Spanish football has been home to some of the giants of the game, especially in club football. For the past fifty years or more, La Liga has been famous for the emphasis that it places on homegrown talent. In spite of it’s popularity, Spain never really dominated football except for a four year period from 2008-2012. Hence, many great Spaniards were not able to get their hands on the World Cup. In this article, we will take a look at five Spanish legends who failed to win the World Cup.
Note:- Alfredo di Stefano is not considered as he started his career with Argentina
#5 Francisco Gento
The man with six European Cups to his name definitely deserves a spot among Spanish legends who failed win the World Cup. Gento spent almost the entirety of his career at Real Madrid and was the honorary president at the time of his death. He debuted for Spain in 1955 and went on to represent them until 1969. In 44 appearances for Spain, he could manage only 5 goals, a remarkably low tally for a player of his stature. He played in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups but Spain was unable to progress beyond group stage.
#4 Andoni Zubizarreta
At the time of his retirement, Zubizarreta was the most capped Spanish player. From 1985 to 1998, Zubizarreta represented Spain 126 times and in four consecutive World Cups. In the 1986 World Cup, he was part of the Spanish team that progressed until the quarter-finals. In the 1990 World Cup, Spain was eliminated in the Round of 16 by Yugoslavia. After disappointing performances in the group stage of the 1994 World Cup, Andoni kept a clean sheet in Round of 16 victory against Switzerland.
But Italy defeated them in the quarter-final and Zubizarreta conceded 2 goals. In his last World Cup in 1998, he scored an infamous own goal as Spain was eliminated in the group stage.
#3 Fernando Morientes
Morientes spent his best years at Real Madrid which coincided with his international success for Spain. He debuted for Real Madrid in 1997 and for Spain a year later. Morientes scored a brace inside the first five minutes of his Spanish debut. In 47 caps for Spain, Morientes scored 27 goals. He scored 2 goals in the 1998 World Cup and 3 goals in the 2002 World Cup. He played his last game for Spain in 2007 and a player of his quality should have enjoyed a more successful international career.
#2 Fernando Hierro
Hierro was part of the Spain World Cup squad four times starting from 1990. A central defender known for his passing range, Hierro was a Real Madrid legend and won three Champions League titles. But he had little success with his national team despite having other great players at his side. Despite being a central defender, Hierro regularly took set pieces for Spain. His most memorable goal for Spain came when they were down to 10 men against Denmark in the 1994 World Cup qualification. Hierro’s header ensured a World Cup spot for Spain.
Raul tops the list of Spanish legends who failed to win the World Cup. He was a phenomenal centre-forward, both while playing for Spain and Real Madrid. In 102 appearances for Spain, Raul scored 44 goals. Raul’s first World Cup in 1998 ended in agony as Spain suffered group stage elimination. In the 2002 World Cup, he scored 3 goals in the group stage and looked in fantastic form. But he suffered a groin injury in Round of 16 and Spain and was ruled out of the tournament. He was just a substitute during the 2006 World Cup as Villa and Torres had climbed up the pecking order.
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