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Greatest XI of players who never won the Champions League

Gianluigi Buffon

One of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation, Buffon is still searching for his first Champions League win. The 2006 World Cup and a seven-time Serie A winner, has finished twice as runners-up – in 2003 and 2015 – but he hasn’t gone any further.

Lilian Thuram

The Frenchman was an integral part of the 1998 World Cup winning France national team and had spells with Juventus and Barcelona but he couldn’t manage to get his hands on the ‘big ears’.

Fabio Cannavaro

The 2006 World Cup winning captain is one of only three defenders to have won the Ballon d’Or but despite his stints with the Old Lady as well as European royalty Real Madrid, Cannavaro couldn’t win the Champions League.

Thiago Silva

The Paris Saint-Germain captain is the finest defender of his generation but he is still looking for a solitary Champions League triumph. He has been in Paris for the past four seasons and the club have spent a significant amount of money to win club football’s Holy Grail and it remains to be seen if the Brazilian can manage one before he hangs his boots.

Gianluca Zambrotta

The former Juventus, Barcelona and AC Milan full-back won numerous trophies at both international as well as club level, but he couldn’t add the Champions League to his cabinet.

Greatest XI to never win the Champions League

Lothar Matthaus

The legendary German defensive midfielder was once labelled by Diego Maradona as the toughest opponent he faced. Matthaus won the 1990 World Cup as the captain of the Germany national team and was also the 1990 Ballon d’Or winner, but he couldn’t manage any glory in the Champions League.

Patrick Vieira

The former Juventus and Arsenal midfielder was one of the finest players of his generation and was part of the legendary invincibles side of the Gunners, but he couldn’t deliver the north Londoners a first European Cup.

Pavel Nedved

The legendary midfielder, one of the most elegant players to have graced the football pitch, had eight successful years at the Old Lady and went on to win the 2003 Ballon d’Or but he couldn’t manage to grab hold of the ‘big ears’.

Diego Maradona

The Argentine is often regarded as the greatest player of all time and guided La Albicelste to their second World Cup triumph in 1986. He also helped Napoli win their only two Serie A titles as well as an only UEFA Cup but he couldn’t get them the highest honour in European football.

Dennis Bergkamp

The Arsenal legend was renowned for his smooth touches and ability to find spaces which no other player could even envisage. Through the course of his career that began at Ajax and took him to Arsenal via Inter Milan, Bergkamp won many trophies, but Champions League wasn’t one of them.


No discussion of the greatest striker of all time can be complete without a mention of Ronaldo. The 2002 World Cup winner was one of a kind and played for some of the greatest European clubs during his prime, but he couldn’t add the Champions League to his overflowing trophy cabinet.

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