PA Sport

The biggest names missing from the 2018 World Cup

The biggest names missing from the 2018 World Cup
By PA Sport

14/11/2017 at 11:02Updated 14/11/2017 at 11:10

Italy's Gianluigi Buffon became the latest big name to miss out on next summer's World Cup when they lost their play-off against Sweden.

Italy's Gianluigi Buffon became the latest big name to miss out on next summer's World Cup when they lost their play-off against Sweden.

Gareth Bale and Alexis Sanchez were among those whose absence was already confirmed, so here, Press Association Sport picks an all-star XI from those not on the plane to Russia.

Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus)

Widely considered the finest goalkeeper in history, the 39-year-old, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, retired from international football after their 1-0 aggregate defeat by Sweden.

Antonio Valencia (Ecuador/Manchester United)

A string of consistent performances at right-back led to Valencia being named players' player of the year at Old Trafford last season but the 32-year-old could not inspire Ecuador to what would have been his third World Cup.

Leonardo Bonucci (Italy/AC Milan)

An already difficult season for the classy 30-year-old central defender was worsened by Italy's defeat. He has struggled at AC Milan since his £35million summer transfer from Juventus, but at international level still worked with the team-mates he combined with so well in Turin.

Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus)

Another of Italy's decorated World Cup winners also announced his retirement, meaning the 33-year-old's final appearance at the competition will be the 1-0 defeat by Uruguay at Brazil 2014, in which he was bitten by Luis Suarez.

David Alaba (Austria/Bayern Munich)

A winner of six Bundesliga titles and the Champions League, Alaba's international career has been less illustrious with Austria's abysmal Euro 2016 campaign his only experience of a major tournament.

Daniele De Rossi (Italy/Roma)

De Rossi has joined Buffon, Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli in announcing his international retirement, ensuring Italy have lost 461 caps' experience between them, and having been a similarly-influential figure.

Arturo Vidal (Chile/Bayern Munich)

The key midfielder, who starred in the last two World Cups, was suspended for Chile's final qualifier against Brazil and watched on powerless from Munich as his team were eliminated.

Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid)

It has been a positive few years for Wales but the Euro 2016 semi-finalists were pipped to a play-off spot by the Republic of Ireland, meaning Bale's wait for a first World Cup goes on.

Arjen Robben (Holland/Bayern Munich)

A veteran of three World Cups, Robben announced his retirement from international football shortly after scoring twice against Sweden in the final match of Holland's unsuccessful qualification campaign.

Alexis Sanchez (Chile/Arsenal)

Chile suffered last-minute heartbreak as they were pushed out of a play-off place when Peru equalised against Colombia, meaning the Arsenal star will not be sprinting up the flanks for La Roja in Russia.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon/Borussia Dortmund)

Gabon have never qualified for the World Cup and the African country's shortage of top-class players means talented forward Aubameyang may never have the opportunity to play at one.

Substitutes:

Jan Oblak (Slovenia/Atletico Madrid)

Virgil van Dijk (Holland/Southampton)

Naby Keita (Guinea/RB Leipzig)

Marek Hamsik (Slovakia/Napoli)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia/Manchester United)

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria/Leicester)

Edin Dzeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Roma)

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