Absent XI: The best players who won't be at Euro 2020


Editors's note: This article was published before news broke that Trent Alexander-Arnold would miss Euro 2020 due to injury.

With Euro 2020 squads officially submitted, the talent that will be on display beginning next week has been finalized. So too has the wildly impressive collection of players who won't be on show. Be it because of injury, coaching decisions, or their nation's inability to qualify, numerous stars will watch the event from home.

With that in mind, here's a squad made up entirely of stars who, for one reason or another, won't take part in this summer's competition; yes, France alone could compile a dominant team of absentees, but we've decided to widen the scope here.

Starting XI

Jan Oblak (Slovenia): Arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, the Atletico Madrid shot-stopper is an obvious choice. Slovenia is yet to reach a major international tournament with Oblak between the sticks.

Theo Hernandez (France): The rampaging left-back was an attacking juggernaut for AC Milan this year, but that wasn't enough to convince Didier Deschamps. Theo's brother, Lucas Hernandez, needs to do some campaigning.

Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands): Van Dijk, perhaps the finest defender on the planet, continues to recover from the devastating knee injury suffered in October. The Dutchman opted out of the tournament to continue his rehab.

Sergio Ramos (Spain): Spain manager Luis Enrique decided not to call up any Real Madrid players, with Ramos' absence the most surprising. The veteran defender, 35, is coming off an injury-plagued season.

Dayot Upamecano (France): Another casualty of the absurd collection of talent at Deschamps' disposal, Bayern Munich-bound Upamecano figures to be a stalwart of future tournaments for Les Bleus.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (England): England is taking four right-backs to Euro 2020. Wan-Bissaka, despite his excellence at Manchester United, was simply a victim of the numbers game. Five would have been pushing it, surely.

Eduardo Camavinga (France): There's a reason just about every top club in the world wants to land Camavinga. Like Upamecano, the 18-year-old Rennes midfielder should have plenty of chances to shine for France in the future.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia): A dominant aerial presence with lovely quick feet, Milinkovic-Savic missed out by the slimmest of margins; Serbia fell to Scotland on penalties in a qualifying playoff final.

Dominik Szoboszlai (Hungary): The gifted 20-year-old will feel more crushed than most. After lifting Hungary to the Euros with a last-minute winner in a playoff final, Szoboszlai was ruled out this week due to an adductor strain.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden): After coming out of international retirement in March - to widespread excitement - a knee injury ended any hopes Ibrahimovic had of spearheading Sweden's attack this summer.

Erling Haaland (Norway): The big one. Literally. It's almost unfair that fans won't get to see Haaland, one of the game's most spellbinding strikers, do his thing at the Euros. Please, don't make this a common occurrence, Norway.


With UEFA expanding squad sizes to 26 for this summer's event, we'll take full advantage and name a super-sized bench. There's more than enough talent remaining to fill the additional slots.

Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Germany)

Defenders: Ibrahima Konate (France), Kostas Manolas (Greece), Ferland Mendy (France)

Midfielders: Martin Odegaard (Norway), Dusan Tadic (Serbia), Houssem Aouar (France), James Maddison (England), Nicolo Zaniolo (Italy)

Forwards: Marco Reus (Germany), Moise Kean (Italy), Mason Greenwood (England), Ansu Fati (Spain), Pedro Neto (Portugal), Edin Dzeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Just how far would this team go at Euro 2020?

Absent XI: The best players who won't be at Euro 2020
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