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UEFA Champions League 2016-17: 10 Best Footballers To Never Win The Champions League

The UEFA Champions League TrophyUEFA Champions League is the most prestigious club competition in the world. Each and every boy entering a football pitch dreams of lifting the trophy with big ears. It’s practically impossible to be acknowledged among the football greats without winning this competition, and if you are one of the best in the game, then you are naturally playing to win this trophy. However, there is, in fact, a small group of giants, that have never won the Champions League, with some of them being incredibly close on several occasions. Let’s talk about ten top players, who have never won the Champions League. 

1. Diego Maradona

According to football community, Diego Armando Maradona was one of the best and most talented players in the game history. The former player of FC Barcelona, SSC Napoli and Sevilla FC, all participants of this seasons round of 16, played 6 matches in Champions League (European Cup), in which he scored 2 goals. It’s a shame his club career peaked for a very short period of time, mainly during his time spent at Napoli. He never came close to winning the trophy, despite playing in Europe for about a decade. 

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The most important one is missing among Zlatan’s 31 club trophies. The Swedish top striker, who keeps on impressing different football nations, currently England, is another one of the footballers that have never celebrated the victory in UEFA Champions League. Not yet, at least. Zlatan is still an active player and despite his age, there are still minimum two seasons left before he finishes his professional career. Winning this trophy would certainly be a cherry on the cake in an unbelievably successful career of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

3. Gianluigi Buffon

Arguably the best goalkeeper of the 21st century, maybe even the 20th, has won tons of silverware, including the biggest trophy in football, the World Cup. The Champions League trophy is still missing in Buffon’s collection. The 39-year-old Juventus legend has played over 100 matches in this competition and been very close to lifting the cup in the seasons of 2002-03 and 2014-15: he lost in the final in both cases. As Grande Gigi said about UEFA Champions League once: “I have had a successful career with a lot of trophies, I don't feel like I need it - but I want it. I don't know if it is my destiny to win it - but as ever we will be working hard.”

4. Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima

El Phenomeno belongs to the group of most popular footballers that have ever run on a football pitch. Extravagant hairstyle from World Cup 2002, smile on lips and miraculous football skills: all of these belong to the Brazilian forward. Two-times World Champion and the second best goalscorer in World Cup history has never won the Champions League, even though he played for clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan or AC Milan. In fact, his team won the competition in 2007, when AC Milan defeated Liverpool in the final, but Ronaldo was ineligible for the competition, as he had played for Real Madrid earlier in the season.

5. Eric Cantona

The charismatic Frenchman conquered England in 5 years and was crowned as the King of Old Trafford, having had played for Marseille, Montpellier and Leeds earlier in his career. He was the key player to contribute to Sir Alex Ferguson’s successful era at Manchester United, but the French captain was never handed the trophy. Cantona, then aged 31, announced his retirement shortly after United´s semi-final defeat in the season of 1996-97. Manchester United won the trophy in a crazy night at Barcelona two years later, but, unfortunately for the kung-fu master, there were other names involved in the victory and the trophy was handed to another captain.

6. Francesco Totti

The Roman Emperor Francesco Totti never won a Champions League titleThe Emperor of Rome has spent all of his career at AS Roma. One of the most loyal footballers in football history has, however, never won the Champions League. During his long spell with The Wolves he has only won 5 club trophies. Several Champions League contenders have tried their best to sign the World Champion of 2006 throughout the past twenty years, but Totti has always declined lucrative offers, preferring loyalty and hearts of football fans to an eventual Champions League victory. And this is another reason we love Francesco Totti.

7. Lothar Matthäus

The German international spent the most successful Lothar Matthaus with the Ballon d'Orpart of his career at Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. He won 8 league tittles, 3 domestic cups, 2 UEFA Cups and numerous other trophies in Germany and Italy. 1990 was the highlight in Matthäus’s career, when he won the World Cup and the Ballon d´Or. Nevertheless, there is a gap called Champions League in his cabinet. Matthäus’s story in Champions League counts unbelievable comebacks suffered. In 1987 Porto turned the final match upside down within 120 seconds and left only silver medals for Lothar and Bayern. The scenario repeated in 1999, when Manchester United won the final scoring twice in additional time. Matthäus retired in 2000, the year before Bayern celebrated its 4th victory in this competition. For some players it´s just not meant to win this trophy...

8. Alan Shearer

The record goalscorer of the English Premier League history has didn’t manage to win the desired title either. Like Francesco Totti, Shearer never represented a top Champions League contender, spending his career at Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United. He won the Premier League only once and started in 16 Champions League matches; low numbers for a striker of such a caliber. More trophies would definitely fit Shearer better. 

9. Roberto Baggio

Yet another Italian who never won a Champions League trophy, The Divine Ponytail linked his career with top Italian clubs Fiorentina, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan. Despite being part of these big clubs, he only won four club trophies. Champions League fans never got spoiled enjoying Baggio in the competition, as he only played 11 matches there. His Inter Milan was eliminated in the quaterfinals by the eventual winners Manchester United in 1999. The Ballon d’Or winner of 1993 is another former star that deserved to have more trophies in his cabinet.

10. Patrick Vieira

Former Arsenal and Manchester City star Patrick Vieira never won a Champions League eitherThe last Frenchmen in this list of top players destined to pass by the Champions League, is Patrick Vieira. The European and World Champion won more than a dozen club titles in England and Italy, but never conquered continental club trophies. He played 76 matches in UEFA Champions League, but didn’t even reach as high as semi-finals. Sadly for Vieira, Arsenal reached the Champions League final in the season of 2005-06, the year when he had departed to Juventus. But the saddest scenario happened in 2010, when Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan won the Champions League 5 months after Vieira had joined Manchester City in a January transfer window. Wrong timing or destiny?
Read Samuel Vilkovsky's and Samuel Durinsky's article about 11 Top Youngsters of Champions League
Read Samuel Vilkovsky's and Samuel Durinsky's article about Slovakia national team


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