Ryan Giggs and the 10 Best Players Never to Have Played in a World Cup

Thomas Atzenhoffer@socceratzCorrespondent IISeptember 28, 2011

Ryan Giggs and the 10 Best Players Never to Have Played in a World Cup

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    Winning a World Cup with your country is the perhaps the greatest achievement in football, and possibly the greatest achievement an athlete can aspire to as a team player.

    For the players listed in this slideshow is it the one achievement that all of them failed to enjoy or even have a chance to achieve.

    Many of them suffered through agonizing failed World Cup Qualification runs that ended in heartbreak after heartbreak as they fell just short on multiple occasions.

    Some players may feel their careers are not complete without a World Cup victory. Many of the those you are about to see could claim that frustrated failure in their career as we run down the 10 best players never to play in a World Cup.

John Toshack

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    The former Liverpool great and two-time manager of the Welsh National Team, John Toshack was one of several massively talented Welshmen that never made it to a World Cup.

    Toshack played 471 career league games scoring 195 goals between Cardiff City, Liverpool and Swansea City. His national team career saw him earn 40 caps scoring 13 goals for the Dragons.

Valentino Mazzola

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    Italy's Valentino Mazzola is the godfather of the all around midfielder. His tragic death at age 30 in the Superga Air Disaster was one of the worst sports disasters of the 20th century.

    The plane carrying Mazzola and his fellow players from Italian side Torino crashed on its return from a match in Lisbon. Only one player from the first team would survive.

    Believed to be one of the greatest of all time, Mazzola never made it to a World Cup for Italy, although he won four Scudettos as the captain of Torino.

José Manuel Moreno

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    Argentina's José Manuel Moreno made 489 club appearances scoring 224 goals during his club career that saw him play for the majority of his life for River Plate.

    He never made it to the World Cup with Argentina but made 34 performances scoring 19 goals for his nation.

Bernd Schuster

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    Bernd Schuster is one of the greatest German midfielders of all time.

    He had the opportunity to have made a World Cup appearance for his national team had he not retired from the international scene at only 24 due to differences with the West German National team's manager.

    His best playing years were seen between FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. In total he scored 105 goals in 445 games.

George Weah

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    The closest Liberian and AC Milan great George Weah ever got to a World Cup was in 2002 when his country missed qualification by a single point.

    In his career, Weah made 474 total appearances scoring 228 goals and remains the only Ballon d'Or winner never to play in a World Cup. His international career consisted of 60 caps and 22 goals for his nation.

Ian Rush

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    Another Welshman on the list is once again a Liverpool legend by the name of Ian Rush. His club career saw him total 602 games and 254 goals.

    He is one of the Dragons' most capped players in history with 73 while scoring 28 goals for his country. He barely missed the 1982 World Cup when his nation was knocked out on goal difference.

Eric Cantona

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    Eric Cantona is one of the biggest cult icons in the history of Manchester United. He also was an outstanding player for France when he was able to stay on the good side of his national team managers.

    His club career saw 369 appearances and 131 goals across the board. He had 45 caps for France, scoring 20 goals.  

    He missed the World Cup in both 1990 and 1994 due to not qualifying and was eventually pushed out of the rotation altogether.

Ryan Giggs

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    Equating Ryan Giggs with the Energizer Bunny might not be as crazy of a comparison as it sounds. The soon to be 38-year-old Welshman just keeps on going as if age doesn't matters.

    The all-time appearance record holder for the English Premier League and a member of the 100 plus goals club, he has played in a total of more than 600 matches throughout his career.

    Giggs played for the Welsh national side from 1991 until 2007 when he retired from international football to continue focusing on his club career with Manchester United. In total he was capped 64 times, scoring 12 goals.

George Best

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    Most famous for his time at Manchester United, Northern Ireland forward George Best had a career that spanned nearly 600 matches, 205 goals and three separate continents for various clubs.

    Best only made 37 appearances for his national side scoring 9 goals, and could have been a great for his country had they ever made it past the World Cup qualifying stages.

Alfredo Di Stefano

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    Argentine-born Alfredo Di Stefano is perhaps the most prolific goal scorer of all time.

    His club career consisted of more than 660 appearances and a total of 526 goals working out an 80 percent chance of scoring every time he put a foot on the pitch.

    His most famous club achievement is winning five straight European Championships with Real Madrid from 1955-1960.

    Stefano was capped by three different nations during his frustrated international career. He was capped six times for Argentina, scoring six goals. Additionally he was capped four times by Colombia and played 31 matches for Spain, scoring 23 goals.