Euro 2008 – Who won’t be there
This year’s European Championship may well boast a veritable galaxy of international superstars, but there are plenty of names whose absence from the tournament is just as noticeable.
While the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thierry Henry will be strutting their stuff on pitches across Austria and Switzerland, a world-beating XI can be easily compiled from those who have missed out for one reason or another.
Here we bring you the best of the rest and the reasons why they will be topping up their tans on a beach this summer instead of toiling on a pitch in front of thousands of fans.
(Formation: a rather experimental 3-3-4)
2. Fabio Cannavaro (Italy) – The Azzurri captain was crocked in pre-tournament training by fellow centre-half Giorgio Chiellini, who now stands to benefit from the Real Madrid stopper’s absence. Go figure.
3. Paul Scharner (Austria) – Undoubtedly the co-host nation’s best player, but the Wigan utility man’s bitter falling out with coach Josef Hickersberger has seen him miss the cut for Euro 2008.
4. Alessandro Nesta (Italy) – Retired from international football last year having won the World Cup – there has been a surprising lack of clamour for him to reassess his position since.
6. Clarence Seedorf (Holland) – The Dutch are past masters of in-house squabbling, with the Milan midfielder the latest to storm off in a sulk. For the record, Mark van Bommel is suffering from a similar affliction to his bottom lip.
7. Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic) – Despite their best efforts, the Czech camp could not persuade the still scampering veteran into ending his international retirement (for a third time) for the tournament.
8. David Trezeguet (France) – The Juventus ace netted 20 times last season – which in Serie A is no mean feat – but Les Bleus coach Raymond Domenech still inexplicably preferred Nicolas Anelka and Bafetimbi Gomis.
9. Eduardo da Silva (Croatia) – His horrific leg break remains one of the most vivid memories of last season, for all the wrong reasons. The Brazilian-born striker will not play again until next season.
10. Raul (Spain) – The 30-year-old Real Madrid captain used to be considered untouchable, but not even a high profile public campaign was powerful enough to see him included.
11. Francesco Totti (Italy) – Another who believes it doesn’t get much better than winning a World Cup, Totti retired after 2006 and, unlike so many, has refused to change his mind.