Best XI not playing at the FIFA World Cup

Which of the world's top talents are not at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia?

Let's have a look at the Best XI absentees.


Jan Oblak

The 25-year-old goalkeeper has been immense for La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid this past season. He made 37 league appearances for the Rojiblancos and kept a staggering 22 clean sheets.

However, he will not be at the World Cup because his native Slovenia finished fourth in their qualification group, which included England.


Marcos Alonso

The energetic Chelsea wing-back failed to reproduce the form that helped his club win the Premier League title in 2016/17 this past season, but he may still feel a bit hard-done-by to miss out on selection for Spain.

He scored seven goals for the Blues in the top flight this past campaign. La Liga stars Jordi Alba and Dani Carvajal made the cut ahead of him.

Antonio Valencia

The veteran defender has been one of Manchester United's unsung heroes this past season.

His reliability has made him a permanent fixture in Jose Mourinho's side, but his beloved Ecuador couldn't qualify for the global showpiece, which means the 32-year-old has most likely participated in his last World Cup.

Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool's big-money January acquisition is among a host of incredibly talented Dutch players who will not be on display at the World Cup due to the Netherlands missing out on qualification.

The former Southampton star has fast become Jurgen Klopp's most reliable centre-back, helping them to the UEFA Champions League final this past season.


Arturo Vidal

The combative Bayern Munich midfielder will be watching from the sidelines when the tournament kicks off in Russia.

Chile missed out on qualification, which has relegated Vidal to being a spectator.

The 31-year-old has been a powerhouse for Die Roten over the last three seasons and helped them to three consecutive league titles.

Radja Nainggolan

Belgium's World Cup squad is packed with midfield talent, but Radja Nainggolan took the news of his non-selection hard nonetheless.

The AS Roma star announced that he will be retiring from international football after hearing about his omission.

Kingsley Coman

Coman is another Bayern Munich star who will be on holiday during the tournament. The 21-year-old Frenchman just couldn't quite squeeze into Didier Deschamps' star-studded Les Bleus squad.

He has come on in leaps and bounds at Die Roten this past season and with youth on his side he will most likely play at a World Cup in the future.

Marek Hamsik

The Slovakia captain put in another stellar effort for Napoli this past season, helping them to a runners-up placing in the Serie A behind the Juventus juggernaut.

Hamsik pulled the strings in midfield for Maurizio Sarri's Partenopei in 2017/18. However, Slovakia failed to qualify for the global showpiece.


Gareth Bale

His name was on everyone's lips after the UEFA Champions League final, which saw him score with an outrageous overhead kick in Real Madrid's 3-1 win over Liverpool last month.

However, the Welshman won't be present due to The Dragons’ shortcomings in qualification. Bale has bagged 29 goals in 70 appearances for Wales.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The Gabon international enjoyed another sensational season both at Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal, following his January move.

Aubameyang scored 13 goals in 16 Bundesliga games for the BVB in the first half of the season, before bagging 10 in 13 Premier League games for Arsenal.

Unfortunately for the neutral onlooker, he will be absent as Gabon couldn't make the cut.

Leroy Sane

One of the biggest absentees for Germany will be Manchester City star Leroy Sané.

The 22-year-old winger enjoyed a fantastic second season under Pep Guardiola, scoring 10 goals and providing 15 assists to help City dominate the Premier League and clinch the title at a canter.

His non-selection took many by surprise considering the young man's wealth of talent.