The Best XI Of Players To Never Win The Champions League

The Best XI Of Players To Never Win The Champions League
Jun 5, 2017

Champions League Featured

On Saturday evening, legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon suffered his third loss in a Champions League final as Juventus suffered a horrendous 4-1 defeat to Spanish giants Real Madrid. The 39-year-old goalkeeper has suffered this exact heartbreak on two occasions before, as Juventus lost to AC Milan in 2003, and Barcelona in 2015.

Prior to the final, many reports began to claim that the iconic shot-stopper would retire from the game following the event, with Juventus becoming interested in Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to be his successor. Now that he has lost another final, there comes about the risk that Buffon might never lift Europe’s greatest football trophy.

Should this be the case, the keeper will join a large list of legendary players who were unsuccessful in obtaining the Champion League title onto their CV, let’s take a look…


Albeit comfortable with a three-man defence in front of him at Juventus, a four-man defence was selected to bring about the XI of players to never win the Champions League. Lilian Thuram and Gianluca Zambrotta occupy the fullback roles in this example. Just like Buffon, both players enjoyed a lot of success in club competitions but were unsuccessful in winning Europe’s biggest competition. Interestingly, Frenchman Thuram was a part of the Parma side that won the UEFA Cup in the 1998/98 season, alongside the Italian goalkeeper.

In regards to the centre back positions, Germany’s Lothar Matthäus, and Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro were selected. Cannavaro also enjoyed some European success, considering he was also at Parma when they won the UEFA Cup in 1999. Unlike some of the other players on this list, Matthäus had multiple opportunities to win the Champions League but was unsuccessful in doing so. Whilst at Bayern Munich, the German defender experienced anguish as his team lost to Portuguese side Porto in 1987 and Manchester United in 1999 in dramatic fashion.


To complete the midfield, France’s Patrick Vieira and Germany’s Michael Ballack were selected. Despite playing for some of the biggest teams in the world in Arsenal, Juventus, and, Bayern Munich, the duo were unsuccessful in winning Europe’s top prize. However, the latter did come close during his tenures at Bayer Leverkusen, and Chelsea, but experienced the pain of losing the final as his side lost to Real Madrid in 2002, and Manchester United in 2008 respectively. The French midfielder was also close to winning the competition but departed Inter Milan for Manchester City just a year before the former won the Champions League.


Out of all of the players selected in this team, it’s incredible to think that world-class, history-making, players including the likes of; Dennis Bergkamp, Francesco Totti, Ronaldo, and, Zlatan Ibrahimovic have all failed to win the Champions League trophy. The Non-Flying Dutchman experienced pain in the final of his last ever professional game as Arsenal succumbed to defeat to Barcelona towards the end of the game. Taking into consideration his withstanding loyalty, Totti was also unsuccessful in winning the top competition and also missed out on winning a lot more at club level due to his alliance with AS Roma.

Although hailed as one of the greatest ever in the game, even Ronaldo was a victim of failing to achieve the biggest competition in European football. Upon moving to AC Milan in 2007, the Brazillian came close to winning the competition, but was subsequently cup-tied (formerly played for Real Madrid), and was unable to play a part in Milan’s 2007 triumph. Ibrahimovic has also been rather unlucky when it comes to the competition, having followed the exact same path as Vieira did when he left Inter Milan just a year before they won the Champions League.

Final XI (4-2-3-1)


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