We have discussed the players who played very well in the leagues but never in the FIFA World Cup history.
Top 9 Best Players Never Play In a World Cup
9: Liam Brady – Ireland
Brady was a stylish midfielder who scored 43 goals in 235 league games for Arsenal and won the FA Cup in 1979. He made history in Italian football at a time when few players from the UK and Ireland did well in the major European leagues.
Before going to Sampdoria, Inter Milan, and Ascoli, he played 76 games for Juventus, where he scored 15 goals and helped them win two league titles in 1981 and 1982.
In 1979, he was named Player of the Year by the PFA. Brady’s first game for Ireland was in 1974, and he scored his favourite goal for Ireland against Brazil in 1987.
He was banned from the finals of the European Championship in 1988, and Jack Charlton didn’t pick him for the World Cup in Italy in 1990.
8: David Ginola – France
The flashy winger moved to Newcastle United in 1995 from Paris Saint-Germain, where he scored 33 goals in 115 Ligue 1 games. He immediately set the Premier League on fire with his incredible speed.
In 1997, he signed with Tottenham Hotspur for £2.5 million. In 1999, he won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year awards.
In the World Cup 1994 qualifier against Bulgaria, Ginola made a mistake that let Bulgaria score the goal that kept France from going to the finals in the US. In charge of France, Gerard Houllier said that Ginola’s lousy pass was like “an Exocet missile through the heart of French football.”
Even though Houllier’s replacement, Aime Jacquet, chose him often, he was usually just a substitute. In 1995, he played his last game for his country.
During an FA Carling Premiership game, David Ginola of Tottenham Hotspur was in action against Chelsea on December 19, 1998, at Stamford Bridge in London, England. The score was 2-0 in favour of Chelsea’s home team.
7: Jari Litmanen – Finland
Litmanen was the best football player in Finland’s history. He held the record for most goals scored for the national team until Teemu Pukki beat it in 2021.
His club career took him to Barcelona, Ajax (twice), and Liverpool. He is considered one of the best attacking midfielders in the world. In 449 games for his club, he scored 173 goals.
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In his later years, he got hurt a lot, and he couldn’t keep up his success at Ajax, where he scored 91 goals in 159 league games. With Ajax, he won five league titles and the Champions League in 1995. With Liverpool, he won the FA Cup and the Uefa Cup.
He finished third in the competition of Ballon d’Or in 1995. (European Footballer of the Year).
On April 9, 2002, Liverpool’s Jari Litmanen celebrated scoring a great goal by himself during the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match between Bayer Leverkusen and Liverpool at the BayArena in Leverkusen, Germany. Bayer Leverkusen won the game 4–2, which meant they won the tie 4–3 overall.
6: George Weah – Liberia
In 1995, he won the Fifa World Player of the Year award and the Ballon d’Or.
In 1996, Brazilian superstar Ronaldo beat him for the World Player of the Year award. We played for Monaco and got to the final of the European Cup Winners Cup in 1992. He then moved to Paris Saint-Germain and won Ligue 1 with them in 1994 after scoring 32 goals in 96 games.
He joined AC Milan in 1995, and in 114 league games, he scored 46 goals and helped them win two Serie A titles.
He played for Liberia in two African Cup of Nations tournaments but was criticized for coming from a small country.
5: Ryan Giggs – Wales
Flying winger Ryan Giggs played for Manchester United a record 963 times and scored 168 goals, but it often seemed like Alex Ferguson won the battle between club and country when it came to Giggs.
In 1991, he played his first game for his country when he came in as a substitute against Germany. He was from the “Golden Generation,” including Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, and Neville Southall. They almost made it to the international World Cup but lost to Romania in 1993 and didn’t make it to the finals in the United States in 1994.
Giggs won 13 Premier League titles with United and two Champions League trophies, four FA Cups, three League Cups, a Uefa Super Cup, and a Fifa Club World Cup.
In 1992 and 1993, he won the PFA Young Player of the Year award; in 2009, he won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award.
4: Eric Cantona – France
Cantona was a genius who was hard to predict and one of the most charismatic football players. However, his international career was a letdown.
After he moved from France to England in 1992, he helped Leeds United win the league title for the first time since 1974.
Sir Alex Ferguson then stole him away, which was the start of Manchester United’s best time. He scored 82 goals for the club in 185 games, including the game-winning goal in the 85th minute of the FA Cup final against Liverpool in 1996.
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At Old Trafford, he also won four Premier League titles. He came in third place for the Ballon d’Or in 1993, winning the PFA Players’ 1994 Player of the Year award and the FWA Footballer of the Year award in 1996.
France was not qualified for the World Cup 1994, which ended his international career and Ginola’s.
3: Ian Rush – Wales
Rush was one of the best attackers in British football. He set a record by scoring 346 goals in 660 games for Liverpool over two stints there.
In the middle, he spent a year with Juventus, which he joined for a British record transfer fee of £3.2 million in 1986.
In Italy, he did not do as well. In 29 games, he scored only seven goals. He won five league titles, three FA Cups, five League Cups, and the European Cups in 1981 and 1984 while at Liverpool.
1984, he won the FWA Footballer of the Year and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards. Rush first played for his country in 1980. In 1991, when Germany was the World Cup champion, he scored the winning goal in a Euro 1992 qualifier in Cardiff.
Wales almost made it to the 1994 World Cup, but Romania beat them 2-1 in Cardiff, so they didn’t. Rush was Wales’ top scorer until 2018 when Gareth Bale passed him with 29 goals.
2: George Best – Northern Ireland
Although George Best had magic in his feet, at no time in his career could he lead the Northern Ireland squad to the World Cup.
He was a member of a Manchester United squad that had some other hall-of-fame athletes, but his international counterparts could not make the same claim.
Best made 37 appearances while contributing nine goals for Northern Ireland. The 1982 World Cup manager for Northern Ireland, Billy Bingham, did explore sending Best to the event, but it never materialized.
1: Alfredo di Stefano – Argentina
Pele referred to Alfredo Di Stefano as the greatest player ever. The outstanding player who launched a successful period for Real Madrid competed internationally for three separate nations—Spain, Colombia, and Argentina—but could not make it to the World Cup championship match.
After playing for Argentina and Colombia, he was ineligible for the 1954 World Cup. Argentina did not take part in the 1950 World Cup.
After obtaining Spanish citizenship, he participated in a few qualifiers, but the squad could not attend the 1958 World Cup. Di Stefano could not participate in 1962 when Spain did qualify due to an injury.
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