The national teams have handed the squad lists for the upcoming World Cup: they are not all definitive yet, but it is already certain that some of Serie A’s most recognizable player have missed the cut.
Alex Sandro: the Juventus left back has had a seesawing season, but he is one of the best in his position on his day. However, Tite picked Filipe Luis, who is coming off an injury, as Marcelo back-up in Russia.
Joao Cancelo: the Inter player was one of Serie A’s revelation this year and after a timid start he really asserted himself as one of most creative fullback around. Apparently, that was not enough to unseat Southampton’s Cedric Soares and Porto’s Ricardo Pereira.
Raul Albiol: the Spaniard had another solid season at Napoli, even earning a Team of the Year spot, and could have been a veteran substitute in the Spain team, but Julen Lopetegui went with Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Nacho and Cesar Azpilicueta as centre-backs.
German Pezzella: the former Betis was a day-one starter at Fiorentina and extremely reliable all year long. There was not much separation between him and Federico Fazio.
Radja Nainggolan: the tumultuous relationship between the Ninja and Belgium continued also with Roberto Martinez at the helm. He did not have a season as superb as last year’s one, but he finished strong and he is a player you want on your side when you go to war. His exclusion led to loud protests by the fans. He was left out of the 28-man provisional list, with Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele, Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini, Tianjin Quanjan’s Axel Witsel and Monaco’s Youri Telemans chosen over him.
Suso, Luis Alberto, Iago Falque and José Callejon: it is hard to crack Spain’s uber-talented midfields and attacks and they learned first-hand this year. Alberto and Falque had particularly great seasons, but the coach went with La Liga’s players such as Rodrigo, Iago Aspas and Lucas Vazquez to complete the star-studded team that includes Isco, Marco Asensio, Andres Iniesta, Koke, Saul Niguez, Thiago Alcantara, David Silva and Diego Costa.
Allan: the Napoli powerhouse continued to grow in 2017/2018, but probably paid the price because he has overlapping skills with two of Brazil’s mainstays like Casemiro and Fernandinho. He has yet to debut with the senior national team, so it was not a surprise that he was not called up. Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred and Beijing Gouan’s Renato Augusto are in the WC squad.
Mauro Icardi: scoring 29 goals in Serie A did not suffice to make the Argentina team as his reputation there is still damaged by the whole brouhaha involving Wanda Nara and Maxi Lopez from a while back. Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain will lead the Seleccion’s front-line.
Alejandro Gomez and Diego Perotti: El Monito was not particularly impressive this year and almost disappeared down the stretch because of some injuries, but was a semi-regular part of the squad. El Papu, who had another productive season at Atalanta, was there in Autumn but did not manage to secure a spot. Jorge Sampaoli’s list comprises Benfica’s Eduardo Salvio, West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini, Independiente’s Maximiliano Meza and Boca Junior’s Boca Juniors.
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