2. Mikel Arteta (Spain)
Mikel Arteta Press Conference ratings: 10/10 pic.twitter.com/eSAQiwkC7R
— City Chief ️ (@City_Chief) September 18, 2018
A victim of circumstance, Mikel Arteta never represented his country of birth through no fault of his, but for the fact that he was unfortunate to be in the same era as some of the finest midfielders in history.
Blessed with creativity and vision, Arteta possessed the technique and passing ability associated with all players who pass through La Masia and is regularly considered among the greatest players not to have played for their country.
The FA explored possibilities of getting him to switch allegiance, and there were widespread newspaper publications in 2011 to this effect, but as with Carlo Cudicini, Arteta failed to pass two FIFA criteria having to do with schooling for a minimum of five years, and possessing an English passport at age 16.
1. Gabi (Spain)
Gabi will have his official goodbye with fans in the game Vs Espanyol.
Oh Captain, my Captain! pic.twitter.com/RBo5KQRNGM
— AtléticoFans (@AtleticoFans) November 10, 2018
Arguably the greatest player of all time not to receive an international call-up, Gabi earned widespread acclaim as one of the best central midfielders in Europe with his displays from the middle of the park during the spectacular rise of Atletico Madrid over the last seven years under Diego Simeone.
Gabi Hernandez progressed through the ranks in the Atletico youth setup but departed for Real Zaragoza in 2007 where he performed creditably well to earn a return to Atletico Madrid in 2011 (Diego Simeone’s first full season in charge).
He was appointed as the team captain in 2012, and in many ways was a reflection of Diego Simeone on the field, albeit in a calmer way. He captained the side all through its most successful period in recent times, including to the shock La Liga triumph in 2014, as well as the Champions League final on two occasions as well as a Copa Del Rey and Europa League victory.
However for all of his impressive performances, Gabi never received a call-up to the national side, a victim of the same circumstances as Arteta in that he competed against players like Xavi, Iniesta, David Silva and Fabregas but to name a few, and famously quipped in 2014, ” I’d like to know what has to be done to earn a national call-up.”