Big stars will watch Euro 2016 on TV
Timothy Molobi looks at some of the biggest names that will be missing when Euro 2016 starts in France on Friday
Last week, all the participating Euro 2016 countries submitted their final lists of players to take part in the tournament, and there were some big omissions from those final squads. At every major international tournament, fans revel in the chance to see the best players on the most important stage.
But someone special always misses out, and Euro 2016 will be no different.
Every time, there are those unlucky few who are denied a place at the finals after injury strikes at the very worst time – such as Real Madrid right back Dani Carvajal, who suffered injury heartbreak last weekend – or because of the vagaries of selection.
Some of the best players in Europe were always going to miss the European Championship, given that only 24 countries compete, but it must be an even more bitter pill to swallow for those who helped their countries to qualify in the first place.
Carvajal was ruled out of the Spanish squad for the showdown with a hip injury sustained in the Champions League final. His injury added him to a number of Uefa Champions League stars who will be missing from the tournament.
He joins the likes of Karim Benzema and Raphaël Varane, who will have to forgo the event on home soil. Benzema has blamed his omission on racism. The French star, who was left out of the team along with Hatem Ben Arfa, has accused team manager Didier Deschamps of bowing to pressure from a racist political party with his selections for France’s Euro 2016 squad.
Deschamps left out the Real Madrid striker after the national federation ruled against his return after he was charged with conspiracy to blackmail last year as part of an investigation into an alleged attempt to extort money from his national squad team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
Earlier this week, former France international Eric Cantona agreed that Benzema and Arfa had been ruled out of the squad because of their ethnicity.
Hosts France will also miss the injured Kurt Zouma, and Mamadou Sakho, who had just completed his 30day provisional suspension after being notified by European football’s governing body of a doping offence relating to a test taken in March.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has also left some big names off his squad list.
The defending champions, who won the trophy in 2008 and 2012, will have to make do without Juan Mata, Diego Costa and Fernando Torres.
England have their fair share of problems too, as Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been ruled out because of injuries.
Belgium and Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is also missing from action, with a thigh injury.
But the unluckiest player to miss out has to be Germany’s Marco Reus, who also missed the 2014 version. His injury troubles continue to plague him. World champions Germany are without İlkay Gündoğan, who sustained a knee injury in the last few weeks of the Bundesliga season.
Italy have their own woes after Paris SaintGermain midfielder Marco Verratti suffered a groin injury that ruled him out.
Veteran playmaker Andrea Pirlo has been left out by coach Antonio Conte.
Portugal left back Fábio Coentrão will also not be going to France.
One of the more surprising omissions must be Dejan Lovren of Croatia after his fallout with head coach Ante Čačić.
But the championship remains richly star-studded and, as ever, only the finest football should be on display.
SIDELINED Danny Welbeck has suffered yet another injury, which has ruled him out of Euro 2016 BIG BLOW Italy will be without Marco Verratti