8 Most Surprising Players That Never Won the World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most important and popular sporting events in the world. Every four years, 32 countries compete for the prestigious title of World Cup Champions. But for some players, despite their immense talent and accomplishments, a win at the World Cup has eluded them.

Indeed, there are a number of players that could potentially win their first-ever World Cup in the coming days, with the 2024 edition almost at its conclusion. The tournament in Qatar has provided us with a Kylian Mbappe vs Lionel Messi showdown, as France will look to defend their title in the 2024 Final against Argentina on Sunday, December 18.

Billions of people will be watching the biggest sporting event the world has ever seen and with many millions cheering on their nation. Indeed, there will be many others who will likely click here during the match as they will feel that it could be a brilliant occasion to add a wager to, thus enhancing the overall experience that they can get from the match that is to be played this coming weekend.

However, when thinking about players in the past who have been unfortunate enough not to win the biggest prize in football, there is a list of superstars that can all be found that many would have perhaps expected to have won on at least one occasion. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the most surprising players who never won a World Cup.

1. Alfredo Di Stefano

Source: skysports.com

One of Real Madrid’s greatest players ever, Alfredo Di Stefano was part of arguably their most successful team ever between 1956-1960. During that time he helped them to five European Cups but unfortunately never had success on the international stage with Argentina or Spain due to both countries not qualifying for a tournament during his playing days.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Source: theguardian.com

Cristiano Ronaldo is another modern-day great who has made history with both club and country – winning titles in England, Spain, and Italy while also helping Portugal reach two European Championship finals and one semi-final in major tournaments – but still without winning it all on the international stage yet. Like Messi, it is likely that he was playing in his final FIFA World Cup this winter in Qatar, but after a shock defeat to Morocco in the quarterfinals, his hope of obtaining the only title that has escaped his grasp has perhaps diminished.

3. Michel Platini

Source: transfermarkt.com

Michel Platini is one of France’s greatest ever players and he led them to two consecutive European Championships in 1984 and 1988 – but unfortunately was not able to bring home a World Cup victory despite making three appearances in 1982, 1986, and 1990 respectively. For many, that just seems to be rather incredible.

4. Johan Cruyff

Source: newyorker.com

Considered by many as one of the best players ever and an individual that changed the game in so many ways on the field, Johan Cruyff was part of Holland’s legendary 1974 side that came runner-up in West Germany before going on to lose again in 1978 against hosts Argentina despite being favourites heading into it. Unfortunately, the Netherlands are serial losers when it comes to reaching the final of the World Cup.

5. Ferenc Puskas

Source: maxbetsport.rs

Hungary are remembered for their incredible performances throughout the 1950s where they were runners-up twice at World Cups while also leading Europe’s top club competition several times with Puskas himself scoring 84 goals during his career there – however they were unable to make it past the semifinals at any major tournament due mainly thanks to Soviet nations having success at each event then too.

6. Marco van Basten

Source: sportal.blic.rs

Marco van Basten is considered one of Holland’s best attacking players ever after scoring over 300 goals across all competitions including winning three Ballon d’Ors during his career – yet despite helping Netherlands reach two UEFA Euro finals (1988 & 1992) he could not help them capture the World Cup when he was wearing the famous Oranje. If his career was not cut short because of injury, then perhaps he could have had a chance of realizing what so many footballers dream of achieving on the international stage.

7. Eusebio

Source: slbenfica.pt

Portugal’s Eusebio was considered by many as an absolute phenomenon when it came down to goal-scoring capabilities – netting over 700 times during his career including 41 goals for Portugal alone – yet sadly he never had much luck when competing internationally as they failed miserably whenever they tried reaching further stages of tournaments like FIFA World Cups or UEFA Euro Championships alike even though Eusebio would be present each time then too!

8. Oliver Kahn

Source: promotions.hu

Germany’s Oliver Kahn was recognized as a great goalkeeper throughout his career after making numerous saves whilst playing for Bundesliga side Bayern Munich – however this did not translate into success when competing internationally as Germany as they appeared to struggle on the international stage. He won the Golden Ball for his performances in 2002 at the FIFA World Cup, but it was his error that practically gifted Brazil the title in the final.


Throughout history, there have been many talented footballers who have come close but never quite achieved what would have been an amazing achievement; lifting the iconic trophy itself! Whether it be Cristiano Ronaldo or Ferenc Puskas, these players have provided us with some wonderful memories that will last forever! Unfortunately, though, none of them had enough luck on their side when competing internationally which resulted in no trophies being lifted by them specifically instead!