Karim Benzema is not the only unlucky star who suffered with his national team. The FIFA World Cup has a select list of names who are considered football legends. But when the time came to represent their country, they were extremely unlucky. Benzema follows a trend that has been common for many decades in world football. Take a look at the most unfortunate players in FIFA World Cup history.
Hugo Snchez – Mexico National Team
Despite becoming the most effective centre-forward of his era, Mexico’s Hugo Sanchez was never lucky with his country in any World Cup. His national did not qualify for the 1990 Italy World Cup, which was when he was at the peak of his powers. After that, the 1994 USA tournament kept him watching games mostly from the bench. He also played the previous World Cups of Argentina 1978 and Mexico 1986. In none of those editions could Hugo Sanchez make any difference.
Raul Gonzalez Blanco – Spain National Team
Talk about bad luck with a national team, Raul Gonzalez Blanco is one of Real Madrid’s most iconic players. Yet he was never able to win big with Spain. Tragically, Luis Aragones famously kicked Raul out of the 2008 UEFA Euro squad and Spain went on to live the golden age without him. Two Euros and a World Cup between 2008 and 2012 are a painful reminder for Raul when he recalls his national team run. Regardless of this bad luck, nothing will ever take him his legend status at Real Madrid.
Alfredo Di Stefano – Spain and Argentina
The Alfredo Di Stefano National Team history is the oddest of them all. He was born in Argentina and won that era’s version of the Copa America in 1947. But he was kicked out of the Conmebol’s national team due to illegal games he played with Colombia during that era. After moving to Spain and becoming a La Liga sensation, Di Stefano played for La Roja but missed the 1958 edition in Sweden and got injured just before the 1962 edition in Chile due to a muscular injury. Does this ring a bell?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Sweden National Team
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was never too relevant with Sweden in World Cups but became the country’s all-time leading goal scorer. During his first retirement, he missed the 2018 World Cup and Sweden reached a stage they never got to with him in charge. Zlatan has played great games with his country but he always had bad luck fighting for titles, even in other tournaments.
Michael Ballack – Germany National Team
Germany’s own Michael Ballack probably has one of the most successful careers with his national team but only statistically. He always got to finals and lost them against a better rival. Ballack’s bad luck did extend to his clubs for a while. But his loss in the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup final and missing the 2010 South Africa World Cup are a testament of how unfortunate he was. He also lost the 2008 Euro final against Luis Aragones‘ Spain.