It is the pinnacle of European football, with every player dreaming of getting their hands on the Champions League trophy. However, not all of the game’s greatest players manage to get their hands on Europe’s biggest prize. Here are five of the best to have missed out.
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Ruud van Nistelrooy is one of the most prolific goal scorers in European history, finding the net 56 times in Europe over the course of his playing days at Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Having being snapped up by United in 2001, he had of course just missed out on being a European champion after the Red Devils conquered Europe in 1999. He established himself as one of the most deadly strikers in Europe, and earned himself a move to European giants Real Madrid in 2006.
In another cruel twist of fate, during his time at the Bernabeu, it was United won the Champions League in 2008, while Real Madrid wouldn’t win it again until 2013, three years after the Dutchman’s departure.
Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Manchester United. All clubs who have won the European Cup on numerous occasions. They are also all clubs that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played for with great distinction at some point in his illustrious career.
It’s pretty incredible to think that the Swedish striker hasn’t managed to get his hands on the most famous trophy in European football, inspite of his 48 European goals.
Maybe one the best strikers to have ever graced the game. Ronaldo, the original, the Brazilian, the Phenomenon.
Like Zlatan, he has also played for plenty of clubs with European pedigree, including Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan.
However, despite his incredible talent and ability to find the back of the net, his goals were unable to fire any of his sides to European glory.
While the rest of the players on this list so far have played for clubs with plenty of European pedigree and a plethora of titles to their name, Totti has not.
Failing to get his hands on the biggest trophy in Europe is the ultimate price of his loyalty to the Italian club, where he spent all of his 25 year career.
While he doesn’t have a Champions League title to his name, it doesn’t take anything away from the career of one of the greats of European football.
Another player who has paid the price of loyalty, it is of course Juventus and Italy legend Gigi Buffon.
While Totti never even got close to being a European champion, the once most expensive goalkeeper in the world has come agonisingly close on a number of occasions, incredibly losing all three of the Champions League finals in his illustrious career.
The first defeat came at Old Trafford in what was one of the most boring finals in living memory against AC Milan in 2003. More recently, he has suffered defeat at the hand season of Barcelona in 2015 and Real Madrid in 2017.
Again, his lack of a European winners medal though takes nothing away from what has been a stellar career of this absolute legend of the game.