World Cup 2018: The 50 Best Players Missing the Tournament in Russia

Some household names will have to make do with watching the action on TV for the next four weeks.Newsweek
1. Gareth Bale—Wales, 70 caps, 29 goals (FW, 28, Real Madrid): The Champions League final hero will once again miss out on a World Cup appearance after Wales finished third in its group. A disappointing absence given the way the team performed at Euro 2016, Bale might only have one more shot at making a World Cup.Michael Steele/Getty Images

Some of world’s soccer biggest stars will feature at the 2018 World Cup, but a number of very talented players will miss out. Being it through injury, selection of failure to qualify some household names will have to make do with watching the action on TV for the next four weeks.

Leroy Sane was one of the best players in the Premier League last season but Germany coach Joachim Low has opted to leave the 22-year-old out of the World Cup squad along with Mario Gotze, who scored the winner in the final four years ago.

Anthony Martial did not make France’s 23-man squad after a disappointing season with Manchester United, while Didier Deschamps also omitted Karim Benzema and Alexandre Lacazette. Gareth Bale, the hero of last month's Champions League final, and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey missed out after Wales could only finish third in its qualifying group, while 29 goals in a season were not enough for Mauro Icardi to earn a call up to the Argentina squad.

Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal will both be watching from the sofa as Chile, who thrilled viewers four years ago, missed out on a spot at the World Cup on goal difference. The Netherlands, meanwhile, fell short of qualification for the first time since 2002, prompting Arjen Robben to quit international football, as did Radja Nainggolan after he was left out of Belgium’s squad.

Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Ciro Immobile and Daniele De Rossi will be among the most prominent absentees after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years, after losing in a playoff to Sweden.

In this gallery, Newsweek goes through the 50 best players not at the 2018 World Cup.

2. Alexis Sanchez—Chile, 121 caps, 39 goals (FW, 29, Manchester United): A 3-0 defeat against Brazil in the last qualifying game saw Chile miss out on a World Cup spot for the first time since 2006. At least Sanchez will have some much-needed rest after a difficult domestic season.Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images
3. Karim Benzema—France, 81 caps, 27 goals (FW, 30, Real Madrid): The Real Madrid striker has not featured for the national team since 2015 and will almost certainly not return to the fold until Didier Deschamps steps down as manager. A third Champions League win in three seasons will have softened the blow a bit.Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
4. Leroy Sane—Germany, 11 caps, 0 goals (FW, 22, Manchester City): Sane’s transformation under Pep Guardiola has been incredible and the German winger is already one of the best players in the Premier League, despite being only 22. Was a surprise exclusion from Joachim Low’s squad.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
5. Mauro Icardi—Argentina, 4 caps, 0 goals (FW, 25, Inter Milan): The Inter Milan captain said the reason he’s been repeatedly overlooked by Argentina is that he’s not friends with Lionel Messi. Whatever the motive, Argentina has left behind a man who has scored 29 goals in 36 games this season.Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images
6. Alvaro Morata—Spain, 23 caps, 13 goals (FW, 25, Chelsea): The former Real Madrid striker struggled to settle in his first season in the Premier League and Julen Lopetegui prefers Diego Costa, the man he replaced at Stamford Bridge, to Morata.Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images
7. Anthony Martial—France, 18 caps, 1 goal (FW, 22, Manchester United): A promising start to the season petered out when Alexis Sanchez signed for Manchester United in January and Martial found first-team opportunities hard to come by. Will have plenty more chances in the future.Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images
8. Marek Hamsik—Slovakia, 101 caps, 21 goals (MF, 30, Napoli): Captain for club and country, Hamsik missed out on a place at the World Cup as Slovakia failed to secure a playoff spot as the worst of the nine second-ranked teams.Vladimir Simicek/AFP/Getty Images
9. Edin Dzeko—Bosnia-Herzegovina, 94 caps, 52 goals (FW, 32, Roma): Dzeko scored a goal every two games and was one of Serie A’s standout players this season, but Bosnia could only finish third in its group, behind Belgium and Greece.Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
10. Gianluigi Buffon—Italy, 176 caps, 0 goals (GK, 40, Juventus): The 2006 World Cup winner’s illustrious international career came to the saddest of ends as Italy were knocked out by Sweden in the playoffs.Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images
11. Marco Verratti—Italy, 25 caps, 1 goal (MF, 25, Paris Saint-Germain): Another victim of Italy’s shambolic qualifying campaign, the playmaker will certainly have another chance to impress at a major tournament in the future as he’s only 25.Claudio Villa/Getty Images
12. Miralem Pjanic—Bosnia-Herzegovina, 81 caps, 11 goals (MF, 28, Juventus): An instrumental figure for the Juventus side that claimed a seventh consecutive league title, the classy playmaker will be missed in Russia after Bosnia came up short in the qualifying campaign.Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images
13. Arturo Vidal—Chile, 100 caps, 24 goals (MF, 31, Bayern Munich): Along with Alexis Sanchez, Vidal was the symbol of the team that beat Spain at the 2014 World Cup and won the last two Copa Americas. Won’t be at the World Cup after Chile missed out to qualification to Peru on goal difference.Francois Nel/Getty Images