Playing in the World Cup is probably every footballer’s dream and the pinnacle of his career.

Some, like Pele, not only took part in the tournament more than once, but also lifted the trophy several times.

But some top footballers end their careers without making it to the tournament.

Some of them help their team qualify and are good enough to be on the squad, but then miss the flight due to an unfortunate injury.

Here are 10 top footballers who will miss the 2022 World Cup through injury, with a special mention for them Karim Benzema from France who was ruled out a day before the start of the World Cup.

Paul Pogba (France)

Perhaps the biggest name on the list, Paul Pogba – a World Cup and Euro winner with France, international star and most importantly a vital member of the French team – will not be available this time as they look to defend their title in Qatar.

Pogba underwent surgery for a knee injury in September and will not recover in time as France opens its title defense against Australia on November 22.

Paul Pogba
France’s Paul Pogba (c) has been an integral part of the national team [Vadim Ghirda, Pool]

Sadio Mane (Senegal)

Senegalese forward Sadio Mane was on the roster for Qatar, but had to be withdrawn two days before the opening game of the tournament on Sunday. Mane suffered a leg injury earlier this month while playing for his club Bayern Munich.

The news was not well received by the Senegalese fans, as their hopes for the success of the Teranga Tigers rested on Mane’s shoulders. Senegal will play their first match against the Netherlands on November 21.

Mane led Senegal to AFCON glory earlier this year. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani/File Photo

Marcus Reus (Germany)

Marcus Reus has had his share of bad luck at the World Cup.

The 33-year-old missed the 2014 edition due to injury and his team lifted the trophy. Reus was set to make a comeback from injury to join Hansi Flick’s Germany squad for the 2022 World Cup, but he would aggravate the injury to his ankle and be ruled out again.

Marco Reus has now missed two World Cups through injury REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Diogo Jota (Portugal)

Diogo Jota, one of Portugal’s leading forwards, is said to have been one of the first in his team’s starting eleven during their World Cup campaign. But Jota suffered a calf injury while representing his club Liverpool in a league match in October.

While Jota did not require surgery, his injury rehabilitation period will be long enough to keep him out of the World Cup. Pundits have listed Portugal among the favorites for the tournament and missing Jota could have a major effect on their chances.

Diogo Jota has been an integral member of this Portuguese side (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP) (AFP)

Amine Harit (Morocco)

Most of Amine Harit’s Moroccan teammates had already landed in Qatar when he suffered an injury that would take him out of the World Cup. The Marseille striker suffered a knee injury in his last club match before leaving for Doha.

The 25-year-old was taken off on a stretcher. The images broke Moroccan hearts. Local media outlets have been inundated with messages of support from his teammates and Harit will reportedly travel to Qatar to support his team throughout the tournament.

Amine Harit participated in the 2018 World Cup for Iran REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Arthur Melo (Brazil)

In one such incident where a player gets injured without even being involved in a match, the Brazilian midfielder injured his left thigh while training with his club Liverpool. The injury happened in October and keeps Melo out of the World Cup.

The 22-year-old showed his desperation in an Instagram post: “It just comes at a time when, after huge efforts and hard work, I was ready to establish myself in my new team and determined to fight for my dream to play at the World Cup.”

With age on his side, Melo might get another chance to compete in a World Cup.

Arthur Melo had moved to Liverpool to kick-start his career (Shutterstock)

N’Golo Kante (France)

French coach Didier Deschamps will have an N’Golo Kante-sized hole in his midfield as the team takes the field against Australia in their tournament opener. The diverse midfield maestro suffered a serious hamstring injury last month, ruling him out until January.

The 33-year-old was an important cog in France’s midfield as Les Blues won their second World Cup four years ago. He was France’s man of the match in some matches during their run-up to the tournament and has been a regular name on the team sheet ever since.

It remains to be seen if he will be fit and in shape at the next World Cup, but age doesn’t seem to be on his side.

Kante was a key member of France’s 2018 World Cup winning squad. (Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP) (AFP)

Yuta Nakayama (Japan)

Alongside a long list of forwards and midfielders who have knocked themselves out of the World Cup, Japan’s Yuta Nakayama is one of those working in defence.

The 25-year-old striker suffered an Achilles tendon injury earlier this month while playing for his English club Huddersfield Town. Nakayama has earned 17 caps for Japan and was part of coach Hajime Moriyasu’s Qatar-bound squad until injured earlier this month.

Japan opens their campaign against Germany on November 23.

Yuta Nakayama in action against Brazil in a friendly earlier this year REUTERS/Issei Kato

Jojo Wallacott (Ghana)

The Ghanaian team can expect strong support in Qatar as they open their World Cup campaign against Portugal on November 24. However, they will lack the defensive capabilities of their goalkeeper Jojo Wallacott, who has been ruled out of the tournament with a finger injury. .

Wallacott plays club football with Charlton Athletic in England and fell out of the 26-man squad less than a week before the start of the World Cup.

Reports in the Ghanaian media suggested that Wallacott can still travel with the squad, but will not take part in the tournament.


Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina)

Argentina is among the favorites to lift the trophy in Qatar, and not just because of a certain Lionel Messi.

The 2014 finalists have a solid roster on their roster and a Copa America title to their name. However, one of the key figures of that title win will go missing in Qatar.

Giovani Lo Celso, a vital part of Argentina’s midfield, was ruled out last month after suffering a muscle tear. Lo Celso is so critical of coach Lionel Scaloni that he has said there is no replacement for the 26-year-old midfielder. “Numerically there is a substitute, but technically there is not,” Scaloni told reporters earlier this month.

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Giovani Lo Celso had a good partnership with Messi for Argentina REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

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