The UEFA Champions League is the most prestigious tournament in club football, and is often considered to be the holy grail. It is usually won only by the elite clubs, and only a few players usually have the privilege of winning a Champions League medal. Therefore it becomes very difficult for footballers to cope with a loss in a Champions League final.
Now, there are some players who have had this bitter experience 3 times in their respective careers, all are great players in their won right, and have had brilliant careers.
In this article, we take a look at 3 such players
#1 Paolo Maldini
The legendary left-back of AC Milan has won 5 European Cups/Champions Leagues in his glorious career, but also had to suffer defeat in 3 finals. Maldini remains the only footballer to appear in 8 Champions League finals, and is one of the greatest footballers of all time, with more than 900 matches for Milan in over 2 decades.
Maldini was part of an extremely dominant Milan side which became European Champions thrice in the space of 5 years, from 1989 to 1994. First Arigo Sacchi and then Fabio Capello, honed Milan into the best club in the world, with players like Maldini, Franco Baresi, Marcel Desailly, Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard.
That Milan team remains one of the greatest club sides ever assembled, and Maldini was one of its key members. However, they lost against Olympique Marseille in the inaugural edition of the Champions League, when its nomenclature and format was changed from the erstwhile European Cup. Marseille won the match 1-0 via a Basile Boli strike in Munich .
Milan again made the final of the Champions League in 1994-95, and came up against the mighty Ajax Amsterdam side managed by Luis Van Gaal. Ajax beat Milan 1-0 at the final in Vienna, as Patrick Kluivert scored the winning goal for them.
More heartbreak was awaiting Maldini as Milan again qualified for the final in 2004-05, and lost the match on penalties after being ahead 3-0 at halftime. Maldini played as a centre-back in that match, and could only look in disbelief as Liverpool made one of the best comebacks in the history of the game.