Euro 2024: Top 10 Legendary Players Who Have Never Played at the Tournament

Euro 2024: Top 10 Legendary Players Who Have Never Played at the Tournament

Edwin Kiplagat
June 13, 2024 at 12:40 PM
In this article:
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  • The Euros is one of the biggest football tournaments ever, and every European footballer dreams of playing in the tournament
  • Erling Haaland is the biggest name that will be absent in this year's Euros, but there are some legends who never played in it
  • It is hard to believe Rio Ferdinand, George Best, Jari Litmanen, Pablo Rossi, and Alfredo Di Stefano, never played at the Euros

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The Euros is a prestigious tournament every European footballer wants to play, second to the World Cup.

The 2024 Euros kicks off this week and some big names, like Erling Haaland, will be missing the highly anticipated showpiece in Germany.

The Norwegian star is not the only world-class talent who has never played at the Euros.

Erling Haaland, Rio Ferdinand, ENgland, Euros, Geroge Best, Pablo Rossi, Jari Litmanen, Alfredo di Stefano, Kenny Dalglish, Ryan Giggs, Martin Odegaard, Euro 2024, Eusebio, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Norway
England's Rio Ferdinand and Norway's Erling Haaland are some of the talented players who never played at the Euros. Photos by Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar and Sebastian Widmann - UEFA.
Source: Getty Images

The European championships occur once every four years, so players work hard to represent their countries at the tournament.

Haaland was unable to do so with Norway and will be watching the tournament from the couch for the next 30 days.

Over the years, some iconic names have missed the tournament for various reasons. Here are the top 10 world-class players who have never graced the Euros.

Legendary players who've never played at Euros

Erling Haaland

The young Manchester City striker has missed the last two Euros. Norway failed to get past qualifying, and he will be 27 by the time Euro 2028 comes. He can still play at the tournament, but it is odd that a world-class talent like him will be absent in Germany.

Rio Ferdinand

The Manchester United legend is considered one of the best defenders in Premier League history. He played at four World Cup tournaments but missed the 2004 Euros due to a ban for missing a drug test. In 2008, just after captaining Man United to UEFA Champions League glory, England failed to qualify.

Martin Odegaard

The Arsenal star is loving his football right now. His partnership with Haaland in a Norwegian jersey hasn't resulted in a Euros qualification. His country last played in a major tournament in 2000, per Planet Football.

George Best

The late Man United icon is regarded as one of the greatest British footballers ever. Northern Ireland never reached the World Cup or the Euros during his playing days.

Kenny Dalglish

The Liverpool icon played at three World Cup tournaments but didn't compete in the Euros. After his retirement in 1990, Scotland qualified for their first continental showpiece two years later.


He is one of Portugal's icons and was considered one of the best players in the world at some point in his career. He never played at the Euros, but his country has played in every major tournament since the turn of the millennium. Eusebio played at the 1966 World Cup, and his country played in their first Euros in 1984, 13 years after his retirement.

Alfredo Di Stefano

Di Stefano never played at the World Cup or the Euros. Spain withdrew in 1960, and the late forward missed the 1964 edition, which La Roja won. He is considered football royalty.

Pablo Rossi

Italy's 1982 World Cup triumph was largely due to Rossi. He didn't participate in the 1980 edition because he was banned for match-fixing, and his nation failed to qualify for the 1984 edition.

Ryan Giggs

The Welshman is one of the Premier League's greatest and most decorated players. The Man United icon played 64 times for Wales, but his country didn't qualify during his playing days.

Jari Litmanen

Litmanen is considered Finland's best-ever player. He was brilliant for Ajax and Liverpool, but international success evaded him. He played 137 times for his country, but his country never qualified for a major tournament during his playing career.

Honourable mentions: Nemjanja Vidic, David Ginola, Edin Dzeko.

Best defenders at Euro 2024

Sports Brief also reported on the top 5 defenders at Euro 2024, with Virgil Van Dijk leading the list.

Germany's Antonio Rudiger, England's Kyle Walker, and Portugal star, Ruben Dias, are also included.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.