You Won't Believe These Football Stars Have Never Played In The World Cup

It is every footballer's dream to play in the World Cup. However, despite their brilliant talent and skill for their clubs, some never got the chance to participate in the World Cup. Here are 13 football stars who never played in the World Cup

Cover image via

1. Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria)

Image via

Over the last decade, Dimitar Berbatov has shown football fans in Germany and England just how good he can be. At times, the Bulgarian is unplayable. His close control and touch are frighteningly good, and he can score some spectacular goals.

Berbatov was a key player for Bulgaria during his international career. He is his country's all-time leading goalscorer with 48 goals in 77 appearances.

He may have retired from international football now, but a player of Berbatov's quality should have had the opportunity to play at a World Cup.

2. Eric Cantona (France)

Image via

Considering the success that Manchester United and France both enjoyed during the 1990s, it seems incredible that Cantona's talent was never seen on the greatest stage.

France failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1990 and 1994 and, with Zinedine Zidane having taken his role in the team during his suspension in 1995, he never played for his country again on his return to the game and missed their 1998 triumph on home soil.

At club level, Cantona won seven domestic titles with Marseille, Leeds and more famously Manchester United and his success in the English game was recognised in 1994 when he was named as the PFA's Players' Player of the Year.

3. David Ginola (France)

Image via

One of the members of the French squad during the early 1990s, David Ginola was a member of the team that only needed a draw against Bulgaria in order to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

With the score tied 1-1 late, Ginola overhit a cross, and the Bulgarians started a counterattack that Emil Kostadinov was able to score for Bulgaria as they qualified for the World Cup.

Afterwards, Ginola was blamed for the loss, and he then moved to England to play for Newcastle and never again played for the French again after 1995. France went on to win the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 without Ginola.

4. George Best (Northern Ireland)

Image via

George Best would refer to international soccer as "recreational football", a reference to the fact he was never likely to make as much of a mark with Northern Ireland as he did with the altogether less wee Manchester United.

The incomparable Best played only 37 times for Northern Ireland and scored an unimpressive 10 international goals, but won two league titles and the European Cup with his beloved Manchester United while lighting up British football like no other before or since.

Voted European player of the year in 1968 after helping United lift the European Cup, Best was the complete footballer. Pele once named Best the greatest and who could argue?

5. Ryan Giggs (Wales)

Eleven League titles, two Champions League crowns and four FA Cup medals make Giggs the most decorated player in the history of the English game.

Despite all the success he's had at Manchester United, Giggs would probably give some of it up to have appeared at a World Cup for Wales.

He was named the PFA's Players' Player of the Year award in 2009 yet Wales' failure to qualify for a World Cup, or even a European Championship, has deprived him of the chance to really shine on the international stage.

6. Ian Rush (Wales)

Image via

Rushie is famous for three things; that moustache, scoring goals and never appearing at a finals. The Welsh legend won the European Cup and five League titles with Liverpool but, like many of his countrymen, was deprived of appearing on the biggest stage.

He was a European Cup winner in both 1981 and 1984 to add to his five league titles, and his incredible tally of 346 goals for the Reds is a club record which will take some beating.

7. Bernd Schuster (Germany)

Image via

Bernd Schuster was part of the West Germany side who won the 1980 European Championships but he retired from international football four years later at the age of 24 after a series of disagreements with the German FA.

Nicknamed the Blond Angel, the midfielder won the Spanish league title with both Barcelona and Real Madrid and helped the former reach the 1986 European Cup final where they were beaten on penalties by Steaua Bucharest.

8. Jari Litmanen (Finland)

Image via

Litmanen has an array of medals to show from an illustrious playing career but only at club level. The graceful forward made his name at Ajax, where he scored goals consistently and pulled the strings after replacing Dennis Bergkamp when he joined Inter Milan.

Litmanen won the Champions League as well as the Eredivisie four times and then won three trophies in one season at Liverpool after a short spell at Barcelona.

Finland's failure to qualify meant an appearance at the World Cup eluded the technically-gifted Litmanen, who is the country's most capped player and leading scorer.

9. George Weah (Liberia)

One of the greatest African players of all time, George Weah was, like his namesake Best before him, hamstrung in World Cup terms by hailing from a global minnow.

The explosive Liberian caused a sensation when bursting onto the scene in France with Monaco and Paris St Germain before truly setting the world alight in Italy with AC Milan.

Weah was the first African footballer to be voted World player of the year in 1995, was three times African player of the year - in 1989, 1994 and 1995 - and filled the chasm left by Marco van Basten at Milan with aplomb.

10. Liam Brady (Ireland)

Not a lot this lad couldn’t do with a ball, but sadly injuries and suspensions let him down when it came to him participating in major tournaments with Ireland. Some say he had the touch of a Brazilian, the stamina of a Korean and the silkiness of an Italian.

One of Arsenal's all-time greats, 'Chippy' won the FA Cup, two league titles with Italian giants Juventus and made 72 appearances for his country - but none of them on the biggest stage as he retired from the international game during qualification for 1990 finals in Italy.

11. Christian Chivu (Romania)

Image via

Cristian Chivu is a one of the players who caught the attention of many as a youngster when he played for Romania at Euro 2000. At club level, he's represented some of Europe's finest teams, including Ajax, Roma and currently Inter Milan.

Although he's represented his country at European Championships, including in 2008 when he captained the side, Chivu never played at a World Cup. Now retired from international football, one of his regrets will surely be that he never managed to play on world football's biggest stage.

12. Steve Bruce (England)

Image via

A Manchester United legend, Steve Bruce had an incredible career in the 1980s and 1990s. For some bizarre reason, he was never selected to join the English National team.

During his career, Bruce was one of the better defenders in England. He and his defensive partner Gary Pallister helped United win tons of trophies in the 1990s, but never was called up for England.

13. Alfredo Di Stefano (Argentina, Colombia & Spain)

Image via

Having represented three different national teams, Alfredo Di Stefano had more chances than most players to reach a World Cup finals. Yet amazingly, the man who won five consecutive European Cups at club level with Real Madrid never played one minute of World Cup football.

In 1950, while still playing in Argentina, his country refused to enter the World Cup and by 1954 Di Stefano had arrived in Spain, via Colombia, where he was first considered ineligible.

The closest the attacking midfielder from Buenos Aires came to the world’s biggest stage was in 1962 when he pulled out injured just before the tournament in Chile began, after having helped Spain qualify. That injury pretty much meant the end of di Stefano’s international career, and so the history of the FIFA World Cup was written minus one true legend of the game.

Other World Cup Stories On SAYS:

You may be interested in: