5 great scorers who never won the football World Cup

For a footballer, there is nothing quite like winning the World Cup for the country. Many of the game’s most iconic players like Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, have had the privilege of winning the World Cup. 


However, there are plenty of all-time great scorers of the game who have never won soccer’s most coveted prize. There are some amazing football players, the greatest scorers of football, who could never win the World Cup trophy and while this doesn’t mean they aren’t legends, it does leave us with a strong feeling of what it ‘could have been’. Here is a list of 5 such players.

 

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Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

One of the greatest scorers of football, Cristiano Ronaldo has won the UEFA Euro Cup with Portugal in 2016, three Premier League titles, two La Liga titles, the Champions League five times, and the Ballon d’Or five times. One of the most decorated players in the game’s history is missing one major accomplishment, that is, the World Cup. He will be 37 by the time Qatar World Cup is played and it seems unlikely that he will participate in the tournament, even if Portugal qualifies. 

 

 

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Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Lionel Messi’s Argentina were beaten 4-3 by France in the last 16 in 2018 World Cup, and having prematurely retired from international football in 2016, this is likely to be the 31-year-old’s last World Cup appearance. The closest he came to lifting the World Cup came in 2014, an extra-time defeat by Germany in Brazil. If our worst fears turn out to be true, Lionel Messi will not be playing the next World Cup and hence it will be the trophy that ‘the best player to play the game’, would never be able to lay his hands on. 

 

 

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Ferenc Puskas (Hungary)

Losing the World Cup final to West Germany with the Hungary team in 1954 was one of Ferenc Puskas’ most disappointing moments in his professional soccer career. Playing until he was 39, the top-level player scored 514 club goals within 530 appearances. Regarded to be one of the greatest of all time, Puskas career as a forward was one of the most memorable ones to date. During the 1954 World Cup, he was named the best player of the tournament without winning the Cup, which is still regarded to be one of the biggest World Cup upsets. Plus, he won three out of the five European Cups he attended in eight years, as well as five straight La Liga titles.

 

 

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Eusebio (Portugal)

Eusebio played in one World Cup, but made his mark, scoring a tournament-high nine goals and leading Portugal to a third-place finish in 1966. The Mozambican-born Portuguese forward scored an unbelievable 423 goals in 431 appearances at club level and another 41 for the Portuguese national team. Most known for his technique, speed, and spot-on shot, Eusebio was an incredible goal scorer and a groundbreaking athlete. Nicknamed Black Panther, Eusebio is still Portugal’s most renowned player.

 

 

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)

Zlatan played his football for the European giants like Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, A.C. Milan, PSG and Manchester United. One of the prolific scorers in the history of the game, Ibrahimovic also has netted 62 goals for his native Sweden, but unfortunately, there was never enough talent around him to make winning a World Cup a possibility. With Ibrahimovic, Sweden did not qualify for the World Cup in 2010 and 2014 and it’s only strange that without him, they have reached the quarterfinal this time. He participated in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup, as well, but the team could only make it to the round of 16, both the times.

 

Didier Deschamps takes home the Best Coach of the Year Award

Didier Deschamps takes home the Best Coach of the Year Award

2018 World Cup winning Manager Didier Deschamps took the FIFA Best Coach award home for guiding Les Blues to World Cup glory in Russia. Deschamps became only the third player and manager to Win Football’s most prestigious competition both as a Player and a Manager, Joining Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer who achieved the feat with Brazil and West Germany respectively. 

Deschamps Coached the French side to their 3rd World Cup and his second (As player and Coach). The Former Juventus, Marseille, and Chelsea Midfielder has now had a pretty successful career as a Player as well as a Manager and has now added another feather to his cap. Deschamps received the award from Fellow Frenchman Arsene Wenger and was visibly delighted when Wenger called out “Didier Deschamps” from the Envelope.

Deschamps credited his fellow Nominees “I would like to thank Zinedine Zidane and Zlatko Dalic. They are both winners,” He Further went on to thank his players “We are nothing without our players. I would like to thank the whole team. They worked hard to get me here tonight.” France Won the World Cup in Russia back in July after they emerged victorious against an inspired Croatian Team with 4-2 Scoreline.

Deschamps faced some tough competition from his fellow nominees with Compatriot Zinedine Zidane winning his third consecutive UEFA Champions League Title with Now-Former team Real Madrid. Zlatko Dalic guided underdogs Croatia through to the World Cup Final, Step by Step taking a team that wasn’t even regarded as contenders to a World Cup Final. But in the end, it was almost expected that the Frenchman would take the award home, Considering Germany World Cup winning Coach Joachim Low took the trophy home in 2014 after Die Mannschaft won the World Cup. Didier Deschamps definitely deserves all the accolades coming his way and the Frenchman should enjoy this moment.  

