After four years of waiting, the World Cup, football’s greatest tournament, is only but a month away.
The road to Russia has been an arduous affair that has witnessed 32 of the world’s best footballing countries prepare for the epic showdown set to kick off come June 2018.
However, injury concerns and a myriad of issues could deny many football fans a chance to watch their favourite stars of the glorious game in action.
Legit.ng presents to you a list of top-flight footballers whose untimely injuries may have ruined their dream of possibly representing their teams in the globe’s grandest tournament.
1. Laurent Koscielny
Frenchman Laurent Koscielny was ruled out of the World Cup after he hobbled off the pitch with a torn achilles tendon during Arsenal’s Europa League Semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid.
2. Serge Gnabry
The Bayern Munich winger suffered a groin injury while on loan to Hoffenheim and is highly unlikely to be heading to Russia with the German international team.
3. Benjamin Mendy
The Man City player’s serious knee ligament injury saw him decommissioned for a vast part of the season.
Mendy is highly unlikely to make an appearance for France having only just made a return to top-flight action for his club.
4. Lars Stindl
Stindl was key in Germany’s Confederations Cup 2017 win.
However, he was ruled out of the World Cup after suffering an ankle injury while playing for his club Borussia Monchengladbach.
5. Jerome Boateng
Boateng suffered a thigh injury that brought his season to a premature end and simultaneously ended any prospects of seeing the lanky German in the world cup.
He still remains hopeful that he can recover in time to represent Germany.
Brazilian captain Neymar has been on a race for fitness ever since he fractured his metatarsal while on duty for French club Paris Saint Germaine.
After undergoing extensive surgery and treatment back home in Brazil he is expected to be back in action towards the end of May.
7. Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain
Chamberlain will be another absentee in this year’s World Cup after the Englishman’s dreams of leading his country to victory were shattered.
He suffered a knee ligament injury during the Red’s Champions League semi-final victory against Roma.
8. Joe Gomez
The Liverpool defender is highly unlikely to feature for the three lions following a brilliant season that saw him help his team to the Uefa Champions league.
Having undergone ankle surgery, the pacey defender is a major doubt for the world cup.
9. Michy Batshuayi
Batshuayi has been out of action and could be absent from the Belgium squad following an ankle injury while on duty for his club Borussia Dortmund.
However, the powerhouse striker still remains hopeful of featuring in Russia.
10. Gilfy Sigurdsson
The Everton midfielder known for his pinpoint accuracy is likely to be a no-show for Heimer Hallgrimsson’s men.
Iceland will have to soldier on without him following a knee ligament injury that is likely to put him out of the World Cup.
11. Manuel Neuer
Injury plagued German international number one Goalkeeper, Neuer, has had a horrible season that witnessed him sit out a large majority of games.
Despite this Joachim Low insists the only just recovered Neuer will still feature in his squad though many remain skeptical.
12. Mesut Ozil
After persistent back problems, Germany World Cup 2014 wonder boy Ozil is a major doubt after having suffered recurrence of a back injury while in action for the Gunners.
13. Alvaro Morata
The Spaniard has also been plagued with a number of injuries that has seen him under perform for Chelsea and become a shadow of his former self.
His back and thigh problem could see him also miss out on a golden ticket to Russia.
As much as it is heartbreaking and frustrating, injury is part of what makes the beautiful game exciting and challenging.
Ironically, most of the players facing injury concerns only did so in an effort to sharpen their skills or book a place in the final squad.
Whether they will or will not make the World Cup stands to be seen with the list only likely to increase over time, thanks to the competitive nature of the game.
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