READ: Best XI never to win the UEFA Champions League

READ: Best XI never to win the UEFA Champions League

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None of these legends have a Champions League winners medal…

Since its inception in 1955, some of the best players to have played football have lifted the Champions League (or European Cup as it was). The likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo have all had their hands on the famous trophy just to name but a few. However, not all of the greats of the game have managed to win Europe’s most prestigious trophy. Here we look at the best 11 NOT to have a Champions League winners medal.

GK: Gianluigi Buffon

In terms of goalkeepers, there is one outstanding player which has (so far) not managed to win Europe’s top trophy. Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon has been at Juventus since 2001 and has made over 110 appearances for the club in Europe. However despite playing all those games he has never been in a Champions League winning side and it is just about the only medal missing from his collection having won seven Serie A titles, three Coppa Italia’s and even the World Cup at international level. Buffon and Juventus have been in two Champions League finals since he arrived at the club, in 2003 they were beaten by Italian rivals AC Milan whilst in 2015 Barcelona saw them off. At 39-years-old he only has a couple of years left in his career, but he will get another chance to lift the trophy with Juventus taking on Real Madrid in the 2016/17 final.

Gianluigi Buffon

CB: Lilian Thuram

France’s most capped player of all time, Lilian Thuram was one of the finest defenders of his generation. During his career he played for both Juventus and Barcelona, two of Europe’s elite football clubs. However, despite winning three Serie A titles, two Supercoppa Italia’s and even the UEFA Cup, the Frenchman never managed to get his hands on the Champions League. The closest he came was in the 2002/03 campaign where Juventus reached the final, only to be beaten on penalties by Italian rivals AC Milan.

CB: Fabio Cannavaro

Fabio Cannavaro will forever be remembered for captaining his native Italy to World Cup triumph in 2006, winning the FIFA World Player of the Year just after. The defender was an absolute rock at the back and was rated as one of the best central defenders of his generation. He enjoyed a hugely successful career in club football too, winning two Coppa Italia titles, the Supercoppa Italiana, two La Liga titles and the Supercopa de España as well as the UEFA Cup with Parma. However the one trophy that he didn’t manage to get was the Champions League, despite playing for giants such as Juventus, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. The closest he came was with Inter when he reached the semi-finals.

Fabio Cannavaro

CB: Giorgio Chiellini

Like Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini has been at Juventus a number of years. The Italian has been one of the best central defenders in world football in the last 15 years and has the medals to prove it, dominating Italian football with Juve. However when it comes to the Champions League the only medal he has is a runners-up one, having been beaten in the final against Barcelona in 2015.

RM: Robert Pires

One of Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ Robert Pires was our choice at right midfield. The Frenchman was a firm favourite whilst at the Gunners and made a sizeable contribution to their unbeaten Premier League campaign in 2003/04, whilst also being part of the squad to win the Premier League in 2001/02 and three FA Cups between 2002 and 2005 as well as lifting the World Cup with France. The one thing missing from his trophy cabinet was the UEFA Champions League. The closest he came was when he helped the Gunners to the final in the 2005/06 campaign, only to be beaten by Barcelona.

Robert Pires

CM: Michael Ballack

Often labelled the ‘most famous runner-up’ in football, Michael Ballack still had an illustrious career. The German picked up league titles in his home nation as well as in the Premier League with Chelsea, but will be remembered for the amount of times he and his teams finished second place. In 2001/02 he finished as runner-up in FOUR different competitions with Bayer Leverkusen and Germany (Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, World Cup and Champions League) which was frankly astonishing., but that was not to be his last haul of runners-up medals. When he was at Chelsea he once again finished second in the domestic league and cup, as well as the Champions League. In the final of the competition they faced Manchester United in a match which went all the way to penalties. To compound his misery, he once again then went on to make it four runners-up medals in one season by losing the Euro 2008 final to Spain.

CM: Pavel Nedved

Czech Republic star Pavel Nedved was often described as one of the best footballers of his generation, equally adept offensively and defensively and with either foot. He enjoyed major success whilst at both Lazio and Juventus, winning three Serie A titles, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, Super Cup and two Coppa Italia titles. However the Champions League was the one thing he did not manage to win, he was a finalist in the 2002/03 campaign but that was as close as he came.

Nedved

LM: Roberto Baggio

Roberto Baggio is one of the best players to have graced Serie A, representing Fiorentina, Juventus, AC Milan, Bologna, Inter Milan and Brescia during his career. He was an attacking player who loved to score goals and in the Champions League he bagged 32 times in 63 appearances. Despite this however he did not manage to win the competition, with his only European medal coming with Juventus’ UEFA Cup triumph in 1993.

ST: Ruud van Nistelrooy

It is fair to say that Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy was one of the most prolific strikers of his era. During his career he scored an extraordinary 347 goals in 589 appearances and his medal collection is sizeable having league titles in the top leagues in England, Spain and Holland. In Europe, van Nistelrooy was just as prolific and struck 62 goals in 88 appearances. However that was not enough to get him a winners medal and despite being at two of the worlds biggest clubs in Manchester United and Real Madrid, the Dutchman didn’t even reach the final in his illustrious career.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

This one is extremely surprising. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is someone who has played for many of Europes top clubs having represented Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint Germain and now Manchester United. However despite playing for all of those elite clubs, the Champions League trophy has somehow eluded the big Swede. To make matters worse for Ibra, when he left Inter Milan they went on to lift the title the next season and when he left Barcelona they too went on to win it the following year. At 35-years-old time is running out for Ibrahimovic to win the trophy and despite having won titles in Sweden, Holland, Spain, Italy and France he looks set to have one major gap in his medal collection.

ST: Ronaldo

Arguably the greatest player never to have won the Champions League, the original Ronaldo is one of the best footballers of all time. The Brazilian was a brilliant goalscorer, hitting 352 in his club career including 49 in Europe. He played for some of the biggest clubs on the continent including both Milan sides as well as Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain, winning silverware at most. In fact, looking at his trophy collection he has won just about everything, La Liga, Copa del Rey, Supercopa de España, World Cup, Copa América and even the UEFA Cup and Cup Winners Cup. However, the one thing that always eluded the great Brazilian was the Champions League. He didn’t even manage to reach the final and agonisingly joined both Real Madrid and AC Milan the season after the had both won the competition, but whilst he was at both clubs they failed to do so.

Ronaldo

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