The UEFA Champions league is obviously the pinnacle of football right now as the best players from around the best clubs gets to showcase what they are capable of in the grand stage with their various clubs. Some of these names are Ballon D Or winners, while some have also won various trophies in their careers but have just never laid their hands on the most prestigious European club’s football trophy, the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE. In this article thus, we examine the best players who have never won the most prestigious trophy in European club football.
- MICHAEL BALLACK;
The German icon finds himself in the top ten. He had an impressive playing career playing for the likes of Bayern Munich as well as Chelsea. Yet, Ballack was always the bridesmaid on two separate occasions with two different sides. The first was when he was playing for Bayer Leverkusen in 2002. Ballack lost out to a wonderful Zinedine Zidane volley at Hamden Park, whilst he also lost with Chelsea in 2008 to Manchester United on penalties. So Painful.
- PATRICK VIERA;
Known for his no nonsense tackling and physical stature, the Arsenal player has never been replaced since and lent a great amount of steel to the Gunners midfield under Arsene Wenger. This has sadly been lacking from their side for some time. Vieira had a fierce rivalry with Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane which usually spiraled out of control on and off the pitch. The French World Cup winner and Euro victor did not manage to win the Champions League during his successful career.
- PAVEL NEDVED;
Arguably one of the most skillful and creative players of his time, the former Czech Republic international never got a sniff of the prestigious title. His incredible touch coupled with his graceful play ensured he was a fan favorite and highly sought after by many clubs. The closest Nedved came was in 2003 (the year he won the Ballon d’Or) when Juve made it to the final, but lost in penalty kicks to Serie A rivals, AC Milan.
- RUUD VAN NISTELROOY;
The Dutch striker has dominated in the Champions League which has seen him become the third highest goal scorer in Champions League history with 56 goals. Even though he started his professional career in 1993, he did not play in the Champions League until he joined Manchester United in 2001. For a striker who has top scored in three different leagues in the continent and was also the top scorer in three different seasons in the Champions League, it is surprising that he never won the Champions League.He played for the Red Devils for five seasons scoring 38 goals in Europe (also a club record) before he moved to Real Madrid where he continued his scoring form, especially in La Liga. But his was a career that was beset by a injuries which caused him to miss many games at Madrid.
- ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVICH;
He had played in the biggest clubs in the world from Ajax to AC Milan to Inter Milan to Juventus to Barcelona to PSG and has won the league titles in each of these clubs he has been, totaling a whopping 15 league titles and various highest goal scorers awards and has scored for all of these teams in the Champions league but has never led his team to winning the tournament. He is also one of the only two players in history to have scored in every minute of football (1-90). He has also been the highest goal scorer in France for the past three seasons among various historic achievement but has NEVER won the Champions league in history. Weird.
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He is well known for being one of the most loyal one–club men and one of the finest players of this era. The attacking midfielder has won the Serie A Footballer of the Year twice and Italian Footballer of the Year a record five times. Totti is also the second highest goal scorer in the Serie A with 230 League goals. Having debuted with Roma at the young age of 16, Totti is now playing in his 22nd season for the club! But The King of Rome has never won the Champions League with his beloved AS Roma. In fact, the only major honors he has ever won with the Serie A club are the Serie A title in 2001 and the Coppa Italia twice in 2007 and 2008. He too has won many runners-up medals in Italy. Roma were never a real force, with their best runs coming in 2007 and 2008 where they were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Manchester United on both occasions. It’s very sad that one of Europe’s most popular football players may never win a Champions League trophy.
- FABIO CANNAVARO;
He won the Ballon D Or in 2006 after leading Italy to World Cup glory in 2006 but never got to win the Champions league despite playing for top clubs like Juventus, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Deemed one of the finest defenders of all time it comes as a surprise that he never won the champions league ever.
- GIANLUIGI BUFFON;
Another Italian legend who has never won the Champions League is Juventus’s goalkeeper, who also keeps for the Italian national team, Gianluigi Buffon. His status among the elite has already been set in stone. He is the only goalkeeper to have won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award (2003), he has won the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year award a record nine times and was once voted the best goalkeeper of the 21st century. But the only honor missing in his cabinet is a Champions League medal. The closest he ever came to lifting the trophy was in 2003 when Juventus faced their arch Italian rivals AC Milan at Old Trafford. The match went into a penalty shootout and Buffon managed to make two saves, denying Seedorf and Kaladze but failed to stop Shevchenko’s penalty that gave Milan the title. He has already won a World Cup with Italy in 2006. Only a Champions League trophy remains to be won to complete his resume.
Between 1993 and 2008, Il Fenomeno as he’s being called played for various European clubs like Cruzeiro, PSV, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan. Perhaps the most complete striker in the recent past, Ronaldo won the World Cup twice with Brazil. He is also the highest goal scorer in the history of the World Cup with 15 goals. Despite scoring 49 goals in European competitions, Ronaldo never got to win the Champions League. Perhaps his biggest opportunity to win the trophy was with the Galacticos at Real Madrid when he partnered Figo, Zidane, Raul, Roberto Carlos and Beckham. He scored 104 goals for Real Madrid, but the club failed in their attempts to win an unprecedented tenth title. His only European triumph was a UEFA Cup with Inter Milan in 1998 and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup with Barcelona in 1997.
1. DIEGO MARADONA;
Without question, this man gets the nod. Being widely regarded as at least one of the greatest players of all time or arguably the best, it turns out that Diego Maradona did not win the Champions League either. The former Napoli player only managed to play in a couple of games and eventually went out at the first and second round stages. It is really hard to believe that Maradona was unable to achieve this trophy despite all of his incredible talents.