football players who never played in fifa world cup eric cantona

6 Football Greats Who Never Played in the FIFA World Cup

While not all football players dream of playing in the FIFA World Cup, no one can deny that it’s a different high.

On the other end of the spectrum, some players have never played in the World Cup when they should’ve. Here are some of them.

#6 Abedi Ayew

Ayew is more popularly known as Abedi Pele because of footballing skills comparable with Pele.

He was a dominant figure in African football since he joined Real Tamale (Ghana) in 1978 and continued until the early 1990s. He was awarded three African Player of the Year titles. 

Abedi Pele played for various European clubs, although he became more famous internationally during the French Ligue 1 specifically with Lille OSC and Marseille. 

Despite this, he never appeared in World Cup because his national team, Black Stars, failed in the qualifying rounds for all its attempts. 

However, Abedi Pele has three sons, Ibrahim, Jordan, and Andre, who played for 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.

#5 Eric Cantona

Cantona is a legend, but his temperament was his biggest hindrance. Remember the Eric Cantona moment?

At one point in his career, he had an outburst against Henri Michel, his then coach, questioning his decision to leave him out of the team during the 1990 World Cup qualifiers. He was banned from playing in international matches.

He had another chance in the 1998 World Cup. However, Zinedine Zidane prevented him from appearing on the international stage. 

#4 Ryan Giggs

Giggs is a well-decorated football player in its entire history. Most of them he received when he played for Manchester United. He even won double European champion.

The international stage proved to be elusive for the Welsh team, however, so Giggs never got to play in the World Cup.

#3 George Weah

Weah is considered as one of the greatest African football players. He also won the World Player of the Year once.

Weah made his mark playing for Paris Saint Germain and Monaco. However, it was his AC Milan performance that really took him to pedestal. He won two Scudettos (Italian football championships).

Although he played for Liberia, he never had a chance to play in the FIFA World Cup.

#2 George Best

Best was the pride of Northern Ireland, playing for the country for 37 times. He won the European Football Player of the Year once.

Sceptics noted that while Best has the best rosters at Manchester United which won the European Cup, the same cannot be said when it comes to his international teammates. 

The closest he got at playing in the World Cup was in 1982. The team’s then manager of Northern Ireland, Billy Bingham, was keen on letting him play, but it did not push through.

He was already 36 years old then and past his prime.

#1 Alfredo di Stefano

Pele called him the best football player ever. 

Di Stefano was the primary man behind the success of Real Madrid, particularly in the international footballing world. The club won five European Cups.

He played for the Spanish, Colombian, and Argentinian clubs, none of which allowed him to play in the World Cup. Argentina did not enter the 1950 tournament. FIFA deemed him ineligible due to playing for both Argentina and Colombia.

Spain did not qualify in 1958. When Spain was finally able to qualify, he had an injury and prevented him from playing in 1962 World Cup.

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Most Expensive Buyout Clauses in Football

Buyout clauses are that part of the contract that says ‘no, you can’t touch our man.’

In the football world, the buyout (or release) clause skyrockets after the record-breaking buyout of Neymar to Paris Saint Germain. His buyout amounted to €222 million.

If you are meaning to ask what is Lionel Messi’s buyout clause, well, it’s in the tune of roughly €727.8 million. He will be playing for Barcelona through 2021.

Neymar and Messi are not the only football players with astonishing buyout clauses, though. 

Here are other players with expensive buyout clauses in football.

Ousmane Dembélé, Philip Coutinho | €400 million

Neymar left a spot that is sure hard to replace. And so Barcelona started filling up the hole by acquiring Dembélé. The 20-year-old French player has one of the most expensive buyout clauses now.

Coutinho has been an impressive player on the turf. So Barcelona is doing everything in keeping him in the club.

Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Dani Ceballos, James Rodriguez, Gerard Pique | €500 Million

Kroos is a crucial man in Real Madrid’s lineup, sharing the same buyout clause with his teammates, Modric, Rodriguez, and Ceballos.

If Kroos is responsible for balancing the team, Modric’s main role is orchestrating an attack particularly after retrieving the ball. Modric connects the defence and the attack. Modric is also a Ballon d’Or winner. 

