The FIFA World Cup is the greatest footballing event in the world. It is the holy grail that every knight in a shining soccer jersey looks forward to lifting. But for every player who succeeds in winning the trophy, countless others bite the dust. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the world of football for over a decade. The modern greats boast of an impressive resume of a career that many can only dream of and yet the holy grail has eluded them. But these are not the first two players and not the last to not get their hands on the much-coveted trophy.
– Les Yashin:
Considered one of the best goalkeeper in the history of the game, the ‘Black Spider’ has over 150 penalties saves in his professional football career. The tactic of ‘sweeper-goalkeeper’ is now a trend in modern football but the pioneers of the skill were Yashin and Gyula Grosics. The only goalkeeper to receive the Ballon d’Or and probably the man who drew the world’s attention to the Soviet footballing prowess had appeared in four world cups from 1958 to 1970. However, not even once he could not make it past the semi-finals of the world cups.
– David Beckham:
Known for his range of long passing, crossing ability and bending free kicks, Beckham won over 19 trophies in his illustrious career which spanned up to over 20 years. Beckham played a record 115 games for the national team and also captained the ‘Three Lions’ in 2006. Although Beckham played in three World Cups ( 1998, 2002, 2006) he could never bring football home.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s technique, creativity and accurate striking ability made him a prolific goal scorer. With over 60 goals in 116 appearances for the Swedish team, Zlatan is considered one of the best footballers of his generation. Having won over 32 trophies in a career that spanned to almost two decades, the former Manchester United played in two world cups but never won one.
– Lionel Messi:
Argentina bowed out of the 2018 World Cup after a crushing defeat at the hands of France in the knockout stage. Les Bleus crushed Argentina and Messi’s dream to lift the trophy. The magician will turn 35 in 2022 and it looks like the World Cup trophy is the one title that will elude the five-times Ballon d’Or award winner. With eight La Liga titles, four Champions League, the Barcelona striker will go down as a GOAT. Messi has now appeared in four World Cups- 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 but has not won even once. The closed he reached was in 2014, when Argentina was defeated by Germany – courtesy of Mario Goetze’s stoppage time goal.
– Cristiano Ronaldo:
A prolific goalscorer, Ronaldo holds the records for most official goals scored in Europe’s top-five leagues (395), the UEFA Champions League (120), the UEFA European Championship (9), as well as those for most assists in the UEFA Champions League (34) and the UEFA European Championship (6). One of the most decorated players in the game’s history, Ronaldo still has the World Cup trophy missing from his cabinet. Just like Messi, Ronaldo’s team exited 2018 FIFA World Cup after a defeat to Uruguay in pre-quarters. Ronaldo will turn 37 in Qatar and another World Cup run seems bleak for the veteran goalscorer