Best XI of players who have never won the Champions League

The Champions League trophy before the game

Undisputed footballing heroes these players may be, but there is one trophy missing from their bulging cabinets.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane celebrates with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions LeagueReal Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane celebrates with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League

With the Champions League back in full swing, we as fans need little reminder that it is arguably the world's finest cup competition, with so many legends of the game - past and present - gracing the pitch to that anthem.

However, there are always a few that slip through the net, no matter how much we as neutrals would like them to lift that prestigious trophy.

Here is an XI, in a very attacking 3-4-1-2 formation, of greats who have not been able to achieve Champions League glory.

Goalkeeper - Gianluigi Buffon

The 39-year-old Juventus stopper is undeniably one of the best goalkeepers to have ever played professional football, yet Buffon's never managed to get his safe hands on the top domestic prize. The Italy international has reached the final twice with Juventus, but lost on both occasions - the first to AC Milan on penalties after a 0-0 draw in 2003 and the second as recently as 2015 as Barcelona defeated Juve 3-1.

Centre Back - Fabio Cannavaro

Despite being 5ft 8 in a position that usually requires significant height, Cannavaro goes down as one of the best defenders of all time, and even won the Ballon d'Or in 2006 - an amazing accomplishment for a defender. However, he does not have a Champions League winners medal to his name, as the furthest stage Cannavaro got to was the semi-finals with Inter Milan.

Centre Back - Lilian Thuram

One of the best defenders France has ever seen, Thuram had everything - pace, power, height, strength - and could time a tackle to perfection. Tailor made for Italian football, it is little wonder he spent 10 years of his career there. Much like Buffon, Thuram was part of that 2003 Juventus side, however, that is as close as he got.

Sol Campbell on his return to White Hart Lane following his move from Tottenham to Arsenal

Centre Back - Sol Campbell

A colossus at the back for both Arsenal and England, Campbell's a player that was maybe not appreciated as much as he should have been at the time, but with the beauty of hindsight, absolutely is now. Campbell scored in Arsenal's ill-fated 2006 final against Barcelona, but ultimately to no avail as Barca ran out 2-1 winners.

Right Midfield - Roberto Baggio

Somewhat shoehorned out at right midfield, but capable of playing there all the same, Baggio is one of Italy's most talented ever footballers and is still adored in his homeland today. The Champions League didn't take too kindly to Baggio however, and only got as far as the quarter finals.

Centre Midfield - Lothar Matthaus

Someone who really should not be on the list, as for 90 minutes Matthaus was on the winning side in the 1999 final with Bayern Munich. Unfortunately for Matthaus, stoppage time happened, and one of Germany's most complete footballers could only look on in horror from the subs bench as Manchester United hit back with two goals to win 2-1.

Michael Ballack

Central Midfield - Michael Ballack

From one of Germany's most complete midfielders to another in Michael Ballack, though much like Matthaus, he also was treated cruelly by the Champions League. The 2002 final saw Ballack's Bayer Leverkusen lose 2-1 to Real Madrid, with Zinedine Zidane scoring that volley, while he also lost the 2008 final with Chelsea on penalties to Manchester United.

Left Midfield - Pavel Nedved

A Ballon d'Or winner in 2003 and arguably the greatest Czech sportsman of all time, Nedved was another member of Juventus' 2003 Champions League side that lost on penalties. However, Nedved was unavailable for the final as he would picked up a yellow card in the semi that meant he had to miss out. Had he been available, there is a strong chance this team would be looking very different.

Centre Forward - Francesco Totti

An iconic and much loved hero of the game, Totti's immense loyalty to Roma has probably cost him Champions League glory, though he is the competition's oldest goalscorer. Much like Baggio, Totti only got as far as the quarter finals with his beloved Roma.

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action

Striker - Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Despite a glittering career which has yielded league titles in four different countries, Ibrahimovic has never won the Champions League, only getting as far as the quarter-finals. Interestingly, both Inter Milan and Barcelona won the trophy the year after Ibrahimovic departed them. 

Striker - Ronaldo

One of the best number nines of all time, but the Brazilian Ronaldo was unable to get his hands on that trophy. He was at AC Milan when they won their seventh title in 2007, but had already played in that season's competition, so was cup tied. The closest Ronaldo got was in 2003, where his Real Madrid side crashed out in the semis to Juventus.

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