Beckham, Benzema, Ronaldinho… Focus on the missing stars
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One month before the start of the World Cup, all the teams have confirmed their squad lists. But some big stars are missing.
One month before the FIFA World Cup kicks off on June 11, all the national teams have published their own 30-men lists. But some of football's biggest stars are missing.
On the French side, Raymond Domenech has left some disappointed. The list includes Patrick Vieira (Man. City) and Karim Benzema (Real Madrid). It's no surprise that Frey (Fiorentina), Nasri (Arsenal), Mexes (AS Roma) and Cheyrou (Olympique Marseille) did not make it, but their absence is still controversial.
Ronaldinho and Lisandro Lopez to stay at home
As in 2006, South American young talent has had the upper hand on the old guard. Brazil coach Dunga had no qualms in getting rid of Ronaldinho (AC Milan), Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Adriano (Flamengo), Diego (Juventus), Marcelo (Real Madrid) and Alex (Chelsea). Some countries would easily pay billions to have this kind of arsenal on their side.
In Argentina, Diego Maradona has taken the decision not to go with some of the most high-profile Argentines of the moment. Lisandro Lopez (Lyon), crowned Ligue 1 best player in France, and Lucho Gonzalez (Olympique Marseille) have paid the price for spending their seasons in the French league. Gago (Real Madrid), Zanetti (Inter Milan) and Champions League finalist Cambiasso (Inter Milan) are not going to be part of the trip to South Africa either.
Italy’s VIPs miss the plane
Italy’s Marcello Lippi has had no hesitation in going against public opinion. Forwards Totti (AS Roma), Toni (AS Roma), Balotelli (Inter Milan), Amauri (Juventus), Cassano (Sampdoria), Inzaghi (Milan AC) and Del Piero (Juventus) will be watching their teammates from Italy. At the back, Zidane’s own agent provocateur Marco Materazzi (Inter Milan), Legrottaglie (Juventus) and Squadra Azzurra veteran Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan) will also not be there to defend the title.
In England, David Beckham (LA Galaxy, on loan to AC Milan) missed out on a place in the squad after suffering an Achilles tendon injury but he could still accompany the team to South Africa in a supporting role. Now retired Paul Scholes (Manchester United) declined an invitation from Fabio Capello and Wayne Bridge (Man. City), mid fall-out with Chelsea's John Terry, is refusing to play with his former teammate.
Seedorf and Van Nistelrooy out
Contrary to other European teams, Germany hasn't revolutionised its squad. Only two players were not called up by Joachim Loew: banned Kevin Kuranyi (Schalke 04) and René Adler (Bayer Leverkusen), who has broken ribs.
Its the same strategy for the Netherlands where very few changes are in place except for the noticeable absences of Ruud Van Nistelrooy (Hamburg SV) and Clarence Seedorf (Milan AC).