The Champions League – 10 Major Clubs That Have Never Won It

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The success of a football club is measured in the number of national titles that it has won, but for a club to be truly considered among the elite, it has to win the Continental crown; The UEFA Champions League.

THE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

The UEFA Champions League is a tournament that showcases the very best teams European football have to offer every season and sets up mouthwatering clashes between continental superpowers and thrilling victories in the final by whichever team gets the right to lift the trophy when all’s said and done. 

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On this list, we rank the top 7 teams to never win the Champions League.

 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Champions League
Neymar Jr Press Conference – Paris, France – August 4, 2017 (Credit: Reuters)

The cash-rich Parisians have never won the UEFA Champions League or the Europa League, but they did win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1995-96 season.

Les Parisiens best finish in the competition is the Quarter Finals. Everybody remembers La Remontada (The Comeback) in which FC Barcelona reversed a four-goal deficit in the second leg of their round of 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain to win 6–5 on aggregate, making it the largest comeback in UEFA Champions League history.

ARSENAL
Champions League
Arsenal loses the 2006 finals. (Credit: Sportskeeda)

In addition to their woes over the past few years in their attempts to win their first Premier League title since 2004, Arsenal has also yet to win the top title in European club football. 

Barcelona beat Thierry Henry’s Gunners 2-1 at the Stade de France in the final of the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League and Arsenal haven’t been close since.

AS ROMA
Champions League
AS Roma fans display banners for Totti after his last game, against Genoa at the Stadio Olimpico (Credit: Reuters)

No surprise in seeing AS Roma in this list; the Giallorossi have been chokers in not only European competitions but also in the Serie A as well.

Roma’s only European title would come in the 1960-61 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup as Birmingham City were beaten 2-0 at the Olimpico to complete a 4-2 aggregate victory.

The Champions League final in 1983-84 provided much heartache for the Eternal City side as they saw Liverpool beat them in a penalty shootout in a match that was played in their own Stadium – the Stadio Olimpico.

LYON 
Champions League
Lyon players celebrate a goal. (Credit: The Richest.com)

The powerhouses of French football in the 21st century before oil money came to elevate Paris St Germain, Olympique Lyon won a French record seven league titles in a row from 2002.

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Their best finish at the tournament thus far has come in 2009-10, where they made the semifinals. With Lisandro Lopez, Miralem Pjanic and Hugo Lloris in tow at the time, Lyon it past Liverpool, Real Madrid and fellow French club Bordeaux to make the last four, only to lose 4-0 on aggregate to Bayern Munich. 

Lyon’s only title in Europe is the 1997 Intertoto Cup.

ATLETICO MADRID
Champions League
Saul Niguez celebrates scoring their first goal with Jose Gimenez. (Credit: REUTERS)

Beaten twice in the Finals by city rivals Real Madrid in the 2013/2014 and 2015/2016 seasons must hurt. They also lost the 1974 European Cup Final to Bayern Munich.

They have won the UEFA Europa League three times though, the Champions League is that elusive trophy.

MONACO
Champions League
Monaco

Another heavyweights of French football, Monaco have Ligue 1 and Coupe de France honours – however, their trophy cabinet is still empty as far as European honours are concerned.

Their best performance in Europe was in the 2003-04 UEFA Champions League where an incredible run saw them eliminate both Real Madrid and Chelsea en route to the final where they were outclassed by Jose Mourinho’s Porto. A decade earlier, Monaco had reached their first-ever European final – a Cup Winners Cup title match against Werder Bremen that ended in a 2-0 reverse.

Fernando Morientes on loan from Real Madrid was the top scorer at the 2003-04 UEFA Champions League where Monaco lost in the final.

VALENCIA
Champions League
Valencia CF. (Credit: Valencia CF)

Call them unlucky if you will, but Valencia’s performances as a team both in Europe and domestically have been overshadowed by the dominance of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Los Che’s two best Champions League finishes came in two straight seasons, and in the best place, you can finish without actually winning: the final. Valencia lost to Real 3-0 in 1999-00 and to Bayern Munich on penalties in 2000-01 to just miss out on winning the most coveted trophy in European club football.

MANCHESTER CITY
Champions League
Man City English Champions. (Credit: Reuters)

Manchester City’s European pedigree is restricted to winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup of 1970. City beat Polish side Gornik Zabrze in the final in Vienna with.

Their best place finish in the competition is the Semi-Finals. Can the megarich club led by Pep Guardiola be able to lift this trophy?

SPORTING LISBON
Champions League
Sporting’s… HUGO CORREIA (Credit: Reuters)

One of the ‘Tres Grandes’ or the Big Three in Portuguese football, Sporting Lisbon has consistently failed to match the European exploits of the other giants of the league, Benfica and Porto.

While the latter duo have numerous European titles in their cabinet, Sporting’s only European honour is a Cup Winners Cup victory in 1963-64 which they achieved via a 1-0 victory over MTK Budapest in the final.

Since then Sporting have regularly fallen short in European competitions but reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 2005 where they lost 3-1 to CSKA Moscow despite playing at their home ground. Sporting do have multiple semi-final appearances in the UEFA Cup/Europa League, but could never win it all.  

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Champions League
Harry Kane walks past the trophy after losing the Champions League Final. REUTERS

Tottenham Hotspur’s first Champions League appearance was in the 2010-11 season. That year, they managed to qualify for the quarterfinals after topping group A and beating Inter and AC Milan – the latter victory thanks to an 80th-minute goal from Peter Crouch – in the process.

Spurs have won two league titles, eight FA Cups, four League Cups, seven FA Community Shields, one European Cup Winners’ Cup and two UEFA Cups. 

Tottenham were also the runners-up of the 2018–19 UEFA Champions League competition.

NOTABLE OMMISSIONS

Bayer Leverkusen, Lazio, Napoli and Schalke.

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