FIFA Club World Cup

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is only a few months away now and football fans are already counting down towards it. Football’s showpiece event will see the best national teams in the game battling it out on the biggest stage of all for the biggest prize in the beautiful game.

Over the past year, we’ve seen nations all across the world competing to become one of the 32 teams to make it to the World Cup. While many of football’s most high-profile national teams and players have secured qualification, a few of the very best won’t feature at the World Cup.

This is indeed sad news for football fans as we want to see all of our favorite stars at the biggest tournament in the world of football. But fate is cruel and we don’t always get what we want. Without further ado, let’s take a look at five of the best players who won’t be playing the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

#5 David Alaba (Austria)

David Alaba has had an extremely successful career at club level. He joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2021 after a glorious stint at Bayern Munich. Alaba won the La Liga title and the Champions League in his debut season with Los Blancos.

However, fortune has not been too kind to Alaba in international football. The versatile Austria international has never played at a World Cup and he will have to wait four more years to try his luck again.

Austria made it to the playoff semi-finals this time around but fell to a 2-1 loss to Wales. Alaba is arguably the greatest Austrian footballer of all time and it’s rather unfortunate that he might end his career without having played at the World Cup.

#4 Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

Riyad Mahrez was one of the most in-form forwards in the Premier League in the 2021-22 season. The Algeria international possesses exquisite technique and is as unpredictable and elusive a winger as any we’ve seen in recent times.

Unfortunately, we won’t get to see Mahrez’s magic at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Algeria suffered a 2-1 loss to Cameroon in the second leg of their playoffs and lost on away goals (2-2 agg.).

It was a stoppage time winner from Karl Toko Ekambi that sent Algeria packing and it was a brutal way to go out for Mahrez’s side.

#3 Marco Verratti (Italy)

Marco Verratti is one of the best midfielders of his generation. The Italian is a technically gifted player in the mold of modern day greats like Xavi and Andres Iniesta. The diminutive Italian is excellent at pulling the strings from midfield and orchestrating play for his team.

On this list, Verratti represents a host of extremely talented Italian footballers who won’t be playing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Azzurri, who were crowned champions of Europe in the summer of 2021, fell to North Macedonia in a qualifying playoff match.

North Macedonia scored the deciding goal in the dying embers of the game and it was every bit as brutal as it sounds to take for the Italian players and their fans.

#2 Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

Four years ago, it was Mohamed Salah’s last-minute winner against Congo from the penalty spot that fired Egypt to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately, the Liverpool legend could not inspire his national team to World Cup qualification this time around.

It is rather sad that one of the most in-form players in the world won’t be playing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Salah is not only one of the best forwards plying their trade in Europe but is also one of the superstars of the game at present.

He scored 31 goals and provided 16 assists in 51 appearances across all competitions for Liverpool last season. Egypt lost to Senegal 3-1 on penalties in the final round of the African Qualifiers.

#1 Erling Haaland (Norway)

Erling Haaland is one of the best footballers in the world right now and he is just 21. He already has a huge fan following thanks to his incredible goalscoring abilities.

After a thoroughly productive stint with Borussia Dortmund, Haaland has now secured a big-money switch to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. However, Haaland couldn’t propel the Norwegian national to World Cup qualification.

The young striker scored five goals but Norway finished behind the Netherlands and Turkey in Group G and failed to make the playoffs.

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