The Premier League is considered the best football league in the world and the World Cup is the greatest football tournament in the world.
Therefore it’s no surprise that there are more players from the Premier League participating in the 2018 World Cup than any other domestic league.
However, there are a number of stars who will be missing out. Whether it be through injury, not being selected or simply because their country failed to qualify – not all of the current top stars will be in Russia this summer. Here’s a look at 25 of the best in the Premier League that we won’t be seeing:
Marcos Alonso (Chelsea/Spain)
The Chelsea left-back had an excellent season in the Premier League bombing on to support the attack in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation.
Marcos Alonso contributed seven goals and two assists this past league season as the Blues went on to win the FA Cup. The 27-year-old has missed out being included in the Spain squad to Barcelona’s Jordi Alba and Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal.
Marko Arnautovic (West Ham United/Austria)
West Ham United’s Marko Arnautovic is coming off his most-productive season in the Premier League with 11 goals scored and another six created. As a result there are even reports linking him to Manchester United.
However, the 29-year-old won’t be featuring in Russia this summer as Austria failed to reach the finals two years after qualifying for Euro 2016.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal/Gabon)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been prolific during his career, earning him a £56 million move to Arsenal in January where he ended the season in good goalscoring form, just as he was season after season at Borussia Dortmund.
The Gabon striker has netted 23 goals in 56 caps for his country but unfortunately his nation failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and have never reached the finals in their history.
Eric Bailly (Manchester United/Ivory Coast)
Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly was part of the Ivory Coast squad that failed to qualify for Russia this summer. Although the 24-year-old missed half of the season through injury he was still a rock when he played and is one of the best defenders in world football.
United kept seven clean sheets in the 11 Premier League games Eric Bailly started this past season.
Hector Bellerin (Arsenal/Spain)
Arsenal had a tough season defensively and Hector Bellerin was also dropped a couple of times towards the end of the campaign but the Spaniard is still regarded as one of the top right-backs in the game right now.
Unfortunately for the 23-year-old, Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola have been selected for the Spain squad instead.
Emre Can (Liverpool/Germany)
The German midfielder is coming off the back of a very good season with Liverpool where he helped start several attacks from midfield and got involved in a few goals too.
Unfortunately for Emre Can he was born in one of Germany’s greatest eras and was beaten by the likes of Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Leon Goretzka to make Joachim Low’s 23-man squad.
Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea/Spain)
Despite the number of Spaniards on the ranks at Stamford Bridge, Cesar Azpilicueta was the only Chelsea player to make the final cut by head coach Julen Lopetegui.
Cesc Fabregas has been a top player over the years, but admittedly, isn’t coming off the best of seasons. The playmaker scored just twice and recorded four assists in 32 Premier League appearances.
Pascal Gross (Brighton & Hove Albion/Germany)
Newly-promoted Brighton & Hove Albion signed Pascal Gross from Ingolstadt last summer and the German central midfielder made an instant impact. With seven goals and eight assists in Chris Hughton’s low-scoring side you can simply say he was the difference between staying up and not.
Unfortunately for Gross he didn’t impress the German head coach during his two seasons in the Bundesliga and still remains without a cap for his country. With the players that did make the squad, Germany are very popular among the tips on World Cup 2018.
Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal/France)
France have a wealth of talent on their books, so much so that Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette did not make the cut. Although he struggled for much of the season following his big money move from Lyon, the 27-year-old certainly ended it in good form.
Didier Deschamps is taking Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe as his strikers instead. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema also missed out.
Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City/France)
Manchester City’s £57 million January signing still remains uncapped at senior international level. Aymeric Laporte spent most of his time in the second half of the season at left-back when he did play.
The 24-year-old failed to make Didier Deschamps’ squad that is packed with talent, though the squad does consist of a couple of young and experienced defenders.
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City/Algeria)
The Algerian starred when Leicester City won the Premier League title in 2015-16 but has been inconsistent over the past two seasons as he seeks a move to Manchester City.
Riyad Mahrez won’t be in Russia as Algeria failed to reach the finals.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United/France)
Anthony Martial made an excellent start to the 2017-18 season before fading out in the second half, coinciding with the signing of Alexis Sanchez at Manchester United.
The 22-year-old’s opportunities and form both dipped in the final months so Deschamps has called upon the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Thomas Lemar down the left wing for France instead.
Juan Mata (Manchester United/Spain)
It’s no secret that Jose Mourinho isn’t a huge fan of the Spanish playmaker and ultimately that’s what’s probably cost Juan Mata a place in this summer’s World Cup squad. However, the attacking midfielder was given 23 Premier League starts this past season and did only notch up three goals and five assists.
