The Top Five Active Footballers who have never played in a FIFA World Cup

Football fans in a stadium

There’s no argument that the World Cup is the pinnacle of every footballer’s aspirations. It’s what they dream about from the moment they start playing as children. Throughout history, major footballers with significant achievements on a club level, have missed out on the big stage due to the fact that they simply don’t hail from a powerful football nation. The list includes former stars such as Ryan Giggs, George Weah, Jari Litmanen, and George Best.

In this list, we will look at the top five active players, who have yet to make their World Cup debut, but still have a chance:

5. Victor Boniface

The young Nigerian is going through a fantastic breakthrough season at Bayer Leverkusen, hoping to lead the club to its first-ever Bundesliga title. The 2023 AFCON runners up should be able to qualify to the next edition of the World Cup, especially considering the expansion of the tournament and the extra slots each continent is provided. If Boniface continues to shine on the club level, Super Eagles fans will have their hopes up to finally outperform their successful 1994 campaign, and bring forward the potential of the most populated African country.

4. Sávio

Brazil arrived at the 2022 World Cup with an attacking prowess that, on paper, ignited the imagination and brought back memories of the early 2000s. In reality, a lot of the players that were meant to lead, didn’t live up to their expectations when push came to shove.

With Sávio, the Manchester City-bound wonder-kid, Seleção fans have renewed hopes. At only 19, the forward is leading Girona to a great La Liga season, hoping to clinch the club’s first-ever Champions League spot. By 2026, he should be experienced enough to carry the hopes of South America’s football-crazy nation.

3. Jan Oblak

Oblak will be remembered as one of the best goalkeepers of the 2010s, in line with Manuel Neuer, Thibaut Courtois, Iker Casillas, and more. But unlike the rest of these names, Oblak didn’t have the luck to have been born in a significant footballing nation. After more than a decade of consistentency at Atlético Madrid, Oblak deserves a shot at the 2026 World Cup. Will Slovenia manage to benefit from the three additional UEFA qualifying slots?

2. David Alaba

The oldest, most decorated player on this list. Having played for two of the world’s biggest clubs in Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, the Austrian defender has done it all and won it all… except playing in a World Cup. Austria have a good enough squad to make it to the tournament.

Evidently, the 2024 European Championships will be the 3rd in a row in which the country participates. But for some reason, when it comes to World Cup qualifiers, the Austrians struggle to make it through. Alaba will turn 34 during the 2026 World Cup, hoping to fulfill his dream and lead his national team to its first performance on the big stage since 1998.

1. Erling Haaland

Sorry, but we won’t have it. Erling Haaland will not join the list in the first paragraph of players who didn’t make it just because their national team was not good enough. For one, Haaland is on a completely different level. In the post Messi-Ronaldo era, he and Mbappé are the best strikers in the world. Secondly, his supporting crew should be good enough to carry Norway to a first World Cup since 1998. If the Manchester City striker will continue the form he has shown since the beginning of the career, he will go down as one of the best players in history.

No excuses, Erling. No excuses, Norway. Make it happen.

Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento in Guadalajara

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