A ludicrous XI of heavily-capped ballers who haven’t been selected for Euro 2024

Each international summer tournament comes with surprise omissions. Publics losing their collective minds, newspapers hitting the caps lock, and pub discussions escalating into full-blown incredulity.

This summer is no different—in fact, it might even be more shock-omission-heavy than any summer in recent memory. Gareth Southgate has picked his team boldly and national team managers across Europe have done the same.

We’ve put together a genuinely wild XI of players not selected for this year’s Euros and, honestly, we think they’d have a decent chance of winning the whole thing.

Thibaut Courtois

Real Madrid’s imperial goalkeeper made it back from injury in time to win the Champions League, but not fast enough for Domenico Tedesco to include him in the Belgium squad for Euro 2024.

We’re not international football managers, but if you were to ask our opinion, we’d say if you’re fit enough to play in the Champions League you’re probably fit enough to be selected but, listen, what do we know?

Pedro Porro

Granted, Pedro Porro is far less experienced than the rest of this squad but—cards on the table—we really wanted this to be a functioning formation without shoehorning a striker in at right-back or something, so in Porro goes.

He is a genuine surprise omission. The Spaniard has been superb for Tottenham this season and can count himself extremely unlucky not to be heading to Germany this month. Luis de la Fuente has instead leaned on the experienced Dani Carvajal and Jesus Navas, which is understandable, to be fair.

Sergio Ramos

This is truly a passing-of-the-baton moment. Ramos is still playing at the top level of Spanish football, at the heart of Sevilla’s defence, but has been left out of Spain’s Euros squad by De la Fuente.

Instead, Pau Cubarsi has been called up and, actually, based on his performances this season, you might expect the 17-year-old to start. Such has been the teenager’s astronomical rise since coming into the Barcelona first team.

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Mats Hummels

Imagine being a genuine legend of the modern game, playing in the Champions League final, being absolutely mint, and not getting selected for your country’s Euro squad. We’d be pure raging. Can’t imagine what Hummels is feeling.

Jonathan Tah has earned his place after a season for the history books with Bayer Leverkusen and Antonio Rudiger is in his terrifying prime, but surely Hummels should be at least in the squad?

Raphael Guerreiro

Guerreiro is still only 30 years old and has been an ever-present for his country since 2014, but the left wingback is perhaps suffering collateral damage from Bayern Munich’s extremely underwhelming season. Joao Cancelo and Diogo Dalot probably have those fullback berths locked down, but Guerreiro will still be gutted to have missed out.

Jordan Henderson

Gareth Southgate has been bold with his final squad selection for Euro 2024. The England boss has been accused of having his favourites and refusing to stray from his preferred core group despite clamour for more in-form players to be rewarded with a call-up.

Henderson has been a stalwart of the Southgate era with England, but after a tumultuous move to Saudi Arabia followed swiftly by a move to Ajax which saw the Amsterdammers finishing 5th, a full 35 points behind PSV, the Mackem midfielder has finally lost his place in the international set up.

Marco Verratti

One of the most talented midfielders of his generation, Verratti has regularly been a vital cog in the Italian midfield, but last summer’s move to Al-Arabi in Saudi Arabia has possibly put him out of sight and out of mind in terms of the national team.

Italy do have options in midfield, especially in Nicolo Barella, Jorginho, and Davide Frattesi, but we think Verratti would still have been massively useful to this Italy squad.

Leon Goretzka

Pascal Gross is a brilliant footballerwe’re absolutely not arguing that. Would we pick Pascal Gross ahead of Leon Goretzka if we were Julian Nagelsmann? Probably not, no. That’s what’s happened, though.

Cue Gross scoring the winning free kick in the 98th minute of the Final…

Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during a soccer game between the national teams of Luxembourg and Portugal, on Sunday 26 March 2023 in Luxembourg City, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

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The ex-Real Madrid man has been superb since heading to Real Betis and we fully expected Isco to be on his way to Germany this summer.

Unfortunately for him, he just can’t catch a break. After a beautiful renaissance which seemed set to land him a spot on the plane, Isco broke a bone in his foot in May which ruled him out of selection for the tournament. Heartbreaking.

Serge Gnabry

Once not good enough for Tony Pulis at West Brom, Gnabry couldn’t have done more to turn his career around from that point and has been brilliant for Bayern yet again this season.

However, after being forced off in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final with a hamstring injury, the tricky winger’s Euros campaign is now over before it even started. A real shame.

Ciro Immobile

We’re struggling to wrap our collective head around this one. Italy aren’t blessed with strikers, and have only chosen two-and-a-half, depending on whether we’re calling Giacomo Raspadori and out-and-out striker.

Luciano Spalletti has opted for Gianluca Scamacca and Mateo (the Tiger King) Retegui, who are both great options, but the experience of Immobile is surely irreplaceable in that Azzurri side.