Lists

The 12 best players NEVER to win the Champions League

Ronaldo Inter

The 'show us your medals' brigade would have a hard time criticising these superstars, although none have claimed Europe's biggest prize

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1. Phillip Cocu

The current PSV manager made 79 appearances in the competition, initially with the Dutch side and then during his six-year spell with Barcelona.

Cocu left the Camp Nou just before Barça's recent European dominance, though, with the Catalans winning the first of their four trophies in the 21st century two years after his 2004 departure.

2. Patrick Vieira

Vieira is another midfielder who played plenty of times in the Champions League - 76 in total - for three different clubs in Arsenal, Juventus and Inter.

The former France international was a nearly man, though, leaving the Gunners 12 months before they reached the 2006 final and then departing the January before Inter won it in 2010. He wasn't eligible for a medal.

3. Fabio Cannavaro

One of Italy's all-time greats, Cannavaro and his haul of 138 international caps is second only to another name on this list, and he also won the Ballon d'Or in 2006.

Yet despite playing for Parma during the peak of their European powers in the late 1990s, as well as Inter, Juventus and Real Madrid subsequently, a Champions League medal is missing from the World Cup winner's collection.

4. Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas has made over 100 appearances in the competition, but the Spaniard was a runner-up with Arsenal in 2006, before earning his dream move back to boyhood club Barcelona five years later – just after they had won their fourth Champions League in its current format.

He left for Stamford Bridge in 2014, the summer before the Catalans' fifth and most recent success. Cesc would not have been amused. 

5. Ruud van Nistelrooy

With 56 Champions League goals to his name, Van Nistelrooy is the highest-scoring player never to have won the tournament.

The striker joined Manchester United two years after their historic 1999 treble and left two years before their next European win. He also failed to achieve any continental glory during his four years with Real Madrid.

To make matters worse, the Dutchman has been the top scorer in the tournament on three different occasions, while his return of 56 strikes in 73 appearances gives him a better goals-per-game rate than Cristiano Ronaldo. Where's the justice? 

6. Hernan Crespo

Part of the same Parma team as Cannavaro, the Argentine played for some of Europe's best clubs and even scored two goals in a Champions League final.

Unfortunately for Crespo that brace came in 2005, when Liverpool famously came back from 3-0 down to beat Milan on penalties. The luckless striker later left Inter a year before they claimed the trophy under Jose Mourinho.