FIFA FIFPro World XI 2018: Who made the Cut?

FIFA FIFPro World XI 2018: Who made the Cut?

The FIFA FIFPro World XI for the 2017/18 Season along with a whole host of awards was announced last night at The Best FIFA Awards ceremony. This year’s World XI comprised of a range of stars debutants and a few surprises. So, let’s find out who made the cut and who didn’t!

GK- David De Gea 

David De Gea has been Manchester United’s Best Player for a few years now and definitely deserves a spot on this team. But what confused a lot of the fans was that Thibaut Courtois won the Best Goalkeeper award but still couldn’t make the best XI in the World. Strange.

LB- Marcelo

Marcelo made the team again. No Wonder no one at Twitter cared to give the Left-Back any individual attention. The Brazilian has easily been the best Left-back in the World and is a mainstay in the FIFA FIFPro World XI.

CB- Raphael Varane

The Frenchman was the best Centre-Back at the World Cup and has really grown alongside Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid. Well deserved.

CB- Sergio Ramos

Seems like a Real Madrid backline doesn’t it? Well, Sergio Ramos has made the team 9 times and is in many fans’ opinion the best Centre-back in the World. No Surprises he made the team then.

RB- Dani Alves

Probably the most surprising inclusion in The FIFA FIFPro World XI, Dani Alves had an average Season with PSG, didn’t play the World Cup and has had an average Season. In my opinion, his Club-Mate Thomas Meunier deserved a spot ahead of him.

CDM- N’Golo Kante

Kante has just gone from Strength to Strength. Such a Likeable and Hard-Working Player. The Frenchman truly deserves all the praise in the World!

CM- Luka Modric

No Surprises here! The World’s Best Player has to make the World’s Best XI. Modric is the Creator-In-Chief here and the forwards will be mighty pleased to get his service.

CAM- Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi didn’t attend the event but Barca’s Talisman made the team for the 12th consecutive time. He may not have made the top 3 but I’ve got a feeling that Messi ain’t done yet.

LW- Eden Hazard

The Belgian has been prolific for Chelsea over the last few Seasons and took the World by a storm at the World Cup in Russia. Hazard is considered to be the best Player in the Premier League by many and his inclusion is no surprise.

ST- Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo, like Messi, has made his 12th appearance in the World XI and coincidentally like Messi didn’t attend the Awards Ceremony. Ronaldo has had a pretty turbulent week and maybe a 12th appearance in the World XI is exactly what he needs as motivation.

RW- Kylian Mbappe

World Cup Winner, Two-time Ligue 1 Champion, Golden Ball winner, and now Part of The FIFA FIFPro World XI and he’s still a freaking teenager. For Kylian Mbappe the sky is the Limit!

UEFA to introduce third European Competition from 2021

UEFA to introduce third European Competition from 2021

A third UEFA club competition is set to be introduced from the 2021-22 season alongside the Champions League and Europa League from 2021.

European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli told his members at a meeting in Split that the new competition would bring the “overall number of clubs” involved in UEFA club competition to 96. Under the new format, the Europa League‘s group stage will be reduced from 48 teams to 32, with the new competition and the Champions League will have the same number. European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli, who is also on UEFA’s executive committee, said: “the green light has been given“. He did not give any more information on how the tournament would be organized.

Agnelli, who is also director of Juventus, holds one of two seats allocated to club representatives on the UEFA executive committee, which will next meet on September 27 in Nyon, Switzerland. In his opening address at the ECA’s biannual general meeting on Tuesday, Agnelli said: “Pending approval of the UEFA executive committee, the green light has been given to introduce a third competition, bringing the overall number of clubs to 96, as of the 2021/22 season.” 

Europe actually used to have a third competition for winners of domestic cup tournaments, known as the Cup Winners’ Cup, but it was abolished in 1999. Domestic cup winners now enter the Europa League. The ECA has previously called for more clubs to be involved in European competitions and a “greater certainty of matches” for participating clubs. UEFA has made little mystery of the fact it has been viewing at ways to raise the Europa League’s profile while also giving more clubs a shot at the European championships, and therefore its increasing financial advantages.

Two weeks ago in Monaco, UEFA said it is “constantly reviewing” its competitions and has been “discussing various ideas within its Club Competitions Committee before any decision on potential changes would be made”. Back then, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin mentioned that proposals were “just discussions“. Agnelli also repeated his call from last year for a severe overhaul of the international match calendar, which is brought up by global soccer body FIFA and allows dates for national team matches. 

“A detailed assessment of the existing international match calendar is required prior to presenting a new model post-2024. The current model needs modernizing,” added Agnelli.

The European Leagues, the organization that represents 32 leagues across Europe including the Premier League, Scottish Premiership, and EFL, said they would fight the plans. Deputy general secretary Alberto Colombo said: “We are not happy about the process at all, because this is something that has been prepared and cooked up by UEFA and the ECA without proper engagement.”

