The 2018 World Cup field is almost completely set. After Europe’s teams sorted things out this week, there are only a few inter-conferation playoff matches left to finish. With several traditional powers failing to qualify for Russia, there are a number of top-flight players who won’t wind up in the World Cup.
Here’s a look at the 10 best players who won’t be in Russia next summer.
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Gianluigi Buffon, Italy
Sadly, Gianluigi Buffon, the long-time keeper for the Italians retired from international competition after his side failed to qualify for the 2018 cup. The Azzurri lost a two-leg playoff against Sweden and will miss the event for the first time since 1958.
The 39-year-old Buffon was the team captain and racked up a remarkable 175 caps for his nation’s team. He made his international debut in 1997 and backstopped the Italians to a World Cup victory in 2006. He’s still considered among the best keepers in the world and has made an insane 496 Serie A appearances for Juventus.
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Gareth Bale, Wales
After a solid run to the semifinals at Euro 2016, many thought Wales could actually reach the 2018 World Cup. Unfortunately, the Dragons fell just short, finishing third in Group D, and missing out on advancing to a playoff by just two points. That means Gareth Bale and his man-bun will be at home next summer.
The 28-year-old winger has now made 105 La Liga appearances for Real Madrid since his arrival in 2013, and has netted 56 goals. He also helped lead Madrid to the 2017 Champions League title after missing long stretches due to injury.