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All time greatest XI to have never won the World Cup

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Published 10 Dec 2017, 13:28 IST
10 Dec 2017, 13:28 IST

RB: Dani Alves (Brazil)

Brazil v Argentina - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier
2018 will be Dani Alves' last World Cup

The Brazilian legend is one of the best attacking fullbacks the sport has ever seen.

He played for Sevilla till the age of 25, but spent the most productive years of his career between 2008 and 2016 at Barcelona, where he was a part of Pep Guardiola's legendary team that won 14 trophies in 4 seasons.

Alves has 104 caps for Brazil, but the only major international trophy he has won is the FIFA Confederations Cup, in 2009 and 2013.

He participated in both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, but the closest he ever came is the semifinal in 2014, which culminated in the 7-1 humiliation at the hands of eventual champions Germany.

CB: Ronald Koeman (Netherlands)

1988 UEFA  European Cup Final Benfica v PSV Eindhoven
The greatest goalscoring defender of all time

Koeman is the highest scoring defender of all time, with a total of 239 goals in 685 club career games.

Renowned for his composure on the ball and free kick taking abilities, he made 78 appearances for Netherlands in 12 years. He never came close to winning the World Cup though, but he won the Euros in 1988.

His management career took him to Ajax, Benfica, Southampton and Everton. Although he was sacked by the Toffees earlier this season, Koeman is one of those select few who experienced considerable success as both player and manager.

CB: Paulo Maldini (Italy)

Paolo Maldini of AC Milan in action
Paolo Maldini of AC Milan in action
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Maldini is widely regarded as one of the best left-backs of all time, but he was equally capable of playing as a centre-back.

A product of AC Milan's famous generation of ball playing defenders, Maldini never left his boyhood club in a career spanning 25 seasons and 23 major honours.

It's almost cruel that one of Italy's best ever defenders never won the World Cup (or any other international trophy). He came agonisingly close in 1990 and 1994, finishing third and second respectively.

In spite of having 126 caps for Italy, he had to retire after the 2002 World Cup at the age of 34, which meant he couldn't be a part of Italy's victorious campaign in 2006.

LB: Ashley Cole (England)

England Training Session and Press Conference
Cole is one of only three defenders with more than 100 caps for England

Cole graduated from Arsenal and became a key player for them before moving to fierce rivals Chelsea.

Although he loved getting forward to support the attack, Cole gradually adapted his game to become more defensive during Jose Mourinho's first stint at Chelsea.

He is widely considered as one of the best left-backs of this century in the Premier League, and was also a part of England's golden generation that had David Beckham, Steven Gerard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and John Terry.

But the national team's difficulties in the 2000s meant that England never really made a major impact in any tournament during that time.

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Modified 20 Dec 2019, 14:16 IST
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