But these players, for sure will get a chance to enter into World Cup folklore, after all they are still young. If anything, Messi and Ronaldo should be peaking and aiming to lead their respective countries to glory in the 2014 World Cup.
Then who are the great players who have never or may never play in a World Cup tournament? The list goes on and on but here are some of the greats never to play in the World Cup.
Great Players Who Have Never Played in A World Cup
Ryan Giggs, Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, Dean Saunders, Neville Southall (Wales)
George Best (Northern Ireland)
Eric Cantona, Jean Pierre Papin and David Ginola (France)
Abedi Pele (Ghana)
George Weah (Liberia)
Jari Litmanen and Sami Hyypia (Finland)
Andrei Kanchelskis (Russia)
Matthew Le Tissier (England)
Bernd Schuster (Germany)
Liam Brady (Republic of Ireland)
Geovani Elber (Brazil)
Kazuyoshi Miura (Japan)
Georgi Kinkladze (Georgia)
On a more current and contemporary note, these are world class players who may never play in a World Cup due to an inferior national side.
Current World Class Players Who May Never Play in a World Cup
Yossi Benayoun (Israel)
Alexander Hleb (Belarus)
Fredi Kanoute (Mali)
Goran Pandev (Macedonia)
Eidur Gudjohnsen (Iceland)
Stevan Jovetic (Montenegro)
On a more positive note, goals by Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic have given Bosnia Herzegovina a chance to qualify for South Africa. Definitely with new nations like Serbia and Slovakia in the World Cup, the variety of football in store will make very interesting viewing. These ex-eastern bloc countries would not be pushovers with stars like Martin Skrtel, Nemanja Vidic and Marek Hamsik.
Further to this, in Asia, two countries are fighting it out to make it to South Africa. The Oceania-Asia playoff pits Bahrain against New Zealand. Bahrain is looking to qualify for their first World Cup but will need to be less wasteful in front of goal. The All-Whites are aiming to reach the first World Cup tournament after 28 years. Either way, it will be a carnival atmosphere in South Africa for their group of fans.
This post is based on the following researched articles:
World Cup Blog's article
Goal.com's articles Part I and Part II
KC Mynx's Bleacher Report article