The World Cup snubbed XIComment on this story
Cape Town - As star names from across the globe gear up for the glitzy World Cup in Brazil next month, spare a thought for the top names who have been left behind.
There are only 23 men who can make up each country’s squad, which has left international managers with plenty to ponder and some tough decisions to make.
Here, we take a look at the best World Cup Snubbed XI...
Martin Stekelenburg (Holland)
The Dutch goalkeeper fell out of favour at Fulham towards the end of their relegation campaign this season and it has cost him a place in Louis van Gaal’s side.
Stekelenburg was first choice between the sticks for Holland when Edwin van der Sar retired in 2010 and played in the last World Cup and Euro 2012.
Despite winning 54 caps, he was not even one of the four goalkeepers included in the preliminary 30-man Dutch squad.
Alvaro Arbeloa (Spain)
The Real Madrid right-back has paid for an inconsistent season with the Spanish giants.
He has won 56 caps for Spain and was part of the side to win the last three major international tournaments - Euro 2008 and 2012, plus the last World Cup in South Africa.
But the former Liverpool defender made only 22 appearances for Real and has not played for Spain since a friendly versus Belarus in October last year.
Domenico Criscito (Italy)
The Zenit defender was left shocked by his omission, not even making it into Italy’s provisional 30-man squad.
He played in Italy’s most recent friendly, against Spain, and was involved in matches against Nigeria and Germany last November.
Criscito assumed he was a shoo-in for the team.
Joleon Lescott (England)
The centre-back is set to leave Manchester City after struggling for a regular starting place, which has meant he was overlooked for Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad.
At 31 years old, he will know time is ticking for him to regain some form to be considered for the national team again.
Ashley Cole (England)
Cole was the most high-profile omission from the England team and the toughest decision that Hodgson had to make.
Everton defender Leighton Baines is set to start for England at the World Cup and Hodgson opted for Southampton’s teenage sensation Luke Shaw to get big tournament experience.
Samir Nasri (France)
France manager Didier Deschamps has divided opinion by leaving out Manchester City’s Premier League winner, Nasri.
Deschamps decided he was a disruptive influence and wouldn’t be happy on the bench, but Nasri has notched up 50 appearances for club and country this campaign and won two cups.
Once the world’s most expensive player when he joined Real Madrid from AC Milan for £55 million, albeit only for a few days.
Injuries have blighted his career and he has failed to reproduce the kind of form which commanded that fee, since then returning to the Italian club on a free transfer.
Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)
The tricky Brazilian has been outstanding for Liverpool and was one of the key players in their title charge this season.
His stunning winner in the Premier League clash against Manchester City, curled into the bottom right corner, had many believing this was to be Liverpool’s season.
But stiff competition, particularly for attacking midfield players, meant he just missed out when coach Luiz Felipe Scolari named his provisional Cup squad.
Ronaldinho, arguably one of the most gifted players to take to the field, was left out after it was considered he was partying too much and not focusing enough on the game so close to the World Cup.
Scolari’s assistant, Carlos Alberto Parreira, said he “lacked dedication and consistency” to his international career.
Aged 34, he has 33 goals in 97 appearances for Brazil, won a World Cup in 2002, and has a glittering trophy cabinet, but this was a step too far.
Carlos Tevez (Argentina)
Never far from controversy, the Juventus striker, who scored 18 goals in his debut season for the title-winning Italian side, told the Argentinian FA last month not to recall him to the national team because he had booked tickets to go to Disneyland with his family.
They duly obliged, and ex-Wigan striker Franco Di Santo was picked instead, meaning one of the best forwards in the world, in scintillating form, will not be at the tournament.
Dani Osvaldo (Italy)
A chequered history of fights and fall-outs with teammates and managers did not stop Osvaldo earning a big money move to Southampton last summer.
And he was a regular as Italy’s number 9 since making his debut in 2011.
Indifferent form for the south coast club, then another attack on a team-mate meant he moved to Serie A champions Juventus, but his return of three goals in 18 games has not impressed Italy manager Cesare Prandelli.
John Ruddy (England)
Gael Clichy (France)
Rio Ferdinand (England)
Erik Lamela (Argentina)
Javier Pastore (Argentina)