Football fans all around the world will rejoice for the next few days as Lionel Messi won his first international trophy. Messi’s long wait for a title with Argentina is well known, and his agony finally ended against Brazil in the Copa América final. In this article, we will look at five popular players yet to win a major international tournament.
#5 Kevin de Bruyne
Much has been talked about Belgium’s golden generation, but they sadly do not have a trophy to show for their efforts. Kevin de Bruyne has been at the forefront of Belgium’s ascent to the top of FIFA rankings. While he has enjoyed a lot of success at the club level, a trophy with the national team has eluded him.
Belgium came the closest to a major tournament victory during the 2018 WC when they finished third. Kevin de Bruyne was one of the stalwarts of the tournament, and much was expected of him at EURO 2020. Although he was produced some scintillating passes, injuries limited his playing time at the EURO. 2022 World Cup could be his last chance to win silverware with Belgium.
#4 Harry Kane
It is unimaginable that a player of Kane’s calibre could retire without lifting a trophy at a club or international level. But as he turns 28, doubts will raise over the possibilities of Kane ever winning a trophy. Kane has endured many heartbreaks in his footballing career, but the loss to Italy in the EURO 2020 final will haunt him forever. With Spurs not looking like winning a trophy anytime soon, Kane might well push for a move away from his boyhood club.
#3 Marco Reus
The Borussia Dortmund skipper is definitely among the popular players yet to win a major international tournament. Weeks before the 2014 World Cup, Marco Reus injured his ankle in a friendly game and was ruled out of the tournament. Germany went on to win the World Cup, and Reus missed a golden opportunity to be a world champion.
Two years later, Reus was at the peak of his powers and many expected him to be a star player for Germany in EURO 2016. However, he once again picked up an injury, this time in the DFB Pokal final, and was left out of the squad. For the 2018 World Cup, Reus was finally fit, but Germany were knocked out in the group stage itself. He decided to not participate in EURO 2020, thus virtually ending any hopes of him winning a senior career trophy.
#2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The ageless centre-forward has several rare accomplishments to his name, but his record with the national team is disastrous, to say the least. Zlatan first represented Sweden at the 2002 World Cup. Sweden were eliminated by newcomers Senegal but Zlatan was used only as a substitute.
In the EURO 2004, he missed a penalty in the shoot-out and Sweden were knocked out of the tournament. Arguably his greatest disappointment would be Sweden’s failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Zlatan could yet feature in the 2022 tournament, but even he will have little hopes of winning the tournament.
#1 Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski first played for Poland in 2008 and since then he has entirely carried the team on his shoulders. He is the only recognizable name in the Poland squad, and hence it will be harsh to criticize him for his team’s failures. Poland has never been a footballing heavyweight, but they reached the quarter-finals of EURO 2016, a huge achievement for a tiny nation.
Lewandowski contributed three goals in three games at EURO 2020, but Poland did not progress beyond the group stage. Without any doubt, Lewandowski is the most popular player who is yet to win a major international tournament.