Clyde Outside sports editor Darren McConachie gives his greatest XI to never win the Champions League:
GK- Gianluigi Buffon
Perhaps the man in this team the most unlucky never to have won the Champions League having starred in three finals, his last a humbling defeat to Real Madrid in Cardiff in June. Although never winning the Champions League may hurt, Buffon can console himself with the various trophies in his cabinet including a record breaking six Scudettos in a row and the World Cup won in Berlin in 2006. A stunning career for a goalkeeper who made over 150 appearances in UEFA competition.
CB- Fabio Cannavaro
A strong, battle hardened centre back who left his native Italy to sign for Real Madrid with the promise of Champions League glory which ultimately never arrived for the Galacticos during the time of Cannavaro. Real Madrid never really came close to climbing the peak of club football whilst Cannavaro was playing for Los Blancos. He did however pick up the Ballon D’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year as well as being voted in the best ever Real Madrid foreign XI. High praise for Fabio Cannavaro even though he never climbed the summit of European football.
CB- Mats Hummels
The German much like Buffon has won bigger prizes in the form of the World Cup but again has felt the anguish of losing out in the UEFA Champions League Final. His chance at immortality arrived at Wembley stadium and standing in his way was his former club, Bayern Munich. The Bavarian side struck late through Arjen Robben to break the hearts of all Dortumund supporters and players. Now Hummels still seeks his chance at redemption although he does so now while playing for Munich.
CB- Giorgio Chiellini
One of the most dominant defenders of the 21st century. The type of CB that most would love to see don the kit of their team and yet another who has been destined for heartbreak when it comes to the Champions League. In 2015 and 2017, Chiellini has lined up in front of Gianluigi Buffon and on both occasions they have wondered up the steps to collect silver medals. Perhaps one last shot at glory awaits this year in the Ukraine, time will tell.
LM- Pavel Nedved
This Czech star arrived in Italy to play for the Bianconeri. The third on this list to have spent most of his footballing life in Turin but starring in a much different Juve side. The side of Nedved thought they could win it all and they did provide some entertainment as they reached the final at Old Trafford in 2003, Nedved however missed the game due to an accumulation of yellow cards. His side ultimately fell short at the very final hurdle, losing on penalties to rivals A.C Milan.
CM- Michael Ballack
The German must be one of the most unlucky players in world football. Multiple semi-finals in just about every competition he has played in from the UEFA European Championships to the World Cup and yes, that includes a few Champions League heartbreaks along the way including a 2002 final defeat to Real Madrid and most notably the now infamous incident at Stamford Bridge in 2009 when referee Tom Henning Overbo managed to turn down four penalty appeals for the London club who were then knocked out when Andres Iniesta managed to find the top corner in stoppage time. This sent Barcelona to Rome and left Chelsea fuming.
CM- Patrick Viera
An invincible in the Premier League with Arsenal, going undefeated for an entire season. You must wonder however if Viera would trade that for one more night in Paris, the scene of Arsenal’s 2006 capitulation against Barcelona. Jens Lehmann sent off in the first half, suddenly Barcelona are heavy favourites and win the Champions League leaving Arsene Wenger heartbroken and his captain wondering if they will ever get another shot at glory.
RM- Francisco Totti
People can argue that Totti should not be on this list and they may have a point but for his sheer loyalty to A.S Roma he is the player picked as the right midfielder. He had multiple offers to leave Italy and would have most likely won the Champions League if he had done. He didn’t and so he ended his career in May with a World Cup and with a whole city loving the man known affectionately as El Capitan.
ST- Ruud Van Nistelrooy
The greatest goalscorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League. His goals to game ratio is the best in the competition’s history. Sadly though he never managed to win the tournament despite his goalscoring exploits. He came close on several occasions with Manchester United but never succeeded however being the best striker statistically to have graced the competition will allow the Dutchman to look back happily on his time in the UEFA Champions League.
ST- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The walking, talking Swedish quote machine has played for several of the finest teams in Europe including either sides of Milan, Paris St-Germain where he came close but the self-proclaimed King may still have time to secure the crown that eludes him when he returns to Manchester United in December who are in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Arguably the greatest striker who has ever laced up his boots, the Brazilian who won the World Cup and strode through defences like they didn’t exist no matter who they were. Ronaldo arrived in football during the USA 94 World Cup as a seventeen year old and by the time he lifted his second World Cup in 2002 he was the prominent striker in the game. He never though managed to help Real Madrid succeed in lifting the trophy affectionately known as Big Ears. Overall in his career he was a striker feared worldwide and he made a mark on every fan of the game who watched him. Ronaldo knew how to play football and showed he was in love with the game and for that he is respected more than for any trophies.