Playing at the FIFA World Cup is arguably the pinnacle of any footballer’s career. The global spectacle has showcased some of the greatest talents ever to kick the round leather ball competing for their respective International countries. Some famous soccer players, however, have missed out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Despite their immense talents, here are 5 Footballers who never played at the World Cup.
1. George Weah – Liberia
The famous soccer legend and President of the Republic of Liberia has never played at the World Cup despite all his accomplishments in club football. The 1995 winner Ballon d’Or was unable to inspire the Liberian football national team to qualify for the World Cup despite his best efforts. The closest Weah came to qualifying for the World Cup was during the qualifiers for the 2002 Japan/South Korea World Cup. Despite giving favorites, Nigeria a run for their, money the Lone Stars couldn’t sustain the momentum. Finishing an agonizingly close second to the Super Eagles, who finished top of their group to grab the only World Cup qualifying spot.
2. Eric Cantona – France
Surprisingly the Manchester United legend never represented France at the FIFA World Cup. In spite of his standing in the game, the enigmatic Frenchman was unable to wear the famous Les Bleus jersey at the global Mundial. Reasons ranging from falling out with national team coaches to failure to qualify for the World Cup prevented Cantona from featuring at the World Cup in the 90s. Ultimately the emergence of French legend Zinedine Zidane, foreclosed the hope of Eric featuring again for the French national team.
3. George Best – Northern Ireland
Ironically this is another George on the list. Known for his on-field brilliance and off-field notoriety, Best was regarded as one of the best players (no pun intended) of his generation. Despite winning many laurels in the 1960s, especially with Manchester United, Best couldn’t help his country Northern Ireland qualify for the World Cup. The closest George got to qualifying was a losing effort against Albania in the 1966 World Cup qualifiers.
4. Jari Litmanen – Finland
The ex-Finland and Ajax Amsterdam forward was one of the greatest players during the 1990s. Despite winning trophies galore with Dutch side Ajax, Litmanen couldn’t just help his country qualify for the World Cup. He came close during the France 1998 World Cup qualifiers finishing third in their group behind Norway and Hungary.
5. Abedi Pele – Ghana
The Ghanaian soccer legend also never played at the World Cup. The 1993 UEFA Champions League winner, try as he might, couldn’t help the Black Stars qualify for the World Cup during various qualifying campaigns in the 90s, failing to qualify for the 1994 and 1998 World Cups. He played for numerous top European clubs, but he made his name in the French Ligue 1 with Lille and Marseille. Abedi Pele won the UEFA Champions League with Marseille in 1993.
- Matt Le Tissier – England
- David Ginola – France
- Bernd Schuster – Germany
- Kalusha Bwalya – Zambia
- Laszlo Kubala – Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Spain
- Alfredo Di Stefano – Spain, Argentina, Colombia.