Overall, the prospect of a whole new competition brings excitement to some and fear to some. Whether or not the new competition will actually see daylight is a tough question to answer as of now, however, it is worth acknowledging the fact that UEFA is planning reformations in the internationally loved frame of European football.

ISL – A step towards the right direction

ISL

The Indian Super League tournament began with a great start. Launched by IMG Reliance—a joint venture between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd and IMG, a global sports, fashion and media business—and Rupert Murdoch’s Star India Pvt. Ltd in partnership with the All India Football Federation, it has obtained the support of some big shots ranging from sports stars and celebrities and popular cricket players.

The owners of the team of ISL announced that the tournament could lead to a start of a revolution within Indian Football. India has a history of domestic club football, supported by passionate fan clubs, especially in places like West Bengal, Goa, Punjab, and Kerala. There have also been some pretty good performances by the team in the 1950s and 1960s at an international level.

But India’s ranking has been pretty bad lately. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) ranks India 145th among 207 soccer-playing nations. A feat that is pretty embarrassing for a country that loves football. So in order to rectify this, the ISL is the latest attempt to revolutionize the sport in India.

The ISL is taken after the IPL, a two-month long tournament. IPL is a franchise owned by Bollywood celebrities, adding to its popularity and managing to attract cricketers from around the world. The problem with ISL is the timing. The star backing will find it difficult to attract players from around the world due to the tournament happening in September to November. That’s when the world’s top leagues are seen in action.

The league also needs to make sure that the quality of Indian football, primarily that of youth football is popularized in the country. Something that the I-League has failed to do. It will be a challenge due to the duration of the tournament, but hopefully, they manage to pull it off. ISL must also that the sport is treated on a professional level and the players like Sunil Chhetri and other talented ones are given the best of treatment. The team must be able to earn a pretty good living from the game.

The ISL is definitely a step towards a revolution in football, albeit being a small one. The Indian football team still has a long way to go before they are able to play with the top leagues. Now it is up to the AIFF, the Sports Ministry, the Media, and even us football aficionados, to make sure we bring about the much-needed revolution in Indian Football.

Lack of Indian football players in European Leagues

India Football Pitch

Much like cricket is a religion in India, football too has a special place in this country. However, having a special place is not enough if you can’t make in it the big leagues. India has yet to make its breakthrough in football like it has done in cricket. Here are some of the reasons why our Indian football team hasn’t made it into European football leagues yet.

Making a move towards the European Leagues is quite hard for they are debatably the best in the world. To begin with, The absence of a decent platform at the basic level. Apart from the two academies, Tata Football Academy and the SAIL Football Academy, there is no proper coaching to properly groom the youngsters. The academies that do exist do have good coaches but they don’t amount to much without the basic technical staff. This is one of the main reasons behind India’s stunted growth in this sport. 

Next, we have to poor maintenance of the football fields. Other than Salt Lake and Ambedkar stadium where the grass is well maintained and evenly cut, the turfs here are horrible to play on with their brown patches and uneven grass. This, in turn, causes injury to the players making them unable to play well. On the other hand, the top European clubs have well-maintained stadiums for their players that allow them to perform their best. So when Indian players go abroad to play, they are unable to adapt to their fields to perform well.

Thirdly, there is the lack of exchange programmes between India and the European clubs which could benefit us and give us the push we need to be on among the top teams in football. However, it is a suggestion that may not come true anytime soon due to lack of proper funding. The international exposure will bode well for our team and make us reach new heights, not to mention the coaches who can learn new techniques to help the players perform better.

And finally, the standard of I-League is not up to par with the European standards as the I League has not updated its system in over a decade despite being supported by corporate sponsors. The timing of the matches does not correspond with the climate of India. The humidity and the heat effects the players making them sluggish and easily exhausted. Furthermore, the foreign players in our team, apart from Toglay and Odafe, are not up to the mark and if we don’t start interacting with the best, we may never reach the goals we set for ourselves.

Up until now only 5 of our players have performed professionally in the European clubs, Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu being among them. Chhetri had signed a three-year deal with the Mittal group co-owned club, Queens Park Rangers. But his transfer from Dempo to QPR delayed due to work permit issues, which appeared due to India not being among the world’s top 70 countries, a rule that has become extremely harsh today. A similar feat was met with Gurpreet.

Former India captain Renedy Singh said, “It’s so unfair to have a ranking issue. They need to look into the quality of players then national team ranking. It would help if talented players like Sunil [Chhetri] and others make it big.”

 Although it is commendable of us to reach the 101st ranking from 173rd in India’s FIFA ranking, we still have a long way to go. It is not enough to be the 11th best team in Asia as we are still in the backwaters of football.