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5 Ballon d'Or winners who never won the Champions League

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the Ballon d’Or competition in recent times with either one of them finishing on top since 2008. The duo has won almost every club competition with multiple wins in Europe’s premier club competition, the Champions League.However, in the past there have been some truly amazing players who have not won the Champions League. These players have been crowned as Ballon d'Or winners but somehow or the other, the Champions League prize has eluded them.We take a look at 5 Ballon d'Or winners who have never won the Champions League 

#5 Michael Owen - Ballon d\'Or winner (2001)

michael owen liverpool
Michael Owen had the best years of his career at Liverpool

Michael Owen was one of the best English footballers of his generation. Bursting onto the scene at the tender age of 17 for Liverpool, Owen went on to capture the imagination of the Anfield faithful by putting in some stunning performances.

Playing at his peak in the early 2000s, Michael Owen used to terrorise defences and singlehandedly win games for Liverpool. In his prime, Owen was highly regarded for his great pace, opportunism, and agility, as well as his technical ability and his eye for goal, which enabled him to be considered as one of the greatest English and Premier League strikers of his generation. 

Owen faced many injuries throughout his career, which later affected his pace, fitness, mobility, and the overall consistency of his performances.

Michael Owen played for huge clubs such as Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United and came closest to winning the Champions League with Manchester United in the 2011 final where Manchester United lost to Barcelona.

Also, as soon as Owen left his boyhood club Liverpool to join Real Madrid in 2004, Liverpool pulled off one of the most remarkable Champions League triumphs ever, and Owen admitted that he still regrets to this day that he was not part of that historic Liverpool side.

#4 Fabio Cannavaro - Ballon d\'Or winner (2006)

fabio cannavaro 2006 ballon d'or winner
Fabio Cannavaro is only the third defender ever to win the Ballon d’Or 

Italian legend Fabio Cannavaro is best known for being the captain of Italy’s miraculous 2006 world cup winning squad. Only the third defender to ever win the Ballon d’Or, Cannavaro played for some of the world’s biggest clubs but the Champions League trophy somehow eluded him.

Cannavaro was known for his concentration, strength, anticipation, positioning and aerial ability, which made him particularly adept at defending crosses, or scoring with his head from set-pieces, despite his relatively small stature for a defender


Cannavaro was also known for his leadership, and was once the record appearance holder for the Italian national side, before being overtaken by Gianluigi Buffon. The closest Cannavaro came to winning the Champions League was a semi-final appearance with Inter where they were beaten by rivals AC Milan on away goals.

The Italian defender played for some top clubs like Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid but he never could win the coveted Champions League trophy.

#3 Pavel Nedved - Ballon d\'Or winner (2003)

pavel nedved juventus
Pavel Nedved was an able replacement for Zinedine Zidane at Juventus

One of the best if not the best footballer to emerge from the Czech republic, Pavel Nedved was a midfielder par excellence. The Czech midfielder had his most successful spell with Juventus and was a firm fan favourite for his brilliant displays on the football pitch.

Nedved played nine seasons for Juventus and even played for them when they were demoted to the Serie B due to the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal. A complete, tenacious and consistent two-footed player, Nedved frequently played as a left-sided, offensive wide midfielder or as a left-winger throughout his career.

Nedved came closest to winning the Champions League in the 2003 UEFA Champions League final against Milan. Although he was instrumental in Juventus’ run to the final, Nedved had to tragically sit out the finals because of an accumulation of yellow cards after his semi-final booking for a foul on Real Madrid midfielder Steve Mcmanaman.

The result might have very well been different if Nedved had played the finals against AC Milan.

#2 Roberto Baggio - Ballon d\'Or winner (1993)

Roberto Baggio Milan
Roberto Baggio was probably the most talented footballer to ever play for Italy

Baggio, popularly known as “the divine ponytail” was one of the most gifted footballers the world has ever seen. The Italian was at the peak of his powers in 1993 when he won the Ballon d’Or after a series of stunning performances for Juventus.

The picture of Baggio looking disconsolate after a penalty miss against Brazil in the world cup finals in 1994 is etched in the memories of everyone, however, Baggio not only missed out on the World Cup during his stellar career, he also missed out on the Champions League.

Baggio was renowned for his skilful dribbling, ball control, balance, and his ability to beat opponents with flair, body feints, and sudden changes of pace or direction, both in one on one situations or during individual dribbling runs.

The Italian’s trophy cabinet is alarmingly bare for a man of his talent with two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, a UEFA Cup and one sad, sorry Intertoto title to go with his Ballon d’Or he earned in 1993.

Although Baggio played for some of Italy’s biggest clubs such as Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan, the Champions League trophy eluded him throughout his amazing career.

#1 Ronaldo Nazario - Ballon d\'Or winner (1997,2002)

ronaldo nazario real madrid
Ronaldo Nazario is probably the greatest player ever to not win the Champions League

Ronaldo is considered the greatest striker of the modern era. He is a two-time world cup winner, a two-time Ballon d’Or winner, and yet, somehow the Champions League trophy has eluded him.

The Brazilian dubbed “the phenomenon” has played for some of Europe’s top clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter Milan and PSV, however, he has not even come close to winning the Champions League title with a semi-final appearance in 2003 for Real Madrid against Juventus being the furthest he has progressed in the competition.

Ronaldo was a prolific goal scorer and he was easily one of the best forwards ever to play the game. The brilliant Brazilian was frequently capable of beating several players when undergoing individual dribbling runs at speed, and he was also equally competent in one on one situations, due to his ball control, acceleration, agility, balance, quick feet and technical skills.

The Brazilan has won a number of trophies but the Champions League trophy surprisingly is not one of them. 

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