Champions League: Gianluigi Buffon, Ronaldo and Pavel Nedved among legendary XI to have never won title

Juventus' legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was left heartbroken on Saturday after losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Cardiff, having endured disappointment for the third time in the final.

The 39-year-old had been left dismayed in 2003 against AC Milan and 12 years later against Barcelona, and now faces the prospect of never lifting the coveted trophy even though there is a small glimmer of hope that Buffon could win it in his last season, should Juve reach the final next season.

Buffon is not the only legendary player to never win a Champions League winner's medal. Here's a look at other players who make our star-studded XI to have missed out on club football's greatest prize.

Gianluigi Buffon missed out on winning the Champions League for the third time. AFP

Gianluigi Buffon missed out on winning the Champions League for the third time. AFP

Lilian Thuram

As a defender, Lilian Thuram played for two of the two biggest clubs in world football, Juventus and Barcelona. Alas, both failed to lift the trophy with him in their ranks. Incidentally, Thuram was part of the Juventus side — along with Buffon and Pavel Nedved — which lost on penalties to AC Milan in 2003.

At least, Thuram can take solace in the fact that he achieved glory with France, winning a World Cup title, and is France's most capped player.

Lothar Matthaus

After coming close to lifting the trophy in 1999, Matthaus was a part of the Bayern Munich side that endured a heartbreaking defeat to Manchester United in stoppage time.

Two goals in the last two minutes by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham helped them snatch the Champions League trophy from under the noses of Bayern.

Matthaus, who still holds the record of being Germany’s most capped player with 150 appearances, retired the following year and Bayern won the competition in 2000.

Fabio Cannavaro

Fabio Cannavaro failed to guide Inter Milan and Real Madrid to Champions League glory. AFP

Fabio Cannavaro failed to guide Inter Milan and Real Madrid to Champions League glory. AFP

Cannavaro was by far regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time as he led Italy to World Cup glory in 2006 and Inter Milan to the Serie A title.

Later in the year, he became the first defender to win the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d'Or in nearly a decade.

But his glittering career never saw him win the Champions League, with him coming close with Inter and Real Madrid.


Phillip Cocu

It is difficult not to taste Champions League success having played for Barcelona, especially for six years. Phillip Cocu then must consider himself terribly unlucky.

Cocu, who currently manages PSV Eindhoven, made 79 appearances in the competition but only ever reached the semi-finals of the competition — once with Barca and once playing at hometown club PSV.

Pavel Nedved

Pavel Nedved, Ballon d'Or winner in 2003, came close to winning a maiden Champions League title at the height of his powers at Juventus in the early 2000s.

Unfortunately, he was ruled out of the 2003 Champions League final against AC Milan after receiving a yellow card for a foul on Real Madrid winger Steve McManaman.


Juventus lost the final on penalties at Old Trafford.

Michael Ballack

One of the finest box-to-box midfielders of his time, Ballack has won almost everything barring the Champions League winner's medal.

With 42 goals in 98 appearances for Germany, Ballack moved to Chelsea in 2006 from Bayer Leverkusen. He came within touching distance of European glory but saw his Chelsea side being beaten on penalties by Manchester United in Moscow.

Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas is no doubt a part of Spain's golden generation of footballers with a World Cup to his name in 2010. The attacking midfielder moved back from Arsenal to his boyhood club Barcelona in 2011 and was hoping to lift the Champions League trophy with the Catalan club.

But during his three years there, Barcelona suffered defeats in the knockout stages before he decided to return to London, this time with Chelsea. In fact, Fabregas was also in the Arsenal squad when the Gunners lost to Barcelona in the final in 2006.

Ronaldo

Brazilian legend Ronaldo came close to winning the Champions League in 2002. AFP

Brazilian legend Ronaldo came close to winning the Champions League in 2002. AFP

It is hard to digest that Ronaldo, a two-time Ballon d'Or winner, has never won the biggest prize in club football.

Having played for some of Europe’s elite clubs — including Inter Milan, Barcelona, Madrid and AC Milan — it is bewildering how the great Ronaldo missed out on the Champions League trophy.

Hernan Crespo

Crespo almost clinched the Champions League trophy with a beautiful finish past Jerzy Dedek in the 2005 final before Liverpool broke his heart with a majestic turnaround.

In what is still one of the greatest comebacks in footballing history, Rafa Benitez's side overturned a 3-0 half-time deficit to force the game into extra time – and eventually claim the title on penalties.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is yet to taste Champions League success despite winning so many domestic honours. AFP

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is yet to taste Champions League success despite winning so many domestic honours. AFP

Despite making the most number of Champions League appearances, the 35-year-old has never lifted the coveted trophy.

The Swede was a bit unlucky as both Inter and Barcelona won the Champions League a year after he left. The opportunity would present itself next season when Manchester United, having won the Europa League this season, play in


Published Date: Jun 05, 2017 07:29 pm | Updated Date: Jun 05, 2017 07:29 pm



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