Salah, Pogba, Haaland … The big absentees from the competition

Messi, Ronaldo, Mbappé, Benzema: the World Cup starts on Sunday in Qatar and the stars are there. All? No, because between injuries, choice of coaches and premature eliminations, some big names will be missing. From Gianluigi Donnarumma to Erling Haaland via Paul Pogba or N’Golo Kanté, here is the typical team of absentees.

GOALKEEPER: Gianluigi Donnarumma

Like his compatriots Marco Verratti or Jorginho, the PSG goalkeeper sank with the Nazionale during a lost play-off against modest North Macedonia. For the second time in a row, Italy missed the march and will miss the World Cup.

SIDE RIGHT: Reece James

“Destroyed”, wrote the young Chelsea defender on November 9 on Twitter. It was on this date that he officially withdrew from the World Cup because of a knee injury suffered in mid-October.

CENTRAL DEFENDERS: Sergio Ramos and Presnel Kimpembe

Two world champions in the hinge of the absentees. Spain has learned to do without Ramos, who has not worn his country’s jersey since March 2021. Kimpembe, on the other hand, hoped to the end to defend the title won by the Blues in 2018. He even appeared in the initial list of Didier Deschamps. But, insufficiently recovered from an injury to an Achilles tendon, he had to give up his arms and give way to Alex Disasi.

LEFT SIDE: Ferland Mendy

Holder at Real Madrid, but too fair for the Blues. At 27, Ferland Mendy has never managed to win in the France team. This time, Deschamps preferred the two brothers Lucas and Théo Hernandez. Lucas Digne (46 selections) experienced the same fate.


“Not having ‘NG’ is one less force, due to his energy, his experience. Humanly, he is such an endearing little man, who always has a smile. We will miss him”, a summary of Deschamps . World champion in 2018, Kanté is having a difficult season with Chelsea. He only played the first two games of the season due to a hamstring injury and won’t return until 2023.

MIDDLE RELAYS: Thiago Alcantara and Paul Pogba

Two of the most gifted midfielders in the world are missing. Often brilliant with Liverpool, Thiago Alcantara did not convince Luis Enrique to make room for him in a traditionally very dense sector in the Spanish selection. As for Pogba, injuries to his right knee and then to a thigh will deprive him of the tournament. And without him or Kanté, the midfield of the reigning world champions has to be rebuilt.

FORWARDS: Mohammed Salah, Erling Haaland and Roberto Firmino

Egypt missed qualification for Qatar after a terrible barrage against Senegal, who had already beaten them in the final of the last CAN. Salah will therefore not be at the World Cup, while the Senegalese Mané is on the trip, even if a recent injury with Bayern Munich casts great doubt on his participation.

Firmino, for his part, pays a slight declining influence with Liverpool and, above all, the incredible offensive wealth of Brazil. Haaland meanwhile failed to qualify Norway, who have not participated in the World Cup since 1998.

This typical team of absentees also has its replacements, namely: David De Gea (Spain / Not selected), Mike Maignan France / Injury), Ben Chilwell (England / Injury), Jonathan Clauss (France / Not selected), Gabriel (Brazil /Not selected), Fikayo Tomori (England/Not selected), Philippe Coutinho (Brazil/Injury), Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina/Injury), Renato Sanches (Portugal/Not selected), Marco Verratti (Italy/Not qualified), Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands / Injury). Without forgetting the attackers: Tammy Abraham (England / Not selected), Luis Diaz (Colombia / Injury), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria / Not qualified) and Timo Werner (Germany / Injury).


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