Top 11 players who will not be at the World Cup next year
Gareth Bale, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexis Sanchez will lead a cast of superstars whose countries have failed to reach the World Cup, and as a result, will be missing from football’s biggest showpiece.
Wales, Gabon and Chile have all failed to make it through to next summer’s World Cup, after Sanchez’s Chile lost 3-0 to Brazil and were then relying on results, which did not go there way, in other games for qualification.
And there are plenty of other big names that will not be playing next summer.
We take a look at 11 top stars who will be missing at the World Cup next year.
GK: Jan Oblak (Slovenia/Atletico Madrid)
His hopes of appearing at a maiden World Cup were dashed after Slovenia were unable to progress from the qualifying group won by England.
RB: Antonio Valencia (Ecuador/Manchester United)
but The 32-year-old could not inspire Ecuador to what would have been his third World Cup.
CB: Virgil Van Dijk (Holland/Southampton)
He will miss the opportunity to showcase his talents on the biggest stage following Holland’s third-placed finish in UEFA qualifying Group A.
CB: Daley Blind (Holland/Manchester United)
Just like Van Dijk, he will miss the World Cup in Russia, after impressing at the last edition in Brazil.
LB: David Alaba (Austria/Bayern Munich)
Alaba’s international career hasn’t been as illustrious as his Bayern Munich’s, with Austria’s abysmal Euro 2016 campaign his only experience of a major tournament.
CM: Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia/Juventus)
The Juventus midfielder is one of the stellar names on the list of those who will not be in Russia next year.
CM: Arturo Vidal (Chile/Bayern Munich)
The key midfielder, who starred in the last two World Cups, was suspended for Chile’s final qualifier against Brazil and watched on powerless from Munich as his team were eliminated.
RW: Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid)
It has been a positive few years for Wales but the Euro 2016 semi-finalists were pipped to a play-off spot by the Republic of Ireland, meaning Bale’s wait for a first World Cup goes on.
LW: Arjen Robben (Holland/Bayern Munich)
A veteran of three World Cups, Robben announced his retirement from international football shortly after scoring twice against Sweden in the final match of Holland’s unsuccessful qualification campaign.
FW: Alexis Sanchez (Chile/Arsenal)
Chile suffered last-minute heartbreak as they were pushed out of a play-off place when Peru equalised against Colombia, meaning the Arsenal star will not be sprinting up the flanks for La Roja in Russia.
FW: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon/Borussia Dortmund)
Gabon have never qualified for the World Cup and the African country’s shortage of top-class players means talented forward Aubameyang may never have the opportunity to play at one.