The world’s premier club competition has just kicked off for another season, with the world’s best players including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Paul Pogba all vying to be Europe’s best. The UEFA Champions League is the biggest prize in club football and although most top stars do triumph with their sides, many of the best never lifted the trophy despite coming agonizingly close. Here are the 8 best players to never win the Champions League:
Despite being one of the greatest players ever to take part in the game, the original Brazilian Ronaldo never got his hands on the fabled trophy. Though he did have spells at Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, the big-eared prize eluded him throughout his illustrious career in Europe.
2. Patrick Vieira
With his current coaching stint at Manchester City, Vieira could in all likelihood nurturing a potential UEFA Champions League winner, but the Frenchman was never able to do it himself and missed out as Arsenal lost the 2006 final to Barcelona.
3. Dennis Bergkamp
Gifted with an ability to use the ball in ways unimaginable before, Dennis Bergkamp is firmly rated as a scorer of great goals during his time at Arsenal. And although he did reach the 2006 UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona, the Dutchman was an unused substitute and ultimately was unable to prevent a narrow loss.
4. Gianluigi Buffon
Having won the 2006 World Cup and a host of top honours with Juventus, Buffon is not going to be feeling the loss of a potential UEFA Champions League a lot. But given the quality of teams the keeper has played for, it’s quite startling to see him miss out on the greatest prize club football has to offer.
5. Lothar Matthaus
Matthaus, unlike most players on this list, was actually on course to winning the UEFA Champions League in 1999. Having been substituted close to injury time, the legendary German midfielder was getting ready to pick up his medal when tragedy stuck in injury time and Manchester United recorded a famous come-back. The look on Matthaus’ face when United took a 2-1 lead says it all.
6. Michael Ballack
Ballack managed to come extremely close to the title on two occasions, only to be denied both times. In 2002, a young Ballack looked in awe as Zidane ousted Bayer Leverkusen while Manchester United edged Chelsea on penalties in 2008.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan is still at the peak of his powers and with PSG looking good on the pitch, it could be the Swede’s year to win the Champions League. However, for the time being, the striker will have to be content with a host of domestic titles gathered during an illustrious career in Europe’s biggest leagues.
8. Diego Maradona
Possibly the best player the game has ever seen and he doesn’t have a UEFA Champions League title to show for it. However, to be fair to the Argentine, both Napoli and Barcelona never really looked like top sides during his tenure.
Who do you think is the worst EPL import of all time?
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