Every player to ever kick a ball in any corner of the world dreams of one day reaching the pinnacle of European football, the biggest club competition in the entire world, winning the Champions League.
However, not all who make it to the base of the mountain manage to survive the climb to the top, some try and fail despite trying over and over again. Sadly, this applies to the legends of the game as well and that is exactly what we will be looking at in this post, where we talk about the 10 most prolific duos to miss out on the ascension to the European mountain altogether.
1) Maradona and Careca
In 1988, Napoli signed Careca, to add to their attacking options along with the presence of the best footballer in the world at the time, Diego Maradona. The pair fought for the trophy against Real Madrid in the first round, only to have a disappointing exit in the very first round, when the group stages were not in place.
2) Romario and Stoichkov
Johan Cruyff is one of the most respected figures in the history of the beautiful game. Romario and Stoichkov were part of Cruyff’s Barcelona team that were the favourites to win against AC Milan in the Final of the Champions League, but to the shock of whoever placed their money on the Catalans, the Rossoneri won the match 4-0. The 1994 Final was the only time that the Brazilian and the Bulgarian played together in a final.
3) Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka
While both of them had won the Champions League separately, they could not manage to do it together at Real Madrid. Though the duo shared four seasons together at Real Madrid, they were dumped out at the semis on three occasions and the R16 on one. By the time CR7 started his European dominance, Kaka had already moved on from the Spanish Capital.
4) Schuster and Maradona
The pairing of one of the greatest forwards to ever live and the Barcelona captain at the time was hugely disappointing, to say the least. The duo did not manage to deliver a single league title to the fans, despite Schuster managing to win the European Championship with his country, Germany.
5) Ronaldo Nazario and Raul
Just reading the names together would send shivers down the spines of defenders playing against them. As good as they were individually, the fearsome striking force could not deliver a single Champions League trophy to the fans despite having a star-studded team behind them.
6) Heynckes and Simonsen
Back in the 70s, Borussia Monchengladbach used to make it deep into the European competition, unlike now. The team had Rainer Bonhof, Berti Vogts and Uli Stielike among their ranks and despite the five league titles they managed to win, the Champions League evaded them.
7) Laudrup and Platini
Laudrup joined Juventus in 1985 to link up with Platini. The duo played together at the Old Lady for two years but never managed to land the trophy.
8) Falcao and Toninho Cerezo
Although the two Brazilian midfielders were among the best in their times, they never managed to bring the Champions League cup to the Italian capital, despite sharing two seasons together and coming mighty close to the title only to be sent packing by Liverpool.
9) Zidane and Del Piero
The Juventus side consisting of Del Piero and Zidane has to be one of the most creative offensive forces in the world. However, as good as the two legends of the game were in their playing days, they never managed to bring the Champions League to Turin. They were ousted from the competition by Dortmund and Real Madrid on both occasions.
10) Mbappe and Neymar
The most recent of the lot, their win over Bayern in the final would’ve earned them the first Champion’s League title in the club’s history, but the story went otherwise. Instead, the Bavarian giants were handed their sixth Champions League trophy, tying Liverpool and only behind Milan and Real Madrid.
Which other duos do you think should have won the Champions League together? Sound it off in the comments below.
Do check out: