Top 15 Soccer Players Who Will Never Win a World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is officially the most widely viewed and followed sporting event on the planet, far exceeding even that of the Olympic Games. The tournament has been held every four years since its inaugural competition in 1930, with the exception of 1942 and 1946 when WWII prevented it from being played. Its reputation and renown mean it is widely regarded as the most sought after trophy in world football, and by far the most sought after in the international game.

Given that most players careers are between 15-20 years long and their prime perhaps only five years, the majority do not get the chance to appear in many World Cups. The most World Cups a player has featured in is five, but this is very rare, and most top players will only appear in two or three, and that is only if they originate from a nation with a national team strong enough to qualify.

This is a list of only active players, accounting for both their current ability, previous ability and achievements within the game. Of course, any country could win the World Cup, but by factoring in the players' age and the strength of their national team, we can say with a certain amount of confidence that these players are unlikely to ever win a World Cup. Here are the top 15 players who will never win a World Cup:

15 Petr Cech


14 Henrikh Mkhitaryan


13 Luka Modric

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After a shaky first season at Real Madrid, Luka Modric is now a key man at the Bernabeu. A very gifted playmaker, Modric was deployed largely as an attacking midfielder or out wide at Tottenham, but had been played a little deeper since joining Real Madrid. Modric was named both Tottenham Player of the Year in 2010-11 and La Liga Best Midfielder for 2013-14.

12 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


11 David Alaba


Still only 23 years of age, David Alaba is arguably the best left-back in the world already. The Bayern Munich star has all the attacking attributes required of a modern full-back as well as being sound defensively in a watertight Bayern defense. Alaba is an athletic player but also has fine technique, which has often seen him played in midfield.

10 Arturo Vidal

Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports

Unlike some on this list, Arturo Vidal is likely to play in a couple more World Cups with Chile and has already played in two. Vidal, who has been highly regarded in Europe since joining Bayer Leverkusen in 2007, has won 73 caps for his country. Commonly deployed as a box-to-box midfielder, Vidal has excellent athletic abilities, capable of breaking up play and launching attacks.

9 Yaya Toure

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

8 Ivan Rakitic

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

7 James Rodriguez

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

6 Arjen Robben

Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports

5 Alexis Sanchez

Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports

4 Robert Lewandowski

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

'Created by Klopp, perfected by Pep,' read the recent cover of 'FourFourTwo' magazine, accompanying a picture of the Polish striker who has reached new heights this season. Lewandowski has been one of the most highly regarded forwards in Europe for almost five seasons now, but his 5 goals in 9 minutes in September of this year cemented his place among Europe's elite. Sadly, his national team, Poland, are not among the world or Europe's elite.

3 Gareth Bale

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Welsh national team just qualified for their first major tournament since 1958, but the chances of the winning a World Cup are around nil. Bale is far more likely to never play in a World Cup than to win one, given that Wales have only ever qualified for one World Cup and that was almost 60 years ago.

2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic


1 Cristiano Ronaldo

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A slightly controversial choice perhaps, as Portugal do have some considerable talent at their disposal, but one which has been carefully thought out. The fact is, Ronaldo is 30 already, and having stated his intention to leave the sport before any considerable decline sets in, he is likely to only have one more World Cup left in him. While victory at the 2018 World Cup would be the perfect way to end a magnificent career, Ronaldo will be 33, while Pepe, Bruno Alves, Danny and others will also have aged considerably. The current Portugal squad includes players from the English second tier, showing their lack of talent pool at this moment in time.

All this means Portugal currently have odds of 33/1 to win the 2018 World Cup, likely to be Ronaldo's last, which is longer odds than England, Holland and Colombia, and the same as Russia and Chile.

To conclude, Ronaldo only has one more shot at a World Cup, and most within the game would agree that Portugal's chances in Russia look slim. For this reason his inclusion is justified, and as a three-time Ballon d'Or winner who has scored 449 goals in 639 games, he quite rightly tops this list.

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Top 15 Soccer Players Who Will Never Win a World Cup