25 Sep 2020 5:21 PM +00:00

The Manchester United and Real Madrid players who won't be in Russia this summer

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

World Cup year is special. 

The natural sadness disappointment of the domestic season ending won't linger as we hurtle towards the start of the 2018 edition of the biggest tournament in sport.

As with every tournament, though, comes a qualifying campaign, and with every qualifying campaign, some of the biggest stars in the game inevitably end up missing out. 

It's been a while since the dust has settled in the quest to reach Russia, so here's a stark reminder of five of the world's biggest players who'll be joining us on the sofa this summer.