A host of star-studded payers will be absent from the World Cup in Qatar with may fans gutted not to see their heroes in action.
Whether it be due to injury or their country failing to qualify, some of the word’s best footballers won’t be gracing the turf in Qatar.
The likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe will all be competing for the game’s biggest trophy in the Gulf nation.
Argentina, Brazil and England and defending champions France are among the favourites to win the World Cup.
But one country that stands no chance of winning is Italy, after they failed to qualify just a year after winning Euro 2020.
Putting together a starting XI that could arguably win the World Cup made up those missing out in Qatar include, talkSPORT’s team has won 12 Champions League titles between them.
Three France stars are included, along with three Liverpool legends and one English defender.
Here’s how our line-up looks…
Gianluigi Donnarumma – goalkeeper – Italy
The Paris Saint-Germain shot-stopper starred in Italy’s Euro 2020 run where he saved two penalties in the shootout final win against England.
He has featured in 22 games in all competitions, and would have went into the World Cup in fine form having kept ten clean sheets so far.
But Roberto Mancini’s side failed to qualify for the global tournament to make it two World Cups in a row Italy have missed out on.
Reece James – right-back – England
A huge blow for the Three Lions, James failed to be named in Gareth Southgate’s squad as a result of his knee injury.
The Chelsea ace revealed how he felt devastated after being left out after failing to fit enough in time.
Though he did hint on social media he feels aggrieved to have been omitted after liking a tweet about him missing out.
Sergio Ramos – centre-back – Spain
Despite Spain qualifying for Qatar, boss Luis Enrique surprisingly decided against calling up Sergio Ramos.
That is despite the 36-year-old being in great form for PSG having featured in 20 games this term – seven more than he managed last season.
Ramos, who won the 2010 World Cup along with two European Championships, is Spain’s most capped player of all time with 180 appearances.
David Alaba – centre-back – Austria
One of the best defenders of his generation, Real Madrid ace Alaba has won ten Bundesliga titles, one LaLiga and three Champions Leagues.
But he has never appeared at a World Cup, with Austria’s last appearance coming in 1998.
His former Real teammate Gareth Bale dumped Austria out of qualifyingin the playoff semi-final after banging in a delightful double.
Andy Robertson – left-back – Scotland
Just like Austria, Scotland crashed out of the play-off semi-final after losing to Ukraine in the summer.
Recognised as one of the world’s best left-backs, the Liverpool defender is yet to play in a World Cup.
Paul Pogba – centre midfield – France
A knee injury has stopped the France star from helping Les Bleus defend their World Cup crown.
Pogba is yet to feature this season since joining Juventus on a free transfer after running his contract down at Manchester United.
The four-time Serie A champion suffered the blow in July after tearing his meniscus.
N’Golo Kante – centre midfield – France
Just like Pogba, the Chelsea cult hero will play no part in Qatar due to a hamstring injury.
The ex-Leicester man was forced to undergo surgery with the 31-year-old to be out of action until 2023.
He hasn’t featured for the Blues since the dramatic 2-2 draw against Tottenham in August.
Christopher Nkunku – attacking midfield – France
Completing the midfield is another France star, with Nkunku arguably the biggest blow due to his goal threat after picking up a recent knee injury.
Able to also operate as a centre-forward, the 25-year-old has fired in 17 goals from just 23 matches this season.
Despite his setback, it is believed that Chelsea remain on the verge of securing his services in 2023.
Mohamed Salah – right winger – Egypt
The Liverpool maestro couldn’t help send his nation into back-to-back World Cups after missing his penalty in the shootout defeat to Mane in the play-off.
Salah would have gone into the tournament in red hot form having chipped in with 14 goals and five assists this campaign.
Sadio Mane – left winger – Senegal
Mane had sent Senegal to Qatar after his winning penalty knocked Egypt and ex-Liverpool teammate Salah out of the World Cup.
But in a cruel twist of fate, the Bayern Munich forward will play no part after picking up an injury while on club duty.
He was still selected for the squad, who were planning to use witch doctors in an attempt to cure him.
After failing to shake off the knock, Senegal announced earlier in the week how he would miss the World Cup.
Erling Haaland – striker – Norway
The Manchester City marksman is arguably the highest-profile player to not be at the World Cup after Norway failed to qualify.
Haaland has been Europe’s standout footballer this season where he is currently leading the European Golden Shoe race.
He has banged in a whopping 18 Premier League goals from just 13 outings in the English top-flight.
talkSPORT World Cup 2022 Coverage
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