Every footballer has always prized trophies above all else. Forget the nonsense about modern players preferring money over trophies, everyone wants to be part of a trophy-winning team.
The French national side; Les Bleus that won a World Cup (1998) and a European Championship (2000) had a lot of players who had/went on to win it all at club level. The likes of Thierry Henry, Didier Deschamps, Zinedine Zidane, and others amassed an amazing medal haul at both club and national level.
However, that great team was bettered decades later by the all-conquering La Furia Roja of Spain. The World Cup (2010) and European Championships (2008 & 2012) added the gloss to spectacular club careers for some of the players. Andres Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez, David Villa et al have individually earned medal collections bigger than most clubs have.
Some players have been merely good but have managed to amass an amazing trophy haul (a good example is Alvaro Arbeloa). Some players have been exceptional and yet have an almost empty trophy cabinet (e.g Ronaldo Luiz Nazario De Lima).
However, some exceptional players have been unlucky. These set of legends have won almost everything there is to win at club level. Unfortunately, success with their national sides is one that eluded them throughout their stellar careers.
A lot of great players fit into this category. However, this article will take a look at 5 of the greatest of them all;
#5 Johan Cruyff (Netherlands)
As a player, there are few that can share the same stage as this Dutch maestro. As a coach, his ideas and philosophy have inspired millions of players and lots of coaches.
Cruyff is, without doubt, the greatest player ever to come out of Netherlands. When one looks back at the illustrious names that have emerged from that football-mad nation, this is high praise indeed.
Playing in the number 10 role, his magical dribbles, amazing passes and great finishing won him a lot of trophies. During his time with boyhood club Ajax, he became the team's talisman, winning 8 Eredivisie titles and 5 KNVB Cups.
With Cruyff pulling the strings, de Godenzonen as Ajax is known won three consecutive European Cups (UEFA Champions League) between 1971-1973. He won the Ballon d'Or thrice in his career and won major trophies as player and manager at FC Barcelona and Feyenoord.
Unfortunately, this all-time great never got to know what it felt like to win a trophy with his nation. Der Oranje was majestic in the 1974 World Cup Finals sweeping every opponent aside with their brand of Total Football. However, they failed at the last hurdle, losing to hosts West Germany.
Despite his 33 goals in 48 appearances and playing in one of the most talented generations in Dutch history, Cruyff never won a trophy for his nation.