The most prestigious title in the realm of club football has to be the UEFA Champions League (or the European Cup, as it was known before 1992). To be the champions of Europe — football’s powerhouse — means to be at the pinnacle of club football.
This elite competition welcomes its 32 participants from across Europe’s top leagues and via qualifiers for teams from around the continent. Spanish juggernauts Real Madrid are the most crowned champions. With 13 UEFA Champions League trophies, the La Liga giants have left their competitors far behind.
Serie A side AC Milan stand second with 7 UEFA Champions League trophies under their belt, followed by Bayern Munich (6) and Liverpool (6). While numerous clubs have won the coveted title multiple times, several top clubs have never laid their hands on the trophy.
Surprisingly, the list includes many heavyweights who should’ve had won the UEFA Champions League already.
Without further ado, here’s a look at the
Top 5 clubs that have never won the UEFA Champions League
It would be almost impossible for the current generation to believe Arsenal were once among the most feared teams in the world.
Arsene Wenger’s Gunners, which included the likes of Robin Van Persie, Sol Campbell, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Cesc Fabregas among others, came closest to the title back in 2006. However, they lost against Frank Rijkaard’s Barcelona.
Despite failing to win the UEFA Champions League trophy, the north Londoners were regulars in the knock-out stages of the tournament, in contrast to the present scenario.
Despite having been a consistently qualifying team in the tournament until 2017, Arsenal have failed to register a UEFA Champions League triumph till date.
There is something about Spanish teams and the UEFA Champions League. La Liga sides have dominated the UEFA Champions League more than any other team from Europe’s top 5 leagues.
The Champions League trophy has been taken to Spain a total of 18 times as opposed to England’s 14, Italy’s 12, Germany’s 8 and France’s 1. However, despite being a formidable side during the late 90s and early 2000s, Valencia is a team that never could grab the title.
Under the leadership of Gaizka Mendieta, The Bats managed to make consecutive finals (1999-00 & 2000-01) appearances. Unfortunately, the Spanish side had to taste defeat on both occasions.
With Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid shuffling for the top three spots, Valencia face heavy competition for a UEFA Champions League qualification spot in La Liga.
3 Atletico Madrid
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid have had their share of major heartbreaks recently in the UEFA Champions League.
Emerging as one of the superpowers in recent times after being underdogs in Spain’s top division, Atletico Madrid have managed to outperform league giants Real Madrid and Barcelona twice in the last decade (2013-14 & 2020-21) to win La Liga.
Under Diego Simeone, the Rojiblancos managed to achieve four European trophies in the form of UEFA Europa League (2) and UEFA Super Cups (2) but failed to kiss the Champions League trophy despite reaching the finals in 2014 and 2016.
Losing to arch-rivals Real Madrid on both occasions made the defeat even more bitter for the club and its fans. The Spanish side also made the final in the 1973-74 edition of the tournament, but lost out on the trophy to Bayern Munich.
Regardless, Atletico Madrid are considered one of the favorites to win the trophy in the near future.
2 Paris Saint-Germain
PSG’s emergence into the limelight was preceded by the club’s massive signings and recent Ligue 1 domination. PSG have been the winners of the transfer market in recent times. They grabbed Neymar and Mbappe for hefty transfer fees while also roping in Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma for free.
The Parisians are housing a bunch of the most talented players in the world of football at the moment. Now, even though that has helped them dominate the domestic league, the same hasn’t been emulated in the UEFA Champions League so far.
Despite having started to dominate Ligue 1 since the 2013-14 season, the nine-time French champions have made just one UEFA Champions League final appearance.
In the ongoing summer transfer window, PSG have found two of the most experienced and serial champions of the tournament in Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos. Let’s wait and see if that can take the UEFA Champions League trophy to Paris.
1 Manchester City
No other team has dominated the Premier League in the past decade like Manchester City have. The Sky Blues have brought home a total of 5 Premier League titles within a span of 10 years.
Milking the opportunity of city-rivals Manchester United’s downfall, Manchester City is now the Premier League’s ultimate powerhouse. The arrival of Pep Guardiola simply boosted their dominance but that was only limited to England.
Barring the 2021 UEFA Champions League final (where they lost against Chelsea), the Cityzens have never crossed the semi-final hurdle. Despite their league domination, Pep’s men usually exited the UEFA Champions League in either the Round of 16 or the quarterfinals.
Considering the team’s current form and squad depth, Manchester City are tipped to be the leading contenders to win this season’s UEFA Champions League. Only time will tell if they uphold that.