Top 10 Best Footballers Who Have Never Won the World Cup

Top 10 Best Footballers Who Have Never Won the World Cup

Fred Kennedy
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:13 PM
In this article:
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FIFA World Cup
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C. Ronaldo
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  • The world has been blessed to see some of the best footballers play the beautiful game over the years
  • While some of the players have recorded significant success at both the club and country level, there are some who have suffered heartaches - especially at the World Cup
  • Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi headline a list of top players who have never succeeded on the global stage with their respective countries

Winning trophies is one of the most important parts of a footballer's career.

However, going by past comments from a number of players, there is no greater feeling than winning the World Cup.

And with the 2022 edition of the global tournament on the horizon, several top footballers from the 32 countries that will be competing will be looking to win the showpiece in Qatar.

Cristiano Ronaldo, World Cup, Lionel Messi, George Best, Erik Cantona.
Cristiano Ronaldo disappointed during the UEFA Nations League match between Portugal v Spain at the Estadio Municipal de Braga. Photo by David S. Bustamante.
Source: Getty Images

For many, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who are widely regarded as the world's best players, will be keen to lay their hands on the prestigious gold trophy for the first time.

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While the two have won nearly every available trophy to be won, the World Cup has always been elusive.

Messi came close to lifting the title during the 2014 edition of the World Cup in Brazil but missed out on it by a whisker.

At the time, Messi's Argentina side were silenced 1-0 by Germany in the final to suffer heartbreak.

Mario Gotze was Germany's hero, with the Eintracht Frankfurt striker scoring in the 113th minute to deny La Albicelestes a chance to win the trophy.

So, who are the top players who have never won the World Cup?

10. Eric Cantona

Despite Cantona's illustrious career with Man United, his international journey was not quite it.

The Frenchman scored 20 goals in 45 games for Les Bleus during his time with the national team.

However, he missed a chance to win the World Cup with them in 1998 after he was banned from football for fly-kicking a spectator.

9. Paolo Maldini

The AC Milan legend participated in four World Cups but never won any.

His best chance was in 1994 when Italy lost in the final against Brazil.

8. Zico

A legend in his own right, Zico failed to win the World Cup during his time with Brazil.

7. Eusebio

The Portugal legend was one of the stars of the 1966 World Cup, as he finished top scorer.

However, his heroics were not enough to win him the tournament, as Selecao were bundled out in the semis.

6. Ferenc Puskas

The Hungarian was part of his country's side that perhaps was the best team never to win the World Cup.

They came close to winning the tournament at the 1954 World Cup but lost to Germany in the final.

5. Alfredo Di Stefano

The Real Madrid legend was one of the best during his time.

However, despite his success at the club level, his career on the international level was not it.

He represented three countries, including Argentina, Colombia, and Spain - but never made a World Cup appearance.

4. Johan Cruyff

The Dutch legend had one of the most successful football careers at club level.

But back home in the Netherlands, he could only manage to play in one edition of the World Cup in 1974, where they lost in the final.

3. George Best

His career with Man United was the stuff of dreams.

However, George Best never played in the World Cup as Nothern Ireland never qualified for the tournament during his time with them.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

At 37, the 2022 World Cup represents the best chance for Ronaldo to finally win the tournament.

1. Lionel Messi

Like Ronaldo, Messi has entered the twilight years of his football career.

He will be hoping to lay his hands on the World Cup in Qatar finally.

Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher explains why he wants Messi to win the World Cup

Earlier, Sports Brief reported that former footballer turned pundit Jamie Carragher has boldly stated he hopes Lionel Messi’s Argentina clinches the World Cup.

This, according to Carragher, will likely end the debate on who is the greatest player of all time as the odds would tilt in Messi’s favour.

Carragher has never made it a secret where he stands in the debate on the best-ever player, as he has always insisted Messi had an edge over Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fred Kennedy photo
Fred Kennedy
Fred Kennedy has a Bachelor's degree in journalism (Daystar University), currently working as a Sports Editor. He has more than five years of experience in digital journalism.