Top 10 football superstars that missed FIFA World Cup in Qatar
Mo Salah, Paulo Dybala, Haaland, and the legendary Zlatan Ibrahimovic will all miss the FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2022, but they are not the only ones…
Alfredo Di Stefano, George Best, George Weah, Eric Cantona, Laszlo Kubala, and Duncan Edwards are among the finest footballers to have ever played in a World Cup.
Some of the best never got an opportunity to shine on football’s grandest stage, whether due to their country’s failure to qualify, injury, eligibility, or simply bad luck.
And the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be no different, with some of the world’s most recognizable names missing out.
Continue reading to learn about the top 10 players who will not be competing in this extraordinary winter World Cup.
1. Erling Haaland (Norway)
He has 20 goals in his first 12 Premier League and Champions League appearances for Manchester City and shows no signs of slowing down.
Haaland has stormed into the English football scene and is in the form of his life, becoming the first Fantasy Premier League selection for fans, but he will not play in Qatar 2022 since Norway did not qualify, despite the huge man scoring five goals in six games in the qualifications.
He provides so much pleasure to the world of football that there is an internet petition to allow each team to bring him on for 30 minutes once throughout the tournament.
While it is doubtful, think of European defenses when they return from Qatar and face a brighter, fresher, and fitter than ever Erling Haaland who will have rested for a month.
He’s not a robot, but he’s as constant as one, yet he’s only 22 years old.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
‘Zlatan doesn’t need the World Cup; the World Cup needs Zlatan,’ the great one could remark, but the world won’t get to see his talents on the field or his headline-grabbing phrase-making off it in Qatar 2022.
Sweden lost a play-off to Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, depriving us of the legendary Swede’s third World Cup berth.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, now 41, isn’t ready to hang up his boots, despite the fact that injury concerns will keep him out of the game until January 2023.
“What about the future?” “I hope to keep going as long as I’m healthy and able to contribute,” he remarked following the March loss to Poland.
When pressed by Italy’s Gazzetta Dello Sport in September to name a retirement date, the legendary striker said:
“I’m going to retire when I see a player that is stronger than me.”
Zlatan is classic.
3. Sergio Ramos
The 36-year-old Spanish central defender has been in good form for PSG this season, causing many to expect he would be called up to Luis Enrique’s side, but that was not the case.
Spain’s 2010 World Cup champion and two-time European Champion also has four Champions League wins with former club Real Madrid.
4. Will Mo Salah play in Qatar in 2022?
Mo Salah will not play in Qatar 2022, as his country, Egypt, and Liverpool fans were eliminated on penalties in a play-off against Senegal.
Even more agonizing for Salah fans was the fact that Mo missed his penalty in the shootout that clinched the tie, while Sadio Mane, Salah’s former Liverpool teammate, scored to send Senegal to Qatar.
The Egyptian magician was supposedly targeted by many lasers from the audience as he went to take his spot kick, so it wasn’t without controversy.
Senegal is now on its way to the World Cup, and Salah’s smile and vibrant, attacking style will be missed.
5. Luis Diaz (Colombia)
Colombia’s dismal qualifying campaign means we won’t witness the likes of Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado, and future superstar Luis Diaz.
Diaz has impressed since joining Liverpool from Porto, but his excellent skill set will not be on display in Qatar.
Colombia failed to advance from the famously difficult CONMEBOL qualification group due to a string of draws, scoring only 20 goals in 18 games (compared to Brazil’s 40).
Los Cafeteros finished sixth on the final table, behind Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, and Peru, just outside the play-off spot won by Peru.
Colombia fans will be hoping that Diaz, who is only 25 years old, can lead them to the next one in four years, which will be held closer to home in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
6. Victor Osimhen (Nigeria)
It looked promising for the young Napoli striker when he scored four goals in Nigeria’s AFCON qualification group round.
But all fell apart in the third stage when the Super Eagles failed to score against Ghana away in Kumasi, then drew 1-1 at home in Abuja, with Ghana through on away goals.
It was a flop. Osimhen was extremely moved and afterward apologized to the supporters, saying:
“We must first apologize to Nigerians.” Many people still support us, but we need to work hard to win back all of our fans. We’re on the right track, thanks to the new coach [Peseiro] and technical staff.
“But everyone is sad, nobody is joyful, and the agony persists and will forever.”
He’ll almost certainly get another go at it now that he’s 23.
7. Martin Odegaard (Norway)
If you allow him, Martin Odegaard will tear you apart.
Odegaard was signed by Real Madrid at the age of 16, but after failing to break into the midfield dominated by Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, he has found a home with Arsenal in North London.
He’s a huge reason Arsenal are top of the Premier League at the moment, and his three goals and one assist in eight games don’t even begin to tell the tale of how much he contributes to the squad.
Odegaard has the first touch of Zidane and the vision of Pirlo, and he glides over the grass like an exception to gravity. It’s a shame he won’t be in Qatar.
At the age of 23, his ascension with Haaland provides Norwegian football supporters a lot of hope for the future.
8. Eldor Shomurodov (Uzbekistan)
The Central Asian region does not typically receive much attention in the soccer world, but ‘Shomo,’ as he is known, is a talented player who would undoubtedly contribute to the World Cup stage.
The 27-year-old is currently playing for AS Roma under Jose Mourinho and is a relentless worker and true team player who captains his national team and has an incredible 32 goals in 59 outings for the Uzbeki White Wolves.
Uzbekistan has never qualified for the World Cup despite coming close on several occasions; this time, they came second in their AFC group behind Saudi Arabia.
9. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
Riyad Mahrez, the Algerian wizard, did not make it to Qatar either; the 31-year-old winger sparkled in the Premier League during Leicester’s heyday and is now at Manchester City.
He’s also been key for Algeria, topping the scoring statistics with five goals as the country advanced to the CAF play-offs in first place in Group A, barely ahead of Burkina Faso.
The north Africans were sensationally turned over in the second leg, losing 2-1 in Blida to miss out on World Cup qualifying on the away-goals rule following a 1-0 triumph in Cameroon that felt like half a foot on the plane to Doha.
Algeria’s captain may have had his final chance at World Cup glory, and he will be missed by football fans across the Middle East.
10. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
Last but not least, Italian goalkeeper Donnarumma was the hero at Wembley, saving the penalty that helped Italy win the Euro 2020 continental crown, but World Cup qualifying slipped through his fingers.
The Azzurri, which included PSG colleague Marco Verratti, finished second in their UEFA qualification group behind Switzerland and were then defeated in their playoff semi-final by North Macedonia.
A young Italian team led by Roberto Mancini will not compete in the World Cup this year, but at 23, we hope to see Donnarumma, Verratti, and their teammates again in four years.