Best XI to never have won the FIFA World Cup
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is fast approaching as fans and players gear up for the global event. The 22nd edition of the World Cup is to be hosted in Qatar in the winter weeks of the year, as fans have been made to wait even longer than usual for Sports' biggest festival.
The World Cup has a history of making or breaking players, as every player dreams of representing their nation at the event and lifting the trophy. Spectators have been blessed to see some spectacular footballers in action at FIFA's global showpiece over the years, to name a few players such as Pele, Diego Maradona, Denis Bergkamp, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario, Andries Iniesta, and many more.
However, not everyone has got their hands on the trophy among all the superstars to play the game of football.
So, let's have a look at the Best XI to never won the World Cup
Oliver Kahn (Germany)
One of the best goalkeepers the game of football has ever seen. The diligent German goalkeeper was renowned for his brilliance on the pitch and also his temper. The former Bayern Munich shot-stopper won eight German titles and one Champions league title.
While playing for Germany's National team, he lifted the 1994 European championship, however, in the three World Cups he was part of, he could got close once to the trophy as Germany reached the finals 2002 FIFA World Cup. Kahn had five clean sheets in the tournament, as he became the first goalkeeper in World Cup history to win the Golden Ball for the best individual performance. However, he would like to forget one such incident in the final, where the German was guilty of gifting Ronaldo Nazario the opener.
Paolo Maldini (Italy)
The AC Milan legend is considered one of the greatest defenders ever to play football. In his trophy-laden playing career of 25 years at the Italian giants AC Milan winning the Serie A seven times and the UEFA Champions League five times (tied with Cristiano Ronaldo for the most all-time).
However, while representing Italy in the World Cups, Maldini's 23 World Cup appearances just stand behind the great Lothar Matthaus of Germany, who featured 25 times. The defender went close to lifting the showpiece in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, in the USA, but the Italians lost on penalties to Brazil.
Ruud Gullit (Netherlands)
The Dutch footballer, considered one of the greatest to grace the game of football, was a versatile player who played in numerous positions during his playing days, normally deployed as an attacking midfielder or second striker.
The former Ballon D'or winner, during his time with the Italian superhouse AC Milan, won three Serie A and two European titles. Meanwhile playing for the Netherlands, he lifted the European Cup in 1988, however, he could replicate the success on the World Cup stage, having just played the 1990 World Cup in Italy, where the Dutch National team crashed out as early as the round of 16.
Arthur Antunes Coimbra, better known as Zico, the Brazilian A Classic No. 10 was an exceptional player with a brilliant technique, dribbling skills, and speed. The playmaker has played for 24 years, representing the Brazil National team three times in World Cups. In the 1982 FIFA World Cup, in Spain, Brazil was named one of the favorites but were eliminated by Italy in the second round in what is considered one of the worst losses in Brazil's football history, where Zico was the highest goalscorer for Brazil scoring 5 in 5 games at Spain.
George Best (Northern Ireland)
The Ballon d'Or at the age of 22, the prolific goalscorer is known for his time at Manchester United. The talented winger was considered by many as one of the greatest dribblers in the history of the game, as he used to tear apart his opponents with spectacular pace, and technical ability. Playing for Manchester United, Best won league titles twice, and the European Cup once.
The prolific goalscorer who was also a style icon for long hair and good looks, had the world at his feet during the peak of his career in the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, playing for Northern Ireland, he is regarded as one of the greatest players never to have played at a World Cup.
Roberto Baggio (Italy)
The former Juventus and AC Milan man played his first World Cup in 1990, held in Baggio's home soil Italy, as he scored twice, including "the goal of the tournament" where Italy finished third with the Bronze medal, meanwhile in the 1994 World Cup, Baggio went into the tournament as the reigning Ballon d'Or holder, as he showcased his dazzling form as Italy reached the finals in the USA, but lost to Brazil on penalty shootout.
The former Italy No. 10 had a lustrous career playing at the club level, winning two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, and a UEFA Cup playing for different Italian clubs, however, he missed out on getting his hands on the World Cup.
Michel Platini (France)
The former UEFA President is a three times Ballon d'Or winner and was a playmaker with quick, versatile, elegant, and technical skills, as he orchestrated attacking plays. The Frenchman was an absolute joy to watch as he collected Serie A twice and won Coppa Italia, European Cup, and European Super Cup once during his time at Juventus. Playing for France's National team, Platini led France to a 1984 European Championship triumph, however, on the World Cup stage, the best was the semifinals of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups losing to West Germany on both occasions.
Ferenc Puskas (Hungary)
The legendary footballer was part of Hungary's 'Golden Team" or "Magnificent Magyars," "Magical Magyars," or "Mighty Magyars". The Hungary National team were dominant in the early 1950s as Ferenc Pukas was their best player, scoring 84 goals in 85 games for his country. The Former Real Madrid man has three European Cups, five Spanish National Championships during his time in Madrid, and five Hungarian National championships to his name.
In his career of 618 games for both club and country the forward has 619 goals, however, the legend could not get hold of the World Cup. the attacker was very close to winning the FIFA World Cup, in 1954, held in Switzerland, however, lost to West Germany 3-2, where he scored the first goal to give Hungary the lead early in the match.
Johan Cruyff (Netherlands)
Johan Cruyff, the man pivot of 'Total Football' is regarded as one of the greatest players and is also counted among the top managers in the history of the game. The Dutchman led the rise of the Netherlands' in the early 1970s and collected three Ballon d'Or trophies during his playing career.
The former Ajax and Barcelona great also became to be known as the ‘Cruyff Turn’ which was first introduced to the world at the 1974 FIFA World Cup, reaching the finals where they lost to West Germany. The World Cup was one major honor the Dutchman failed to win over the course of his trophy-laden career.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner with Five Champions League winning medals, alongside three Premier League, two Laliga and one Serie A title, and one European Championship with Portugal, are some notable mentioned honors of Ronaldo.
The goalscorer, currently leading the chart of most goals on the International stage with 119 goals for Portugal, has his eye on his first World Cup triumph in 2022. The 37-year-old is just missing the World Cup honor into his illusive career, as he will be representing Portugal for the 5th World Cup finals in what seems to be his last one-time.
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Considered the Greatest of All Time, the Argentinian has a ridiculous trophy cabinet, winning six Ballon d'Or, four Champions Leagues, ten La Liga, one Ligue one title, and a Copa America with Argentina are some of his major honors, as his total titles count for 41.
Similar to Ronaldo, Messi is eyeing his first World Cup honor, in Qatar. Having previously came tantalizingly close to lifting the global silverware in 2014 in Brazil, only to lose after an extra time goal by Germany in the final. However, the 22nd edition of the World Cup in Qatar provides probably the last best chance for the Former Barcelona great for his last push for the elusive World Cup.