Recent declarations from Zlatan Ibrahimović and Cesc Fàbregas that the UEFA Champions League is the title they crave more than any other got UEFA.com thinking – who is the best player never to have won the trophy?
While it is common knowledge that no team has retained the UEFA Champions League since its 1992/93 inception, there remain myriad top players that have never got their hands on the famous silverware. Fàbregas was close when he reached the 2006 final, but Ibrahimović – who has won eight European top-flight titles – has never even come that far. Gianluigi Buffon, Francesco Totti and Luis Suárez are other current players yet to taste success in Europe's premier club tournament.
In the competition's 22-season history, only one man has made more UEFA Champions League appearances – qualifying included – than Ibrahimović without going all the way: former Rosenborg BK midfielder Roar Strand. Plenty of other illustrious names have not lifted the prize either. Two-time European Footballer of the Year Ronaldo, for example, never advanced further than the 2002/03 semi-finals, when Real Madrid CF were knocked out by Juventus. Also involved in that tie were Pavel Nedvěd and David Trezeguet, two other notables to have missed out.
The list goes on. Three-time tournament top scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy, double runner-up Michael Ballack, Fabio Cannavaro, Gabriel Batistuta and Dennis Bergkamp – they all signed off with a particularly noticeable gap on their CV.
Who have we missed? We want to know who you think is the best player never to have won the UEFA Champions League. Leave your comments at the foot of the page.
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