The Champions League is back this week and we could not be more excited. After a few rounds of qualifying and the painful draw, the group stages are ready to commence and the 32 teams involved have selected which players will take them towards the knockout stages.
However, some notable absentees were omitted from the official squads, here are six of the biggest names who will be watching Europe’s premier competition from the sidelines…
1. Diego Costa (Chelsea)
This one hardly came as a surprise but it is noteworthy nonetheless. The Spanish striker has been at ends with the Premier League champions since midway through last season, but managed to patch things up with Antonio Conte to help the Blues to the title.
However, things deteriorated over the summer and Costa’s attempts to force through a move away from West London has thus far failed. He is expected to sign for Atletico Madrid in January and will be available to play in the Champions League as a result.
2. Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
The mercurial striker has been ravaged by injury problems in the past few years and the cruciate ligament damage he suffered back in May means he is still not ready to return to first team action for BVB.
New Dortmund manager Peter Bosz had no option but to leave the German international out of his side’s 25-man squad for the group stages, but he will be hoping to recall him if the Bundesliga heavyweights make it through.
3. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool)
Nathaniel Clyne’s situation is shrouded by mystery. A back injury sustained in Liverpool’s pre-season has kept the England international full-back out of action and a possible return date remains up in the air.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will instead turn to the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez to fill the right-back berth for the Merseyside club, while Clyne will only be able to watch his side’s progress from the stands.
4. Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus)
Another right-back who will play no part in the group stages of the Champions League, Swiss international Stephan Lichsteiner has seen his role diminish for Juventus, becoming a bit-part player under Massimiliano Allegri.
Once considered the finest full-back in the Serie A, the 33-year-old is now below new signing Mattia De Sciglio in the pecking order and publicly expressed his disappointment over the exclusion.
5. Hatem Ben Arfa (Paris Saint-Germain)
With the plethora of attacking talent available to PSG boss Unai Emery, troubled winger Hatem Ben Arfa can’t have too much qualms over not being included into the Ligue 1 outfit’s Champions League squad.
The former Newcastle United man has the likes of Neymar, Angel Di Maria, Lucas Moura and Kylian Mbappe ahead of him and he will be lucky to get playing time in domestic competitions, let alone the Champions League.
6. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur)
The curious case of Erik Lamela has led some Spurs fans to believe he will never play for their club again, but recent photographs have shown the Argentine midfielder returning to physical training on the back of his hip problems.
Yet, Mauricio Pochettino decided against selecting the former Roma man in his 25-man squad and the wait continues for Lamela to take the field for Spurs, after what will be close to a year out.
This article is brought to you by Kingsman: The Golden Circle, in cinemas this September. Check out the trailer below.