A cloud hangs over certain players as the World Cup beckons that being some players will bid farewell to this mammoth stage of the most prestigious sporting tournament in world sport. Some won’t get the opportunity to close curtains as they would have envisaged or anything like titans such as Luis Figo and Zinedane Zidane did in the 2006 tournament. Two legends in the game who helped Italy win in 2006 will be absent and this leaves one wondering who will they look to who could have as much stratosphere as Totti or Del Piero to take Azzuri anywhere close to their fait accompli in Germany. To think that these two wont be saying au revoir in South Africa to standing ovations is just an indication of how stochastic the beautiful game can be and how it is an extension of the same quality of reality. Totti who worked tirelessly this season to inspire Roma to be poll position in the Serie A for the majority of the season as well as to an impeccable run they had without a defeat had to watch it all squandered in the last weekend of the season and see the title handed to Intermilan for what is their fifth consecutive league title. At beck and call for his national team and club he has actually come back from retirement before to assist Italy in trying times and with 14 goals and in the Serie A this season and a phalanx of experience one wonders why he is not coming. Del Piero’s Juventus though have been battling at the opposite end of the table and perhaps his hope didn’t have as much gravity as Totti’s.
More fortunate players though who could be having their last World Cup who should be coming include Fabio Cannavaro. The diminutive Azzuri captain will be hoping he has as good a campaign as the previous World Cup where most enthusiasts felt he was cheated when Zidane was awarded Player of the Tournament.
England’s blue-eyed boy also won’t be available in what would have been a farewell World Cup if he hadn’t been carried out with a stretcher in an AC Milan match against Chievo. Becks has failed to surmount the quarter finals in the last three campaigns since France 98. Person non grata in England after their exit he would be the reason Argentina had a quick exit in 2002 only to be smothered by Brazil through a beautiful goal from Ronaldinho. 2006 was as destitute for the English as they crumbled in the hands of Portugal. His colleague Jamie Carragher would love to leave the International fraternity with a bang as his long spell at Liverpool has been devoid of anything vaguely representing the glory days at the Merseyside. His inclusion has sparked some interests from various fans who don’t think he deserves to be there.
A former player of the Reds is also going to be having his last World Cup, Rigorbet Song who has been representing the Indomitable Lions for more than a decade now and has more than a 100 caps in the bag . However if African Nations Cup form is anything to go by sentimental selection to bid him farewell could be quite pyrrhic. Nwankwo Kanu probably wont be seeing another world cup considering that strikers don’t have as long a career as defenders. The man who enchanted the world in 96 at the Atlantic games and galvanized the Nigerians to win those Olympics will be competing with younger players to start games as he hasn’t been of late.
Other players who haven’t cut the mustard who probably wont make the Brazil 2014 include Marco Materazzi whose claim to fame was the head butt from Zidane in the finals of the last World Cup, Many people actually forget he scored for the Italians that day. Another player who might not be available for the next World Cup who hasn’t made the team is Torsten Frings of Germany who has been excluded from the set up for an altercation with the coach.
His long time colleague and current captain Michael Ballack is also not available as he got injured in Chelsea’s cup final clash against Portsmouth. Ballack must feel robbed of an opportunity to try to take the Germans to the heroics of ‘92 when the De Mannschaft won it.
With no more than a few days to go the World Cup is poised to be as exciting and as emotional as ever with more money at stake and everyone looking to win the Holy Grail. Whether by injury or by not being selected this campaign will miss some of its biggest stars and but fortuitously will have another bite at the cherry in four years time. These include the likes of Riquelme, Ronaldinho & Pato.
More players are still in jeopardy though as the 30-man squads still have to be trimmed and this could see more players left out in the cold. Friendly matches are currently keeping our eyes glued to our screens to see who is picking at the right time to give us an ex ante analysis of this World Cup.