– The biggest stars of world football meet at the World Cup. With a few notable exceptions. Like Erling Haland or Mohamed Salah.
When discussing his national team’s World Cup boycott, Erling Haaland had put himself in the clear.
“I would like to play the tournament with Norway. And I hope we will be able to do that at some point,” said the goalscorer, who was playing for Borussia Dortmund at the time. When the world elite meet in Qatar from 20 November, Haaland, who eventually became a world star at Manchester City, will disappear. Norway did not boycott the World Cup, but missed. Not least because their goalkeeper was injured in the last four qualifying games.
After missing the European Championship, it is already the second unsuccessful attempt for Hollande, who will be the most prominent spectator among current top football stars at the World Cup with Mohamed Salah. Liverpool star Salah also played a tragic part in his exit from Egypt. In the decisive duel with Senegal, he missed the first shot on the penalty – irritated by several laser pointers. While Haaland can expect more opportunities at the age of 22, Salah has at least already experienced the World Cup. In Russia in 2018, however, his team was eliminated in the preliminary round, and Salah scored at least both Egypt’s tournament goals.
Ibrahimovic also missing
But Zlatan Ibrahimovic proved you can’t get enough world championships. The unknown Swede, who first participated in the World Cup in 2002 and then played a further four European Championships, returned to the Swedish national team specifically for the World Cup dream. After the end of the playoff against Poland for former Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, he declared: “I’ll keep going as long as I can. You won’t get any other answers because we’re not going to the World Cup.” It seems unlikely that he will be seen in the United States, Mexico and Canada in 2026, even in the case of Avinashi Ibrahimovic. After all, he is about 45 years old.
While Ibrahimovic would have been good for entertainment, many in Qatar will miss the Italians for purely sporting reasons. Squadra Azura won the title at the European Championships held last year. Mainly through strong team spirit, but also with real people. Goalkeepers Gianluigi Donnarumma, Leonardo Bonucci, Leonardo Spinazola, Jorginho and Federico Chiesa were ultimately five in the European Championship All-Star squad. But after failing against underdog North Macedonia, the four-time world champion missed out on a second consecutive World Cup.
Because their national teams didn’t make it, stars like longtime Bayern supporter and current Real Madrid defense chief David Alaba (Austria), Atletico Madrid’s world-class Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak or Manchester City attacker Riyad Mahrez will also be there. missing. The Algerian ranked twelfth in the Ballon d’Or and was the best among the missing after Salah (5th) and Haaland (10th). N’Golo Kante from Chelsea FC, one of the outstanding players when the French won the title four years ago, or would have to see injured Portuguese Diogo Jota of Liverpool FC.
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