Mar 23, 2016
Some best players in football history have had an excellent career at their clubs where they won everything like continental Champions League, Domestic competitions as well as Club world Cup.
But winning a single a major international tournament (World Cup or Euro Cup or Copa America or AFCON) with their countries has been far from them.
Here, SOKKAA takes a look at 10 such best footballers who have never won a major international trophy with their national team, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi make the list.
10. Luis Figo: Portugal (1991–2006)
The Portuguese football legend, who was playing as winger, won 23 major trophies with Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan before hanging up his boots in 2009.
He scored 32 goals 127 appearances for Portugal but he didn’t lead them to any major trophy since he became a senior player in 1991 despite being named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001.
However, Figo came closer when he captained the Portuguese side that lost 1-0 to Greece in the Euro 2004 final in Lisbon.
9. Dennis Bergkamp: Holland (1990–2000)
Ajax and Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in his generation, He played for Ajax Amsterdam, Inter Milan and Arsenal before retiring in 2006.
Bergkamp was famously known for his fear of flying and he will long be remembered for breathtaking goal against Newcastle.
The Dutchman won five major trophies in seven seasons with Ajax before he moved to Arsenal in 1995 after an unsuccessful spell with Inter Milan.
He was nicknamed ‘’Non-Flying Dutchman’’ by Arsenal fans , helping the North London club to win three Premier League titles and four FA cups in 11 years.
However, Bergkamp was not able to win anything with the Dutch national team from 1990 to 2000; he only led them to two Euro semi-finals (1992, 2000) and a World Cup semi-final in 1998.
8. Robert Baggio : Italy (1988–2004)
The 47-year-old, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest Italian players ever, retired from playing football in 2004 after scoring 223 goals in 489 appearances at the club level and 26 goals from 57 appearances for his country.
Baggio won just two league titles, Coppa Italia and a UEFA Cup with Juventus and AC Milan but he was never part of a winning team for Italy during his career affected by problems with his right knee, however, he was close when he missed the crucial penalty in 1994 World Cup final against Brazil in USA.
7. Michael Ballack : Germany (1999–2010)
He is among the top goal scorers in the history of the German national team with 42 goals in 98 appearances throughout his career but he didn’t lift any major trophy at International level, losing 2-0 to Brazil in the 2002 World Cup final and also 1-0 to Spain at the Euro 2008 final.
Ballack won 11 trophies at Club level with Kaiserslautern, Bayern Munich and Chelsea before hanging up his boots in 2012 at Bayer Leverkusen.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo : Portugal( 2003- )
Ronaldo is one of the best players football has ever seen, if not the best, he has won everything in each of the two clubs he played in (Manchester United and Real Madrid), he has received FIFA World player of the year three times during his glorious career and still counting.
However, the 30-year-old, like his compatriot Luis Figo, has never managed to win any major tournament for Portugal, coming closer in UERO 2004 when his side were stunned by Greece in the final in front of their fans in Lisbon.
5. Lionel Messi : Argentina (2005-)
Barcelona striker Lionel Messi is the only football player in history to win the FIFA World Player of the Year/FIFA Ballon d’Or five times, having bagged 25 trophies with the Catalans as well as breaking many records at club revel.
But the 28-year-old, much like his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo, has not been able to collect his first trophy with Argentina (a World Cup or a Copa America)
4. Johan Cruyff: Holland(1966–1977)
The Dutchman is widely regarded to be one of the greatest players in football history after he won the Ballon d’Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974.
He lifted 23 major trophies throughout his club career with Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona and Feyernoord but he had time to forget with his Country Netherlands as they were beaten 2-1 by West Germany in the 1974 World Cup final as well as securing third-place finish in the 1976 Euro Cup.
3. Paolo Mardini : Italy (1988–2002)
Paolo Maldini is one of the greatest defenders in football history, he played only for AC Milan during his entire twenty four-year career before hanging his boots in 2009.
Maldini won 26 trophies with Milan: the Champions League five times, seven Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, five Supercoppa Italiana, five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, and one FIFA Club World Cup throughout his career at San Siro.
Despite his defensive qualities, the 47-year–old never managed to win a major trophy international trophy with Italy but he helped his side to keep cleansheet in the 1994 World Cup final against Brazil as the team eventually lost on penalties.
2. Ferenc Puskas : Hungury (1945–1956)
Ferenc Puskas is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalscorers of all time; he netted 84 goals in 85 appearances for Hungary and 514 goals in 529 for Hungarian side Budapest Honvéd and Real Madrid.
He won 15 major trophies at club level, including three European cups and five La Liga titles with Real Madrid.
He was a captain of Hungary team dominated football in the 1950s, they went into 1954 World Cup final unbeaten for over five years and 32 games but they were beaten 3-2 by West Germany, who came from 2-0 down.
1. Eusébio: Portugal (1961–1973)
Eusébio da Silva Ferreira is considered as the best Portuguese footballer ever above Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo, he scored 749 goals in 745 matches at club level and 41 goals in 64 appearances for Portugal.
He was made his name at Benfica where he won 29 titles, including 11 league trophies and one European cup before moving to Toronto Metros-Croatia.
But his international career was not as successful as he played in one World Cup, leading his side to Third place in 1966, the competition won by England.