These stars are missing: Haaland, Salah and Co. are just spectators of the World Cup

These stars are missing: Haaland, Salah and Co. are just spectators of the World Cup

– The biggest stars of world football meet at the World Cup. With a few notable exceptions.

As a football professional it is never a good feeling to miss the World Cup. The reasons I experienced only four years of highlights as a viewer seem painful in different ways.

It really hurts the injured like Leipzig professional Timo Werner, French star N’Golo Kante and Portugal’s Diogo Jota. It was bitter for the top performers from non-qualified nations, above all Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah – and all the Italians. It is perhaps still bitter for those who were not nominated by their national coaches in the days before the Qatar final.

“We don’t have to talk about the fact that Matt is a big disappointment,” Borussia Dortmund managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke said of their central defender Matt Hummels, being allowed to fly with the German national team. Not there. The 2014 world champion was “very attacked” because he was not taken into account. Outside player Robin Gossens, who shares Hummel’s ailments, told the “Rhenish Post”: “A lifelong dream has exploded for me, it hurts.”

next chance 2026

Internationally, Jadon Sancho (England), Sergio Ramos and Thiago (Spain), Renato Sanches (Portugal) and Ryan Gravenberch (Netherlands) fell through. The next chance in the USA, Mexico and Canada is 2026 – if age allows.

That shouldn’t be a problem for Haaland, the former Dortmunder who is 22. “I want to play the tournament with Norway. And I hope we can do it at some point,” said the scorer, who was still playing for BVB when the World Cup ended. Norway were eliminated in the World Cup qualifiers, not least because Torgarent Haaland was injured in their last four matches.

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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.

But Zlatan Ibrahimovic proved you can’t get enough world championships. The Swedes, who took part in the World Cup for the first time 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.” However In 2026, he will be about 45 years old.

World Cup without European champion

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. In goalkeepers Gianluigi Donnarumma, Leonardo Bonucci, Leonardo Spinazola, Jorginho and Federico Chiesa, five of them were eventually in the All-Star team of the European Championship. But after failing in the playoffs against underdog North Macedonia, the four-time world champions missed out on a second consecutive World Cup.

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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).

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