Every soccer player dreams of displaying their skills at the highest level of the sport where all eyes are on them. World Cup is the perfect opportunity for this.
This World Cup has proven to be a nightmare for many players as they miss the World Cup due to injuries or weren’t chosen for their country, but can you believe some players had illustrious careers but couldn’t get their hands on the all-elusive World Cup trophy?
Here are some of the greatest soccer players who haven’t won a World Cup
Neymar is perhaps the most famous soccer player in Brazil at the moment. Brazil is a superpower in the sport. While previous Brazilian superstars like Ronaldinho, Ronaldo Nazario, and Kaka have won the World Cup, Neymar is yet to lift the cup. He has played in three worlds so far. On his first campaign with his national country, Brazil was knocked out in the semi-final.
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Germany beat them in their home country, 7-1. But Neymar did not play in the match as he suffered an injury earlier in the tournament. In 2018, Brazil was once again knocked out early in the tournament, as Belgium knocked them out in the quarter-finals, 2-1. In the recently concluded FIFA World Cup 2022, Brazil lost to Croatia in the quarter-finals via penalties.
Having cemented himself as one of the biggest athletes this century has seen. Cristiano dos Santos Aveiro is regarded to be one of the greatest talents to come out of Portugal and has been compared to the likes of Eusebio.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 28, 2022
Just like Eusebio, Ronaldo’s trophy cabinet is filled having won every major trophy in England, Spain, and Italy, he’s been eyeing the trophy for a long time.
Having won the Euro 2016 and Nations league in 2019 with Portugal, Ronaldo was looking to complete his collection in what could be his final World Cup for the Selecao. That dream was ultimately crushed in Qatar after Portugal lost to Morocco in the quarterfinals.
After revolutionizing the game of soccer from his performances not only on-field as a player but also off-field as a manager. His contribution to the sport is undoubtedly his biggest legacy. Cruyff was the mind behind what we call today as Modern Football.
— TV Football 1968-92 (@1968Tv) February 15, 2020
He introduced the world to “Cruyff turn” at the 1974 World Cup having scored 33 goals in 48 games, Netherlands never lost once when he scored.
But this wasn’t enough for the Dutchman as he reached the 1974 World Cup final but couldn’t put the nail in the coffin as West Germany kept Cruyff quiet and won the match 2-1.
After helping Real Madrid to 5 consecutive European championships and scoring 514 club career goals in 530 matches, Puskas was regarded as the best striker of Hungary’s golden era.
Some of the most Iconic World Cup’s and Their Player of the Tournament [A Thread]
1.Ferenc Puskás 🇭🇺 (1954) pic.twitter.com/ZuG7puiVAs
— 8️⃣-) (@tejasrmcf) November 20, 2022
Having scored 84 goals in 85 caps alongside Sandor Kocsis. Hungary came into the 1954 World Cup unbeaten, having won their last 32 games.
Puskas spearhead his country into the 1954 World Cup final where they faced West Germany. Puskas scored the game’s first goal but couldn’t see it through as West Germany won 3-2.
Miroslav Klose holds the record for most goals scored by an individual at the World Cup with the German having scored 16 goals throughout four World Cups while Eusebio scored 9 in just one competition.
He scored 41 goals for Portugal out of the 733 goals he’s scored in 745 games. Portugal reached the 1966 World Cup semi-finals.
Eusebio had scored 8 goals up until the semi-finals with four of them coming against North Korea. Portugal met England in the semi-finals but found themselves 2 goals down. Even with his 9th goal of the Campaign, Eusebio left the pitch in tears.
Paolo Maldini is widely regarded as one of the best left-backs soccer has ever seen. The Italian’s presence of mind and sharp skills allowed him to play at the highest level for more than 24 years.
Maldini played in over 900 games for AC Milan and managed to win it all. He won 26 trophies with the Rossoneri that includes 7 Serie A, 5 champions league, 5 Italian Super Cups, 5 European super cups, and the Club World Cup but he couldn’t get his hands on the actual one.
Paolo Maldini’s longevity at the top was just ridiculous.. 😯 pic.twitter.com/6d8ZctBa9U
— KYSTAR (@KYSTAR) November 11, 2022
The Italian played in four World Cups with all of them ending in disappointment for the AC Milan captain. The closest he came to winning the World Cup was back in 1994 when Italy was eliminated by Brazil on penalty shootouts.
Even though his career may have taken a great hit due to the ongoing investigation of Qatar getting to host the World Cup. Platini was no short of a phenom as the Frenchman won 3 ballons d’Or back to back and led Juventus to 2 Serie A, 1 Italian cup, 1 European Cup 1 intercontinental cup, etc.
Platini found international glory with France as he won the European championship with them in 1984. He scored 41 goals in 72 games for them and remains the 4th highest goal scorer for Le blues but couldn’t win the World Cup for them as Le blues managed to reach the semi-finals in 1982 and 1986.
A hot-headed, tantrum-throwing German goalkeeper who at his peak won 8 Bundesliga titles and one champions league during his 14 years at Bayern Munich.
He also found international success with Germany winning the 1996 European Championship but he could never recreate his success at the World Cup.
🇩🇪 The only goalkeeper to win the adidas Golden Ball at a #WorldCup 💪
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 15, 2019
The German featured in the 2002 and 2006 tournaments which ended in disarray as he gifted Brazil an opening goal in 2002, but remains the only goalkeeper in the history of soccer to win a Golden ball.
Players like George Best, Alfredo Di Stefano, George Weah, Eric Cantona, and many more, never even got to play in the World Cup.