The stars who will be missed

The stars who will be missed

The stars who will be missed

While the spotlight is going to be trained firmy on the Lionel Messis, the Cristiano Ronaldos and the Neymars when the World Cup gets rolling on Thursday, a clutch of stars would be watching it from the confines of their living rooms for a variety of reasons.

Stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gareth Bale, Franck Ribery and Radamel Falcao, who wow the audiences with their brilliant exploits for their clubs, would be some of the top-notch absentees on the pitch.

 Here is a look at some of the big names who would be missing at Brazil.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The father of all alpha males, Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be a massive absence at the World Cup. If someone were to ask him whether he would miss playing at the Finals, his reply would be ‘the World Cup will miss me more.’

This is fair enough because that is what Zlatan is all about. He is cocky, arrogant and sometimes lets his team down on the big stage but his ability to stun audiences is is staggering.

In a world where most footballers prefer the mundane, he’s a breath of fresh air and will be sorely missed. 

Gareth Bale: Last year this time, the Welshman had been left in limbo by Tottenham Hotspur.

It was already apparent that Real Madrid were chasing him but Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy was intent on saying no dice to all his suitors.

Still Real had their way and Bale, though suffering because of the absence of pre-season, began to hit his groove in the second half of the campaign before completing it with a stunning effort in the Copa Del Ray final against Barcelona and putting Real ahead against local rivals Atletico in the Champions League final. 

A brace of goals, a brace of cups and the world’s most costliest player would have been a worthy addition to any squad in the tournament. 

Franck Ribery: Starring for Bayern Munich and helping them to reach three Champions League finals since his move in 2007, Ribery was expected to lead the French at the Finals.

France have either been too hot or too cold and the stage was set for Ribery to finally come out of the shadow and shine for Les Blues.

But instead a nagging injury has put paid to his hopes and the third best player in the world will have to be content for a place on the couch. 

Radamel Falcao: Built like a meat locker, Colombia’s Radamel Falcao was expected to give Jose Pekerman’s team a realistic tilt of making it the quarterfinals and beyond.

After scoring a truck load of goals in Spain for Atletico Madrid, Falcao got the move to Monaco where he continued to shine.

But an ACL injury sustained in January meant that he won't be leading the Cafeteros to Brazil. 

Marko Reus:  His legion of fans call him Rolls Royce for nothing. Having an abundance of flair and no shortage of box office value, Reus led Borussia Dortmund for assists and was the second in the goal-scoring charts in the last season.

Germany will miss his services as Reus also offered a genuine false nine prospect. While Dortmund are no small club, playing in the Finals could have given Reus the perfect opportunity to play himself into the minds of the watching scouts. 

Theo Walcott: He injured his knee during an FA Cup game against Tottenham. While the extent of the injury was not known then, Theo Walcott missing the World Cup is a huge shame.

He was picked in 2006 but did not play a game, he was one of the final players to be dropped by Fabio Capello in 2010 and now, just when he was starting to develop tactical nous to go with his outrageous pace, this setback.