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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Football

The Left Out XI: Star footballers who won't board a plane to Brazil World Cup
Aurko Mahapatra and Aditya Kurup, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 06, 2014
First Published: 14:41 IST(6/2/2014)
Last Updated: 16:58 IST(6/2/2014)

For the past 84 years, the football World Cup has been witnessing the making of stars, and stars ascending to the glory of superstars. The likes of Pele, Diego Maradona, Franz Beckenbauer and Zinedine Zidane have dribbled past the fine line between an ace soccer player and a legend by helping their sides win the coveted trophy.

But, there's a flip side. Despite having enough ammo to vie for greatness, some players of international repute will have to stay off the field this year when 32 squads fight for their pride in battleground Brazil. Reason? Their national teams have failed to survive the tough qualifying rounds.

Here's a list of such players, who, if brought together in the Left Out XI, can give any side a run for their money.

(Players such as Radamel Falcao, Theo Walcott and Giusippe Rossi who are likely to miss the Brazil date owing to injuries have been left out.)
 
Starting XI
 
* Petr Cech (goalkeeper): The 31-year-old Czech Republic shot-stopper has been extremely loyal to Chelsea FC for a long time. It's a bad news that he will miss out on the action this year, and probably forever, as his age is catching up with him.

* Brainslav Ivanovic (right back): The defender from Serbia has been playing alongside Cech in Chelsea for a few years now. He is a solid player: never afraid to make a tackle and doesn't mind attacking with his neat crosses.

* Mehdi Benatia (centre half): The Rock from Morocco, Medhi Benatia, is a tough and effective tackler with good heading ability. He played some great football for FC Roma this season.

* Nemanja Vidic (centre half/vice-captain): The Great Wall of Serbia, Nemanja Vidic, is no spring chicken, but he hasn't let go of his tackling skills. The Manchester United squad member will miss out on the Brazil show.

* David Alaba (left back): Treble winner (German Cup, Champions League and Bundesliga) with Bayern Munich, the 21-year-old Austrian young gun will have to wait some more to fire in the World Cup.

* Aaron Ramsey (defensive midfielder): The Arsenal man just can't stop scoring this season. The Welshman, however, won't board a plane to Brazil this year.

* Jefferson Agustin Farfán (right wing): The lightning fast 29-year-old from Peru has been a key player for FC Schalke 04 as they sit in fifth position in the Bundesliga. It is a pity that soccer enthusiasts won't be able to watch his dribbling skills and lightning runs down the wings in the World Cup.

* Gareth Bale (left wing): Brazil will miss the Welshman's — Bale plays for Real Madrid in La Liga — lightning pace and decisive free kicks.

* Marek Hamsik (attacking midfielder): The Slovak has been loyal to Napoli for years. He has the ability to find the net and possesses great passing skills. A complete midfielder, Hamsik is never lazy to track back and defend.

* Robert Lewandowski (striker): The clinical finisher from Poland may not have made it to the World Cup, but he features in our Left Out XI. The Dortmund player's perfect first touch will be missed.

* Zlatan Ibrahimovic (striker/captain): Well, you must have been waiting for this name. Age is no bar for this 32-year-old PSG player. There is absolutely no doubt that we will miss the Swedish international's devlish long shots and overwhelming strength in Brazil.
 
 
Substitutes XI
 
Samir Handanovic (goalkeeper): Slovenian, plays for Inter Milan.

Aleksander Kolarov (left back): Serbian, plays for Manchester City.

Vlad Chiriches (centre half): Romanian, plays for Tottenham Hotspur.

Neven Subotic (centre half): Serbian, plays for Borussia Dortmund.

Lukasz Piszczek (right back): Polish, plays for Borussia Dortmund.

Nemanja Matic (defensive midfielder): Serbian, plays for Chelsea FC.

Jakub Blaszczykowski (right wing): Polish, plays for Borrussia Dortmund.

Arda Turan (left wing): Turkish, plays for Atletico Madrid.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (attacking midfielder): Armenian, plays for Borrussia Dortmund.

Stevan Jovetic (striker): Montenegrin, plays for Manchester City.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (striker): Gabonese, plays for Borrussia Dortmund.


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