Best Players who haven’t won the Champions League

The UEFA Champions League is the most prestigious trophy in club football. Although many of the game’s current superstars have won it, there are still some amazing players who have not gotten their hands on the elusive trophy yet. Here we will look at three of the best players who are still playing but have not won it yet.

*Players must be at least 29 years old to qualify

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

It is still astonishing that the Swedish striker has not won the Champions League yet. Since leaving Swedish club Malmo FF to play abroad, Ibrahimovic has played for Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and AC Milan, all clubs who have won the Champions League. Inter won it the year after he left and Barcelona the year before he came and the year after he left. The hilariously egotistical striker currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, a club which has a good chance at going far in this season’s Champions League, has scored an impressive 325 goals in 601 official club matches. One of the most impressive parts of Ibrahimovic’s high tally is the quality of the goals he has scored. He has been known for insane bicycle kicks, back-heel volleys and so much more. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a ridiculously talented player who thoroughly deserves a Champions League title.

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Robin van Persie

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is an incredibly talented and unlucky player. He has won many individual accolades and has topped many top scorer charts, however, he has won very little silverware. At his first club, Feyenoord, he captured the UEFA Cup (now the UEFA Europa League) in 2002. Although this is a competition with European clubs from many different countries, it is much less prestigious than the Champions League because the teams who contest it are essentially Champions League rejects. While with Arsenal, the Dutchman finished as a runner-up in the 2006 Champions League, although he was an unused substitute in the final. Van Persie has scored 210 goals in 448 club appearances, is the all-time Dutch leading scorer and finished as a runner-up in the 2010 World Cup.

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Gianluigi Buffon

The Italian goalkeeper is still playing incredibly well at the age of 36. After starting his career with Parma 20 years ago, Buffon is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of his generation and rightly so. He is a charismatic leader and a great player. It’s not just amazing how reliable as a keeper’ but the kinds of saves he can make, just see for yourself. He has won loads of silverware; seven Serie A titles, one UEFA Cup and a Coppa Italia. He was even the starting goalkeeper on Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning side. He has won countless awards for being the world’s best ‘keeper and has been included intwo FIFPro World XI’s. He even finished as the runner-up for the 2006 Ballon D’or. Although all of these titles make for a successful and enjoyable career, the Juventus shot-stopper has never won the Champions League. In 2003, Buffon finished as a Champions League runner-up with Juventus, losing to domestic rivals AC Milan after a penalty shoot-out. Of all the amazing players on this list, Buffon deserves a Champions League title the most.

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Best Midfield Options for Manchester United

Although in third place, Manchester United have been visibly struggling this season. The area of the pitch where they lack the most talent is their midfield. Angel di Maria has been utilized as a central midfielder more than any other position this season, and has thrived there, registering three goals and assisting three more while playing in the center of the park for just five matches. However, this is not his natural position and he may be needed elsewhere at any given time. The Red Devils must sign at least one world-class central midfielder before next season. Below you will find viable options.

Paul Pogba:

One of a few dream signings that will feature here today, the Frenchman joining would undoubtedly delight the Old Trafford faithful. After leaving United themselves to join Juventus on a free transfer in 2012, the hierarchy at the club want to bring back the player who was once deemed surplus to requirements. Pogba’s market value is a whopping 50 million euros but the Glazer family has given Louis van Gaal a transfer budget with essentially no limit. The Frenchman would also be a great investment for the future as he is only 21 years of age. Pogba has tallied up seven goals and two assists this season for the Bianconeri and his performances have been vital to his club’s Champions League knockout round qualification and for their domination of Serie A. The strongest part of Pogba’s game are his dribbling and his shots from range. Pogba has been insisting that he will not be leaving Juventus anytime soon, but when United comes banging down his door, who knows?

Koke:

Another dream signing, the 23 year-old Spaniard, dubbed the “Next Xavi” has been improving rapidly. He was linked to United last January but the move fizzled out when he signed a new deal with Atletico Madrid, keeping him at the Calderon until 2019. Koke has represented his country 15 times at senior level despite being so young. Koke’s release clause is officially 63 million euros, but Atletico could possibly accept a lower bid. Koke has registered three goals and twelve assists so far for Atletico this season. Koke is one of the very best players in the world when it comes to delivering the final killer pass, averaging 5.1 key passes (a pass that leads to a shot) per game. Koke, like Pogba, is adamant that he won’t leave his current club, but the bright lights of Old Trafford could very well persuade him to leave the Spanish capital.

Axel Witsel:

A slightly more realistic option, the Belgian midfielder who is currently plying his trade is with Zenit St. Petersburg, would only cost about 15 millions euros. Witsel is a different kind of midfielder than Pogba and Koke, he is not quite as much of a playmaker but is very talented in the tackle and at shielding the defense.

He shone for Belgium at the World Cup this summer in Brazil and has previously been linked to the Red Devils. Don’t be surprised if Witsel ends up signing for United.

Joao Moutinho:

The Portugese midfielder has not fit in very well at current club Monaco. However, from past performances with Porto and still with Monaco, there is no doubt over the huge amount of talent Moutinho possesses. He plays in a sort of advanced playmaker role and is a complete midfielder, his passing and defending are both very strong. While he is far from the world’s best finisher, United’s array of talent up front should make up for his lack of finishing skill. Moutinho would probably be available for 25 million euros.

*All statistics were obtained via WhoScored.com and transfer values via transfermarket.com

Is Angel di Maria overrated?

Angel di Maria enjoyed scintillating form for Real Madrid at the end of last season, climaxing in a man of the match performance against Atletico Madrid in the final match of the season when Los Blancos claimed their record 10th European Cup title. After that, Di Maria produced good performances for Argentina in the World Cup even though he missed the semifinal and final through injury. These performances led to many people claiming he was the best player in the world behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Still, Real Madrid opted for glamor signings James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, instead of keeping Di Maria on as a starter. Understandably, the Argentine wanted to move to a club where he would receive more playing time. After rumors linking him to many clubs, Di Maria finally signed for English giants Manchester United for a British record transfer fee of 59.7 million pounds. Whenever a player commands such a large sum to move, the expectations are huge. Di Maria was immediately heralded by the Old Trafford faithful as the solution to all their problems. Di Maria has enjoyed a decent start to life in England, but is he as good as he was believed to be when he joined United? Let’s take a look.

Goals

Di Maria has never been known for his goal scoring. However, he certainly is capable of putting the ball in the back of the net. The diminutive Argentine has scored four goals for United in fourteen matches so far this season. He scored his first goal for the Red Devils in a match against Queen Park Rangers, his second appearance for the club when his indirect free kick bounced into the goal. He has since scored against Leicester City and Everton in the league and added one against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup.

Assists and Passing

Di Maria’s passing has always been the best part of his game. It’s what made him famous at Benfica, prompting Real Madrid to buy him, and it’s what he became known for at Real Madrid. So far this season Di Maria’s passing has been fairly good, but nothing more. He has assisted six goals in fourteen appearances. He has created 34 chances this season in the league, more than any of his teammates. However, he has completed only 80% of his passes, a paltry sum for a player of his quality.

Di Maria is clearly a very talented player. The excitement of Manchester United fans everywhere at the time of his arrival was completely warranted. In December, Di Maria won the award for the best Argentine player in 2014. Through all this praise and recognition, di Maria has played well, not well enough, though, to be the third best player in the world. Angel di Maria is a little bit overrated.