Ranking the 10 Best Non-World Cup Players in Serie A
The World Cup is rightly seen as the pinnacle of football, but not every top player is represented at the tournament.
Certain star players were left out of their national team squads for Brazil, while others were not lucky enough to come from countries that qualified.
Injury robbed the tournament of other high-quality footballers.
Italy's Serie A is the home of dozens of players who featured at the World Cup, but here are 10 of the best who did not appear in Brazil.
10. Jonathan Biabiany
Though he has never represented France at full international level, pacy winger Jonathan Biabiany is an experienced Serie A campaigner who has played for five different Italian clubs.
According to Football Italia, reports in the Italian press indicate that his first Serie A team, Inter, are interested in bringing him back into the fold, but whether he moves to Milan or stays on at current club Parma, the 26-year-old's career on the peninsula looks set to continue.
9. Antonio Di Natale
If Antonio Di Natale had followed through on his plans to retire at the end of 2013-14, Italian football would have lost one of its most reliable hit men.
The Udinese striker has 193 Serie A goals to his name, though has never been as prolific at international level.
The 36-year-old retired from the national team after Euro 2012, having appeared 42 times for the Azzurri, but, thankfully, we will see more of him in club colours.
8. Ashley Cole
A controversial omission from England's squad for Brazil triggered Ashley Cole's international retirement, but now he is about to embark on his first foray into foreign club football with Roma.
At 33, the left-back's best days might be behind him. After spending his entire career to this point in the English Premier League, the challenges of performing week in and week out in a different league could well see the veteran rediscover some of his best form, however.
7. Mauro Icardi
Young Argentine Mauro Icardi appears to be improving his game at a remarkable rate, so much so that he has the potential to become a world-class striker within the next few years.
He scored nine league goals for Inter last campaign, and his pre-season form this time around indicates he could be setting Serie A on fire in 2014-15.
The 21-year-old was never really in the running for a spot in Alejandro Sabella's Argentina squad for the 2014 World Cup, however, due to the plethora of talent available for selection.
He may become a regular in the Albiceleste shirt if his rise continues.
6. Juan Jesus
It was something of a surprise that Juan Jesus, a rising star of defenders, was left out of Brazil's squad for the World Cup.
The 23-year-old was unknown to many Serie A fans when he was signed by Inter in January of 2012, but since then, he has established himself as a regular starter for the Nerazzurri and forged a reputation as a tough, technically gifted centre-back.
He has played only four times for his country thus far, but if he continues to develop, he will surely be in the running for the 2018 World Cup.
5. Francesco Totti
The eternal class of Francesco Totti ensures he is still a major force in club football even though he has not played international football since winning the World Cup in 2006.
At one stage, former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli appeared to be considering calling up Totti for Brazil, but the 37-year-old did not make the cut.
A tough tournament may have been beyond the trequartista at this stage of his career, but Roma will still need their captain's creativity if they are to compete for the title.
4. Juan Manuel Vargas
Juan Manuel Vargas, Fiorentina's all-action midfielder, has scored 16 goals in 125 appearances for the club, but he is perhaps best known for his defensive grit.
Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, his Peru side finished seventh in CONMEBOL qualifying and thus missed out on Brazil 2014.
One of Serie A's most reliable midfield engines had to watch the tournament from home, but he will be back in action this season for Vincenzo Montella's outfit.
3. Giuseppe Rossi
American-born Italian international Giuseppe Rossi returned to Serie A in 2013 after a prolific spell at Villarreal in La Liga.
His fine form continued for Fiorentina, where he scored 16 goals in just 21 appearances in 2013-14.
He did miss four months of the season with a right knee injury but returned to action in May.
The 27-year-old made Prandelli's preliminary 30-man Azzurri squad but was cut from the final 23-man group.
With a full pre-season behind him, he should be back to his best for the Viola in 2014-15.
2. Mehdi Benatia
Despite being linked with a number of Premier League clubs over the summer, Mehdi Benatia will likely remain at Roma.
The lanky Moroccan played no part in the World Cup, as his country missed out on qualification, but he has forged a reputation as a highly valuable defender over a number of seasons in Serie A with both Roma and Udinese.
As an intelligent, tough and technically gifted centre-back, Benatia ticks all the boxes. Roma may have trouble hanging on to the 27-year-old for more than a few months, but he is sure to remain a key member of their side for the start of this campaign at least.
1. Carlos Tevez
Never once selected for Argentina while Alejandro Sabella was in charge, Carlos Tevez was left out of the Albiceleste World Cup squad to the chagrin of his many fans in his home country.
Though he was keen to not unbalance a side that had performed so well during their qualifying campaign, there were times throughout the tournament that Sabella could have used some extra spark in attack—something Tevez is certainly able to provide.
Supporters of Juventus will be hoping the diminutive forward can repeat his feats of last season, as he scored 19 league goals and gave the Bianconeri a real cutting edge in the attacking third.
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