World Cup 2018: 5 top footballers snubbed for the Mundial
With the FIFA World Cup only weeks away, the participating countries have been busy announcing their provisional squad to compete in the beautiful game's biggest spectacle.
At the time of writing, the majority of countries have already chosen the players on whose shoulders they will place their hopes of a memorable World Cup performance. However, some of the coaches' squad selection have left the fans flabbergasted and drawn the ire of critics.
It is to be noted that the provisional squads are liable to change but, barring the occurrence of an untimely injury to a player, they are likely to be final. In this list, we look at the five biggest names excluded from their respective country's World Cup squad.
#5 Mario Gotze (Germany)
After he scored the decisive goal in last rendition's final on the back of a trophy-laden club season with Bayern Munich, few could have really imagined the possibility of Götze's career declining as alarmingly as it did in the following years, ultimately leading to him missing out on the 2018 World Cup berth for Germany.
His drop in form and fitness is so unfortunately surreal that it almost feels as if that goal, which he scored to seal the World Cup for Die Mannschaft, jinxed his future.
Since the winning goal Götze scored in Brazil, he has gone on to fall out of favour with the then Bayern Manager Pep Guardiola, prompting him to take a U-turn back to Dortmund in the 2016-17 transfer window.
Even his return to the Signal Iduna Park was not a pleasant one as he was sidelined with fitness issues for a long period. It wasn't until this season that he was able to show glimpses of the Mario Götze of old.
Apparently, those performances weren't enough for German Coach Joachim Löw to pick him in his squad for Russia as he still believes that Götze is just a shadow of the player that won him the winners medal four years ago.
The progress of a young Mario (he was just 22 years old when he won the World Cup) whom we saw pry away the biggest prize in world football from a Messi led Argentina on their own continent, has been so dismal that Joachim Löw himself regretted publicly revealing his words of motivation for him on the night of the final, this he believes put immense pressure to perform on a midfield wizard who was yet to learn his trade completely.
Therefore, Götze's exclusion was less of a surprise and more of an inevitability.