With Cristiano Ronaldo’s world cup dreams hanging by a thread, we challenged football fan, Ayyaz Malik to list his greatest eleven players to never win football’s ultimate prize…
The football World cup is the pinnacle of a footballer’s career. It’s also the time that new stars are unearthed. One thing you would associate with the World cup is World class players. Usually, the best players enjoy success on the International stage – France’s Zinedine Zidane or Italy’s Andrea Pirlo are prime examples of that.
Unfortunately, not every player is as lucky. Here at Eevee Life, we decided to take a look at some of the greatest eleven players never to have enjoyed success on the world biggest stage.
1. Peter Schemichel ( Denmark Goalkeeper)
The great Dane enjoyed a tremedous amount of success at club level – winning the historic treble success of 1999 and bagging several domestic league titles and a few FA cups along the way. However, the fact that there is no world cup medal in Schemichel’s trophy cabinet will be one of the biggest tragedies in world football.
The ex Man United stopper did enjoy Euro 92 success with his native Denmark, but for someone of Peter Schemichel’s class, he probably deserve more.
2. Ashley cole (England Left-Back)
The Englishmen will probably be remembered for his antics off the field rather than on it, but one thing that never could be doubted was Cole’s talent. The Londoner has won all the domestic titles available, not to mention a champions league medal and Europa league medal as well.
With 100+ caps for England, the 32 year old was also very reliable when called upon by his country. Sadly for the footballing world, we don’t see Ashley Cole adding to his England appearances – which is a shame because there are not many left backs in the last 10 years who have been better than the former Arsenal man.
3. Paolo Maldini (Italy Centre-Back)
The AC Milan club legend, enjoyed a glittering club career. The 41 year old won 7 Serie A titles and 5 champions league titles – just to name a few. Unfortunately, he didn’t win a major honour with his native Italy. The former Milan centre-back did come close though (a USA 1994 Runner-up with Italy). Even so, history will always say that that Paolo Maldini (one of the greatest centre backs to have played the game) never won the world cup.
4. Fernando Hierro (Spain Centre Back)
The former Real Madrid defender, like his team mate Raul (who also appears in this list) was a member of a ‘golden generation’ of Spanish stars never to have won the world cup. Despite winning many individual honours (best defender in the Champion’s League during the 1997-1998 season) and winning many domestic and Champion’s League trophies with Real Madrid, it’s with great sadness to the footballing world that this Spanish legend won’t go down in history as a World Cup winner.
5. Javier Zannetti (Argentina Right-back)
The Argentine was one of the best right backs on the continent. Although not initially a right-back, his versatility and fantastic work ethic made him very effective in that position. Zannetti earned the nickname of ‘the tractor’ due to his resilience and stamina.
The former Inter Milan utility player won many honours for Inter, including the 2010 champions league final along with 5 Serie A titles and 4 Coppa Italia titles.
On the International scene, Javier Zannetti is the most capped player in Argentina’s history. What would have been a fitting tribute to this legend was a world cup medal, sadly it wasn’t meant to be.
6. David Beckham (England Right-Wing)
At number 6 (and to the surprise of some), I have selected the former England captain. The Former Manchester United man enjoyed success at all the clubs he went to. With brilliant passing and crossing ability, and a very good free-kick, Beckham was one of the best right wingers of his generation.
The former Real Madrid man was also England’s most capped player, and it’s one of the biggest injustices that a talent like Beckham wasn’t able to shine on the world stage.
7. Roberto Baggio ( Italy attacking-midfielder )
Baggio will always be remembered for skying his penalty over the bar in the 1994 final against Brazil – which is hugely unfair to the man. The former Milan and Inter midfielder enjoyed success domestically winning 2 Serie A titles, a coppa Italia and a UEFA cup.
Even that for a player of Bagggio’s quality is a injustice. The former Juventus star did come very close to winning the world cup with his native Italy, but unfortunately it proved so close yet so far for the 47 year old. With 27 goals in 56 games, Roberto Baggio is definitely on the list of one the greatest players to never win the world cup.
8. Johan Cryuff ( Holland attacking-midfielder)
The three time ballon d’or winner was part of the Holland team in 1974 who were seen as the ambassadors of the ‘total football’ philosophy. Cruyff enjoyed success where ever he went. At Ajax he won 8 Dutch titles and three European cups, but it’s on the International scene where Johan Cruyff (who was seen as one of the best players of his generation ) missed out, although he did come close twice (1974 and 1978).
Such a shame for one of football’s greatest talents.
9. Luis Figo ( Portugal left-wing)
Figo, at the time, was one of the best players in Portuguese history. The 41 year old enjoyed an unprecedented amount of success, winning titles where ever he went.
Whilst he remains one of the most capped players in Portugal’s history (127 caps) for a player with Figo’s stature, it’s a travesty that he wasn’t able to earn some honours on the world stage.
10. Raul ( Spain Striker)
Former Real Madrid striker, Raul Gonzales, was, in his day, one of the most feared strikers in European and world football. The former Schalke man is the leading scorer in the history of UEFA tournaments, and he has won everything under the sun in domestic football.
However, it’s on the International scene that the 36 year old has not been able to achieve to his full potential – despite the quality of Spanish sides that were being produced in that era.
11. Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina striker)
Known as Batigol and the emperor, Gabriel Batistuta was one of the best Argentine footballers to have played the game. The 45 year old scored goals for whichever club he played for.
Unfortunately, just like the other players on the list, it’s Internationally where the 45 year old has not had the success he deserves.
So there you have it, some examples of the greatest players to have missed out football’s ultimate trophy. Cheer up, Ronaldo – you’re not the only one, mate.