Spain are loaded with playmakers so not playing every week may have contributed to Juan Mata’s absence from the squad.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal/Armenia)
After an excellent three games to start the season it all dried up for Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Manchester United, resulting in him being traded for Alexis Sanchez in January.
The Armenian had some good glimpses to finish the season but was far short of the player we once saw at Borussia Dortmund. Armenia didn’t qualify for the World Cup.
Alvaro Morata (Chelsea/Spain)
Alvaro Morata had looked very good at Euro 2012 despite Spain’s campaign ending earlier than expected. The striker had looked impressive for Real Madrid and Juventus as a substitute before moving to Chelsea in search of regular first-team football.
The Spaniard showed he was good in the air for the Blues but simply failed to live up to expectations and was dropped in favour of Olivier Giroud by the end of the season. Diego Costa, Rodrigo, Iago Aspas and Lucas Vazquez are going instead.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool/England)
Not any fault of the player or the country he plays for but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain misses the 2018 World Cup due to a long-term injury. The attacking midfielder has developed into an excellent player under Jurgen Klopp this past season.
As a result of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury it appears Gareth Southgate will partner Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli in attacking midfield.
Another Chelsea player who won’t be seen at the 2018 World Cup is Spanish forward Pedro. The 30-year-old has 64 caps for his country, previously winning the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.
However, competing with Willian for a starting berth at Chelsea saw the former-Barcelona man make just 17 Premier League starts this past season.
Spain head coach Julen Lopetegui explained it was difficult to cut his squad down to 23 players:
“I’ve had several doubts, making a list of 23 is very difficult.
“But we have decided this was the most balanced decision and the one we think will help us most at the World Cup.”
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal/Wales)
Arsene Wenger had a lot of attacking midfield talent at Arsenal and sometimes Aaron Ramsey gets overlooked by the media. One should not doubt the Welsh midfielder’s ability after scoring seven goals and recording eight assists in his 24 Premier League appearances this past campaign.
However, Wales failed to reach the finals this summer after finishing below Serbia and the Republic of Ireland in their group.
Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United/Chile)
Manchester United signed a world class player in January when they persuaded Arsenal to trade Alexis Sanchez for Henrikh Mkhitaryan with the Chilean in the final six months of his contract at the Emirates.
Unfortunately Sanchez won’t be playing in Russia this summer as the back-to-back Copa America winners failed to qualify from South America.
Leroy Sane (Manchester City/Germany)
One of the biggest shocks of the week was to see Leroy Sane cut from Joachim Low’s squad for the summer. The pacey German winger had an excellent season at Manchester City, scoring 10 goals and registering 15 assists for Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking Premier League champions.
Germany are taking Marco Reus, Julian Draxler and Julian Brandt as options down the left wing. We wonder if this has put people off backing Germany when they place a bet on the World Cup 2018 this summer?
Chris Smalling (Manchester United/England)
Out-of-favour throughout Gareth Southgate’s time as England manager, Chris Smalling didn’t get called up to the 23-man squad despite the Three Lions switching to a back three recently.
This despite the centre-back being a regular in the Manchester United team that kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League this past season.
Antonio Valencia (Manchester United/Ecuador)
Another regular in the Manchester United defence and captain as a result of Michael Carrick only playing twice, Antonio Valencia won’t be playing in his third World Cup this summer simply because Ecuador didn’t qualify.
Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia and Peru qualified from the CONMEBOL qualifying.
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool/Netherlands)
Liverpool’s £75 million January signing helped improve the back four for the second half of the season as Jurgen Klopp’s side reached this season’s Champions League final.
We won’t see Virgil van Dijk this summer because the Netherlands failed to qualify, finishing behind France and Sweden in their group. The 26-year-old still only has 19 caps for the Dutch national team.
Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur/Kenya)
The form of Mousa Dembele in the middle of the park for Tottenham Hotspur this past season saw Victor Wanyama limited to just eight Premier League starts, and a further 10 substitute appearances.
Kenya’s qualifying campaign didn’t last very long and are a country that have never qualified for the World Cup.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace/Ivory Coast)
Wilfried Zaha turned down the opportunity to play for England in favour of the Ivory Coast. Unfortunately the 25-year-old’s nation didn’t qualify for this summer’s World Cup, whereas England did.
Palace lost all nine Premier League games in which Zaha didn’t feature this past season. He scored nine goals, set up three more and won a number of penalties when he did play.