Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers

5 players we won’t see at next year’s World Cup

As the dust settles, the realisation that several world class players will be missing the World Cup is finally starting to settle. Many a big nation has already missed the cut, but more painfully, quality players won’t be travelling to Russia either.

People may argue about its footballing quality, but the World Cup is undoubtedly the stage everybody wants to perform at. It’s the tournament that creates legends, produces moments and defines the best players in the world.

For example, Lionel Messi is considered the best player ever but until he wins a World Cup, his legacy will forever be tarnished. Luckily for him, he’ll be in Russia next summer, but these great players won’t be.

Here are 5 players we won’t see at next year’s World Cup.

#5 David Alaba


AlabaIt’s quite unfortunate that a player of David Alaba’s stature will not be playing at the World Cup. The world’s most diverse full-back has done all he can to take his nation to Russia, but alas, it wasn’t to be. The sad thing is, Austria didn’t even come close to qualifying, they finished 4th in Group D, losing 3 of their 10 games.

The Bayern Munich defender will instead endure a summer of regret and what-ifs. David Alaba is known to be a world-class full-back, competing with Marcelo for the title of being the best. Marcelo will be at the WC, giving him the chance to show why he’s the best, thus forcing people to forget about David Alaba.

#4 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made 1 appearance for France’s U21s.

The most explosive striker in the world will not be at next year’s World Cup. Often cited as one of the best forwards in the game, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will not be given the opportunity to show the whole world that. The striker has scored 188 goals in his professional career, making him one of the most prolific forwards in history.

Gabon have never in their history qualified for the World Cup and with the lack of star quality across the team, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may never see the grand world stage in his international career. Aubameyang has scored 23 goals for Gabon, but in the summer, he won’t be adding to that total.

#3 Gareth Bale


Gareth Bale has made 68 appearances for Wales

The Welsh dragon will miss another opportunity to showcase his talents on a global stage. Wales missed out on qualification in Bale’s absence as Northern Ireland beat them in the final game of the group. With that, the European Championships’ semi-finalists won’t be seen in Russia and the Welsh fairy-tale is subsequently over.

This could not come at a worse time for the 28-year-old as many are saying he’s in the worst patch of his career. Many Real Madrid fans are saying the Welshman hasn’t lived up to his expensive price tag and basically deemed his tenure a failure.

A great showing at the World Cup would have been the perfect remedy to that conundrum, reminding Los Blancos fans the prized asset they have.

#2 Arjen Robben


Arjen Robben made 96 appearances for the Netherlands.

The disappointment of missing the World Cup was seemingly too much for the Dutch legend to bear on Tuesday. After Holland’s qualification failure, Arjen Robben retired from international football.

At the age of 33, Robben has done all he can for his national team, scoring 36 goals in the process. The Dutch finished level on points with 2nd place Sweden but fell short by 8 in goal difference.

The Bayern Munich winger is one of the most feared right-wingers in the world. Despite everyone knowing what he’s going to do, he still repeatedly cuts in from the right and curls worldies into the top corner.  Nobody has done that better than him over the years and his presence will be sorely missed in Russia.

#1 Alexis Sánchez


Alexis Sánchez (39) is Chile’s record goal scorer.

Despite winning back to back Copa Americas, Alexis Sánchez’s Chile will not be at the 2018 World Cup. La Roja were ousted out of cup qualification in the final minute of the last game as Peru equalised against Colombia. This means that one of the world’s best wingers will not be showcasing his talents in Russia.

Some may say this is the best thing to happen for Chilean, as he’ll most probably be out of contract with Arsenal in the summer. Thus, meaning he’ll have more time to negotiate his future.

However, knowing how much the 28-year old loves to play football, it’ll kill him to miss out on the most watched tournament in the world. At the age of 28, this may be his final chance to show the world how good he is at his peak.

About the Author Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with a soft spot for Pascal Cygan.

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