays for German heavyweights Bayern Munich.

In fact, the Netherlands is one of the top European teams, having reached the final in 2010 and the semi-finals in 2014. Thus, the Oranje are a huge miss this time around and no Dutch player will be missed more than Robben. The 34-year old has played his last World Cup as he announced his international retirement recently and the biggest footballing stage will never witness the wing wizard again.

  • Alexis Sanchez, Chile

Chile’s all-time leading goalscorer, Alexis Sanchez, is generally regarded as one of the best attackers of this decade.  The 29-year old led the South American nation to back-to-back Copa America wins in 2015 and 2016, beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina on penalties both times. Those titles were the first ones for the nation, cementing the Manchester United man’s status as a legend in his country.

However, his side struggled in the World Cup qualification and was knocked out of the tournament in the final round of qualifying against Brazil. The Manchester United no.7 is a talented and hard-working forward who could easily play the next World Cup in Qatar. However, Chile needs to qualify for the tournament first and Sanchez will be the key player the La Roja rely on to make up for this year’s miss.

  • Gareth Bale, Wales

One of the rare British players to actually succeed at Real Madrid, Bale has had a productive few years in Spain winning the coveted Champions League a whopping four times. The Welshman is considered to be one of the best in his wide forward position with his pace and skill particularly standing out.

Bale spearheaded his nation’s challenge to reach their first-ever Euros in 2016 and is also, the leading goalscorer for his country. The 28-year old is the face of Wales’ resurgence in recent years and he will be one of the few top players who is not playing this World Cup.

  • Dani Alves, Brazil

Alves is the only player on this list whose country, Brazil, is at the World Cup. The 35-year old is missing the quadrennial tournament due to injury, a huge loss to the Selecao and the World Cup itself.

The Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) right-back is one of the most successful players in football with 38 trophies over the course of his career so far. Alves won 3 trophies with Brazil and picked a minimum of one at every club starting from Bahia to PSG. Thus, such a decorated player is a genuine loss at the tournament and given his age, Alves may not grace the World Cup again.

These are 5 top footballers whom this World Cup will definitely miss. Do share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Saketh Ayyagari

Loving sports since childhood. Writing about sports in my adulthood. YNWA!

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