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Neuer, Ronaldo and stars who travelled to World Cups unfit

8:58 PM IST 11/06/18
Manuel Neuer 2018 Ronaldo 2002 Split
The Germany goalkeeper will travel to the tournament without playing a competitive match this year, but he's not the first injured star to travel

  • Paolo Rossi Italy Brazil World Cup 07051982

    Paolo Rossi - 1982

    Before going to the World Cup in 1982, Juventus forward Paolo Rossi had played just three games in two seasons thanks to a lengthy suspension for alleged match-fixing while at Perugia. He was a shock inclusion in the Italy squad, with major doubts over his fitness proven correct during the group stages where he made little impact. By the time the knockout stage arrived, he was much sharper, scoring three times against Brazil and the opening goal in the final to help the Azzurri to a shock win over West Germany.
  • Kevin Keegan England 25041981

    Kevin Keegan - 1982

    England forward Kevin Keegan scored 21 times in 63 appearances for his country, but only played in one World Cup game. The Three Lions missed out in both 1974 and 1978, but when they qualified in 1982, their captain was suffering from a serious back injury. The problem kept him out of all their first-round games as well as their first two matches in the second round. He came on for the last half hour against Spain, but wasted his best scoring chance to see England knocked out of the tournament.
  • Bryan Robson England 1986 World Cup

    Bryan Robson - 1986

    Bryan Robson travelled to the 1986 World Cup with a shoulder problem, but started England's first two games before suffering a re-occurrence of the same injury which kept him out of the rest of the tournament and forced the Three Lions to change their formation in the absence of 'Captain Marvel'. Four years later, he was fit enough to start at the World Cup, but was injured early in the tournament after dropping a bed on his toe while having a weight-lifting competition with team-mate Paul Gascoigne.
  • Ronaldo Brazil 2002 World Cup Final 30062001

    Ronaldo - 2002

    Brazil superstar Ronaldo played in the 1998 World Cup final just hours after having a seizure and as a result played poorly as France took the trophy. Four years later, his appearance at the tournament looked to be in jeopardy having played just 16 times in two seasons due to a cruciate ligament injury. However, he made a remarkable return, guiding Brazil to a fifth world title with eight goals along the way.
  • Zinedine Zidane France 2002 World Cup 11062002

    Zinedine Zidane - 2002

    Shortly after scoring an incredible goal in the Champions League final for Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane picked up a thigh injury which ruled him out of France's first two games at the 2002 World Cup. Thierry Henry was also a doubt for the opener with Senegal, but proved himself fit before being sent off in the following tie with Uruguay. Zidane returned for the final group game but was not fully fit and was below-par as Denmark won 2-0 to knock France out of the competition.
  • Andrea Pirlo Italy 2010 World Cup 24062010

    Andrea Pirlo - 2010

    Ahead of Italy's World Cup campaign in 2010, talisman Andrea Pirlo was forced off injured during a pre-tournament friendly with Mexico. The midfielder suffered a calf injury which then ruled him out of Italy's first two group games in South Africa. Those matches ended in draws against Paraguay and New Zealand, making Pirlo's return even more important. Despite a decent performance from Pirlo, Italy were stunned by Slovakia who won 3-2 to knock Marcello Lippi's side out.
  • Didier Drogba Ivory Coast 2010 World Cup 25062010

    Didier Drogba - 2010

    After scoring six goals in five games during qualifying, Didier Drogba was expected to be Ivory Coast's key player for the tournament in South Africa. He broke his elbow in a friendly against Japan ahead of the tournament, but had surgery the following day to ensure he would make the squad. Drogba came off the bench in the Elephants' opener after being allowed to participate in the competition wearing a protective cast on his arm, and then scored against Brazil in their next match.
  • Diego Costa Spain 2014 World Cup 18062014

    Diego Costa - 2014

    Diego Costa's participation at the 2014 World Cup was a controversial one before he even arrived at the tournament. The Brazil-born striker switched to Spain ahead of the tournament, having played no part in their qualifying campaign. He was a doubt for the final squad after injuring his hamstring in the Champions League final, but started the first two group games, getting booed by the home support who considered him a traitor, with the same fans delighted as Spain failed to make it through to the knockout stage.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2014 FIFA World Cup

    Cristiano Ronaldo - 2014

    Just four days before Portugal kicked off their 2014 World Cup campaign, Cristiano Ronaldo limped off during training after aggravating a knee injury that had kept him out of two of their pre-tournament friendlies. By the time the game with Germany came around, Ronaldo had proven enough to be selected in the starting XI, but was disappointing during the group stage, scoring just one goal - in the final game with Ghana as Portugal limped out of the tournament, with USA joining Germany in the knockout stage.
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger Germany World Cup 2014

    Bastian Schweinsteiger - 2014

    Bastian Schweinsteiger had knee problems heading into the 2014 World Cup, sparking speculation that head coach Joachim Low might decide to omit him from his 23-man squad. The midfielder was absent from the starting XI for the opening two games, with Philipp Lahm shifted to midfield, but came off the bench against Ghana and started every game thereafter as Germany went all the way to lift the trophy.
  • Manuel Neuer Deutschland DFB

    Manuel Neuer - 2018

    Before Germany begin their 2018 World Cup campaign against Mexico on June 17, it will be nine months since goalkeeper Manuel Neuer last played in a competitive game. The Germany No. 1 missed the majority of Bayern Munich's season with a foot injury he carried over from the previous campaign. However, after proving himself in training and in friendlies, Joachim Low decided to bring Neuer to Russia, intending him to be the starter and captain in all of Germany's games.
  • Mohamed Salah Ägypten 27032018

    Mohamed Salah - 2018

    Egypt forward Mohamed Salah is a major doubt for his country at the 2018 World Cup. The 25-year-old was one of the most in-form players in the world in 2017-18, but ended his season in disappointment after injuring his shoulder in the Champions League final. Various stories emerged about whether he would be involved in Russia, but Egypt coach Hector Cuper is confident he can play a part and included him in his 23-man squad.