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European heartache XI: Players who have never won the Champions League

| 14.05.2015

Juventus are fighting to secure their first Champions League trophy triumph since 1996 this season and recently took a massive step towards that feat, having toppled reigning champions Real Madrid over their two enthralling semi-final legs.

Among the Old Lady’s impressive squad, legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is one player who will be desperate to secure European glory, with the Champions League being one tournament which has so far eluded him in his prestigious career.

Ahead of Buffon’s attempts this campaign, Coral outline a team of past and present stars who have shockingly never tasted victory in Europe’s elite club competition.

Formation 5-3-2

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon
Juventus and Italy’s stalwart stopper lifted the World Cup in 2006 and has won an amazing six Serie A titles, but the Azzurri number one has incredibly only ever reached a single Champions League final, which he lost.

The veteran shot-stopper is vying to end his wait for a triumph in Europe this term with the Serie A champions an 11/5 chance to taste victory in Berlin.

Watch Buffon save a penalty from Luis Figo in a 3-1 Champions League victory in 2003.

Right back: Lilian Thuram
This dominant full back secured league title triumphs in Italy with Juventus and Parma, while also earning domestic cup victories with Monaco in France and Barcelona in Spain.

Although, the most capped international player ever in France’s history failed to ever lift Europe’s most illustrious club competition, despite winning Euro 2000 and the 1998 World Cup with his country.

Watch Thuram run the full length of the pitch to slot home for Juventus against AC Milan.

Centre back: Fabio Cannavaro
Another former Turin titan, nicknamed ‘the Berlin Wall’ by the Old Lady faithful, to have missed out on Champions League success.

The 2006 Ballon d’Or winner guided his native Italy to World Cup victory in the same year as his individual honour and only managed to lift Europe’s secondary competition during his career, winning the Europa League with Parma in 1999.

Watch Cannavaro score a brave header against Sevilla for Real Madrid in La Liga.

Sweeper: Lothar Matthaus
This defensively astute German midfield anchor served two successful spells at Bayern Munich where he won a sublime seven Bundesliga crowns.

However, despite reaching two Champions League final outings, the record World Cup appearance holder and 1990 winning captain was beaten on both occasions. Most agonising was the 1999 final when Matthaus was minutes away from glory, before Manchester United produced one of the greatest European comebacks in history.

Watch Matthaus strike for Germany against Yugoslavia with a thumping long-range effort.

Centre back: Tony Adams
Making over 500 appearances for Arsenal during an emphatic 19-year Gunners career, Adams captained a title-winning team in three different decades, but is another great defender without a Champions League medal.

Watch Adams finish off a sweeping Arsenal move with a thunderous close-range volley.

Left back: Gianluca Zambrotta
Despite featuring for European giants Juventus, Barcelona and AC Milan in his career, Zambrotta was cruelly denied a European medal in 2003, when the Rossoneri edged past the Old Lady, his club at the time.

Watch the Italian strike for AC Milan with an audacious 30-yeard effort against Lazio.

Defensive midfield: Patrick Viera
Regarded as one of the greatest ever Premier League players ever, ferocious Frenchman Vieira is another absentee from the list of Champions League winners.

The Senegal-born Gunners legend came close, though, leaving the San Siro in January 2010, agonisingly only months before Jose Mourinho led Inter Milan to Champions League glory.

Watch Vieira get involved in a heated encounter with Roy Keane against Manchester United.

Centre midfield: Michael Ballack
Former Bayern, Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen midfield maestro Ballack enjoyed plenty of silverware success in his career but unfortunately was only a Champions League runner-up in both 2002 and 2008.

Watch Ballack score with an incredible long-range effort for Munich against AC Milan.

Centre midfield: Pavel Nedved
Having donned the famous black and white strip of the Old Lady for eight seasons, the Czech Republican was unlucky not to have lifted Europe’s greatest club prize, having been a losing finalist in 2003.

Watch Nedved clinically dispatch past Iker Casillas in a European encounter with Madrid.

Striker: Ronaldo
Probably the most shocking selection on our list, ‘the Phenomenon’ was one of football’s most deadliest ever strikers, lifting the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 and 2002, but failing to win the Champions League with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter and AC Milan, having never even made it to a final.

Watch Ronaldo strike a famous treble against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Along with Buffon, Ibrahimovic is the only other player on our list still competing at the top level. The Sweden international sharpshooter is one of the sport’s most charismatic players, but is yet to claim Europe’s biggest award.

Most of Zlatan’s club honours have come from domestic league titles, including victories in Ligue 1, Eredivisie, Serie A and La Liga, but his closest attempts to winning the Champions League with PSG were thwarted by Barcelona this season, with their conquerors the odds-on 4/11 favourites to reign in Berlin.

Watch the Swedish striker hit a sensational Champions League hat-trick against Anderlecht.

Pepe Reina
Current back-up Bayern stopper Reina is yet to win the Champions League and looks set to miss out again with the Bundesliga champions this season.

Daniele De Rossi
Italian World Cup winning midfielder De Rossi has tasted glory with his country but has been limited to success in Rome.

Robert Pires
The former Gunners great dazzled in England’s top-flight but was unable to convert it on to the European stage.

Francesco Totti
Roma’s stalwart skipper has spent over 20 years at the club but has only won a single Serie A title with no European glory to show for his efforts.

Miroslav Klose
World Cup record scorer Klose was a runner-up in the Champions League in 2010.

Rudd van Nistelrooy
The fourth-highest ever Champions League goalscorer was unable to fire the Red Devils or Galacticos to glory in the competition.

Premier League Tips
Hertha to beat Hoffenheim
Schalke to beat Dortmund
Dusseldorf to win at Paderborn


Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.