Ceballos has yet to prove his worth. The midfielder is known for his excellent performance while on his previous club, Real Betis.

Rodriguez is currently on loan to Bayern Munich. He hasn’t had the opportunities playing for Real Madrid yet, but he still belongs to the club.

Pique, on the other hand, is a seasoned defender that landed him the high buyout clause.

Lionel Messi, Marco Asensio, Isco | €700 million

Messi is doing Messi—with his five Ballon d’Ors and 523 goals out of 602 matches. Enough said.

Asensio is another promising 21-year-older (same with Ceballos) in the list. As early as now, he is a prominent feature in Real Madrid’s attacking line.

Sceptics compare Isco with the playing style of Zinedine Zidane. He may not be always on the starting lineup but when he does play, he delivers a convincing performance that earned the trust of the club’s manager.

Antoine Griezmann | €800 million

Barcelona is depending on its left-footed forward, along with other football superstars in the club of course. He was a team player and has an eye for goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Benzema | €1 billion

People would speculate why Ronaldo has a bigger buyout clause than Messi. But one has to wonder why Gareth Bale and Benzema have bigger buyouts as well.

Bale’s transfer from Tottenham Spurs to Real Madrid was the predecessor to Neymar’s record. Bale’s transfer was valued at €100 million. Indeed, he was Real Madrid’s prized possession.

Benzema has a solid 2018-19 performance. He scored a total of 21 goals at La Liga. He was the top choice striker too.

Going back to Ronaldo, he was Real Madrid’s top scorer. With him on the club, the Los Blancos was able to win all the possible titles there are. He was signed in 2009.

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Messi and Ronaldo truly deserved their buyout clauses. But what about the others? Let us know your thoughts.

5 Football Players Who Retired Way Too Early

Some football legends play until they reach the ripe age of 40 years, exhausting all the possible plays they can until retirement. However, there are also football players who chose to retire earlier than expected.

‘What could have been’ are such lonely words for these players, and perhaps will never be answered.

Below are the names of players who left their fans shocked and wondering at the same time.

Zinedine Zidane

Announcing his retirement after the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Zidane retired at 34 when he still could play several more seasons. That’s despite what happened during his last-ever match, headbutting Marco Materazzi’s chest as a resort against his provocation. Zidane was sent off the game.

He moved on by becoming a manager to Real Madrid. A lot of football fans were sceptic at first before he proved them wrong. He went on to win three Championship League titles—justifying his credibility and silencing his critiques.

Eric Cantona

Cantona’s career is not one with a steady moral compass – with bans and suspensions here and there. Retiring at 30, however, he could have shown more of his style of play. Other football players look up to him because of this.

His passion for the game also stood out, highlighting the ballooning desire to play football throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Instead, he chose to retire early, putting a halt on his four Premier League titles and two FA Cups. The FWA Player of the Year awardee cited his growing lack of interest as his reason.

Jim Brown

Brown, who retired when he was only 29, played in the NFL for nine seasons, from 1957 to 1965. Throughout this relatively short, by today’s NFL standards, professional career, he amassed awards and recognitions. This made every fan muse about the sudden change of heart.

When he retired, he held the majority of the individual records. Brown was a three-time MVP and an eight-time First-Team All-Pro. He was also included in the Pro Bowl for all his playing careers. Finally, Brown was part of the All-Decade Team of the 1960s and All-Time Team for the NFL’s 75th Anniversary.

Barry Sanders

Another NFL pro who retired too soon was Sanders; he retired at only 30. Sanders was considered one of the best running backs in NFL history. To date, he still ranked the 3rd all-time best player.

Unfortunately for him, Sanders was an elite player and perhaps the only one on his team. He did not receive the support that he was supposed to be getting on the field. Despite that, he was the 1997 MVP. Then, he chose to retire to focus on other important things.

Mia Hamm

Hamm retired when she was only 32, and no one was happy seeing her leave football. She scored 158 goals in her 275 games, which only proved that she could have done more should she stayed playing football.

Hamm has two World Cup titles and four NCAA Championship titles. She was also a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

 

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What do you think? What could have happened if these players extended their playing careers? Let us know!