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They are football's royalty, the marquee players whose almost super human ability on the ball wins cups and championships; their faces adorn billboards and magazine covers from China to Colombia.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/09/messi.art.gi.jpg caption="Lionel Messi could miss out on the 2010 World Cup if his team Argentina fail to improve."]
But, amazingly, the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry may all be absent from the World Cup finals in South Africa.
Qualification for next year's tournament has thrown up a host of surprise results with a number of top teams, including Argentina, Portugal, France and Egypt all in serious danger of missing the tournament.
The highest profile strugglers are Diego Maradona's Argentina, who currently sit fourth in South American qualifying, two points ahead of rivals Ecuador and Colombia.
Would you miss Argentina at the World Cup finals? Read more of this story at CNN.com's Football Fan Zone.