Circumstances keep some of the world’s greatest players from being part of the World Cup. These are the 10 best players that never played at the World Cup.
10. Valentino Mazzola – Italy
Mazzola was one of the best footballers of his time. He won four league titles with Torino but died in a plane crash away from Lisbon.
9. Duncan Edwards – England
Duncan Edwards was tipped to take England to the World Cup during his career but was among the eight players that died in the Munich air disaster. Former England manager ‘Terry Venables’ said it would have been Edwards, not Bobby Moore, who would have captained England in the 1966 World Cup.
8. Abedi Pele – Ghana
Abedi Pele was named African Footballer of the Year twice. He won four league titles with Marseille and one European Champions Cup in 1993. Abedi Pele won the African Nations Cup in 1982 but he never played at the World Cup.
7. Bernd Schuster – Germany
Bernd Schuster won the European Championships in 1980 with Germany but retired at international level at 24 years after disagreements with the German Football Association. He would have been influential in the German team at the World Cup during his playing days.
6. Ian Rush – Wales
Ian Rush scored 229 goals for Liverpool and won five league titles, three FA Cups and two Europeans Champions’ Cup. Rush never featured in a major tournament, the closest he came was the 1982 World Cup when Wales was eliminated by goal difference.
5. Eric Cantona – France
France was unable to qualify for both 1990 and 1994 World Cup. Cantona won four league titles with Manchester United. His constant fall outs with French National Team and their failure to qualify for 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals denied him to be at the World Cup.
4. George Weah – Liberia
George Weah is the only FIFA World player of the year who failed to qualify for the World Cup in his career. George Weah’s Liberian team missed out of the 2002 World Cup by one point in the qualifiers.
3. Ryan Giggs – Wales
Ryan Giggs was the Wales Captain but Wales have only qualified for 1958 World Cup in the history of the country. Giggs is the most decorated player in the English League with 11 league titles, four FA Cups, and two Champions League titles.
2. George Best – Northern Ireland
Many believed he’s the best player never to play at the World Cup Finals. He won two league titles with Manchester United and the 1968 European Champions Cup in addition to the 1967 European Footballer of the year award. Best was considered to be at the 1982 World Cup but was not in form again at 36.
1. Alfredo Di Stefano – Argentina/Spain/Colombia
Di Stefano won 8 league titles, five European Cups with Real Madrid and two European Footballer of the Year awards. Di Stefano scored 220 goals in 282 matches for Real Madrid and was four times Spanish Player of the year. Despite playing for three countries he was unfortunate to miss the World Cup. Maradona said he was the best.