Performing in the safe surroundings of your club side is one thing, but doing it for your country at major tournaments is something completely different. There are some star players - the world’s best players - who shine for both club and country on a consistent basis. But others struggle - as we have seen not just at this World Cup finals, but at previous tournament too.
This list features five players who often produce the goods for their club sides but have been found wanting while wearing the colours of their national teams. Some have played fewer games than others, admittedly, but there has been little to suggest things will suddenly turn rosy for them. Others may have already reached the end of the road.
International football: Decider of quality
History tends to judge players on what they manage to achieve with their national teams, just as much - or if not more so - than what they do with their clubs. The two players widely regarded as the greatest of all-time, Pele and Diego Maradona, both shone in front of a global audience at the World Cup finals before lifting the prestigious trophy.
Of course, the explosion of televised football and the ever-growing popularity of the Champions League means international football is perhaps no longer the only stage for players to cement their status as world-class players. But to be remembered as all-time greats, performing at the World Cup finals is still an absolute must.
For example, Lionel Messi is arguably the most talented player in football history - but will history regard him as the best player ever unless he replicates Maradona by wining the World Cup? It’s unlikely, which is why the 26-year-old is so determined to inspire his Argentina side in Brazil this summer.
You only get a couple of chances - if you’re that fortunate - to perform at a World Cup finals. It can be over before you even know it. Just ask a couple of those players on this list if you don’t believe us.
Want to see more? Click the ‘begin slideshow’ button below to view the five overrated international stars…
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