The excitement and thrill of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia is almost upon us. As we have previously documented here on Eventraveler, there will be some must-see first round matches featuring legendary players. Like the many stars representing their countries this year, there’re also many who won’t be dazzling us with their skill. Here are five who will be missed this year.

Christian Pulisic (USA)

The 19-year-old Pennsylvania native plies his trade at German club Borussia Dortmund. Before turning 19 he had already made 60 appearances for his club with 9 goals, and was capped 18 times for the U.S. National Team scoring 7 international goals. With Pulisic breaking many records, it is unfortunate we won’t be seeing this incredible young player at this year’s World Cup. After losing to Trinidad and Tobago in their qualifier, the US finished fifth in the CONCACAF region.

Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

The veteran midfielder is well known for his agility and prowess on the pitch as well as his ability to score breathtaking goals. After playing for Bayern Munich for over 8 years and winning numerous trophies, Bavarian Football Works notes that Robben is considering his future. Robben’s absence from this year’s World Cup will be sorely missed. It marks the second international tournament in a row the Dutch will be missing, after failing to qualify for Euro 2016 in France.

Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

Chile were eliminated by Brazil in their last qualifier, which means we won’t be seeing the talented forward at this year’s World Cup. Sanchez was one of Arsenal’s top players before he transferred to Manchester United. So far Sanchez has failed to live up to his $36 million salary and the famous number 7 red shirt which has been worn by previous United icons George Best and Eric Cantona. Consequently, Sanchez has some pretty big boots to fill if he is to go into the books as one of United’s greatest players.

Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)

The legendary Italian goalkeeper is still considered as one of the best in the world at the age of 40 and perhaps the greatest of all time. With 175 international caps to his name and the most clean sheets in Serie A history, he is currently the most expensive goalkeeper ever. After failing to qualify for the World Cup, Buffon announced his retirement from international soccer. The four-time world champions had not missed a World Cup since 1958.

Gareth Bale (Wales)

The versatile and talented winger will be sitting the World Cup out after an outstanding Euro 2016. Wales failed to secure a place in the World Cup after losing to the Republic of Ireland in their last qualifier, a game Bale was injured for. However, he is not letting this get him down and has vowed to play at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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