Top 10 clubs that have never won the Champions League

10 clubs who have never won the Champions League
10 clubs that have never won the Champions League

As we all know, the UEFA Champions League is a tournament that showcases the very best teams European football has to offer every season. It is the most prestigious competition in Europe, yet it has brought some frightening, amazing, sorrowful and joyful memories for Europe’s biggest clubs and fans.

Some big teams have never won or lost their opportunity to win the Champions League based on factors such as fanbase size, closeness to success, financial power and even team failure in terms of performance.

There are clubs who make the Champions League consistently and put up good fights, but ultimately don’t get a chance to have their moment of glory.

The Champions League is the pinnacle of European club football. Only the best teams from each nation can qualify, as they go head-to-head from the group stages to the final. 23 teams have won the Champions League – formerly the European Cup – since it was created in 1955.

Ranked by their status, financial strength, and success in league football, on this list we provide you top 10 clubs who have never won UCL. For some of the below-listed teams, it’s only a matter of time before they get to lift the trophy themselves.

1. Arsenal

Arsenal FC

Arsenal is unarguably one of the most popular soccer teams to have never won the competition.

In 2006, Arsenal beat Real Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal in the knockout stages to reach the biggest match of the season.

Arsenal have also yet to win the top title in European club football. The Gunners were once regulars at European football’s top table, reaching the final in 2006, but top-four finishes were in short supply of late.

Their last appearance was back in 2016–17 when their journey ended in the Round of 16 under Arsene Wenger.

The closest they came was in 2005–06 when they fell to Barcelona in the final at the Stade de France in Paris. A 37th-minute Sol Campbell goal was wiped out by Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti, winning Barça their third title within six seasons.

The Gunners’ best finish since then came in 2008-09, when they made the semifinals only to lose to Manchester United 4-1 on aggregate, where a Ronaldo brace took them down. Up to this day, they remain the only one of the English top 5 clubs, consisting of Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool, to never win the UCL.

2. Paris Saint-German


Being the best and most famous team in France, they are yet to have their domestic success translate into European success. Les Parisiens were involved in a memorable Champions League match when they made it to the quarterfinals, only to suffer a shock exit thanks to Barcelona, where they lost to away goals on aggregate 6-6.

In 2020, they reached the final for the first time. Despite the talent of Neymar and Mbappe, they failed to score and lost 1-0. A year later, they were knocked out in the semi-finals by Man City. The English club won 4-1 on aggregate to send PSG home in disappointment for another year.

3. Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid FC

Perhaps, Atletico Madrid is the club with the most heartbreaking record in Champions League history. So far, they have played in three different finals, but unfortunately, they never got to lift the trophy.

Atletico Madrid faced Bayern in a two-legged final in 1974, and they lost 5-1 on aggregate. They met with their bitter rivals Real Madrid in the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, and they were demolished with a 4-1 scoreline.

4. Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur only made it to the Champions League once in its modern era, in the 2010–11 season. That year, they managed to qualify for the quarterfinals after topping Group A and beating Inter and AC Milan in the process, the latter thanks to an 80th-minute goal from Peter Crouch. However, it was not to be, as Spurs fell 5-0 on aggregate to Real Madrid in the quarterfinals.

Since 2016, they have been quite frequent in the competition, only missing the qualifications twice. Following being regulars in the competition, unexpectedly in the 2018-19 season, we witnessed an all-English final only for the second time (the first time after Manchester United defeated Chelsea in Moscow in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final).

On June 1, 2019, at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, it was the Reds’ who got their hands on the sixth Champions League trophy thanks to goals by Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi. Tottenham were below average in the match, giving away penalties in the initial minutes of the match.

If you ask a Tottenham fan what the most depressing match was as a fan, they would probably say the Champions League final.

5. Valencia

Valencia FC

Valencia fell from grace since their lucrative start at the turn of the century. 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.

Though they’ve made the tournament nine times since 1992–93, 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 3-0 in 1999-00 when they met the unstoppable Real Madrid, and The Bats returned to feature in the next season’s final.

They have not made it that far since being ousted in the quarterfinals in 2002-03 and 2006-07. Their last appearance came in 2019-20 when they were defeated by Atlanta in the Round of 16.

Valencia is one of the biggest clubs in Spain, famous for their passionate support and quality on the pitch. They’ve reached the UCL final on two occasions, most recently in 2001.

6. Lyon

Olympique Lyonnais

As far as the modern Champions League era is concerned, Olympique Lyonnais have the distinction of making the tournament the most times apart from Paris Saint-Germain for any French club. The team had previously made three consecutive quarterfinal appearances from 2003–04 to 2005–06.

Only one French club has ever won the Champions League – Marseille. Lyon, alongside PSG and Monaco, have suffered years of pain, including two semi-final defeats. In 2020, they lost to Bayern Munich.

7. Schalke 04

Schalke 04

Their best showing came in the 2010-11 season after making it past Valencia and Inter in the knockout stage to make the semifinals, only to lose 6-1 on aggregate to Manchester United. Previously, the Royal Blues had made the quarterfinals in 2007-08, where they exited the knockout stage 2-0 on aggregate to Barcelona.

Schalke’s last European campaign was in 2018–19, when they reached the round of 16, and they have struggled since in the Bundesliga. Finally, after a string of bad seasons, Schalke’s heartbreak was evident as they got relegated this season after finishing 17th after a really long season full of bad performances and a lack of direction in the management.

8. AS Roma


Known as one of Italy’s biggest clubs full of history and tradition. Their success has yet to be replicated in the Champions League. They have reached the final once, in 1984, but they lost to Liverpool. The Italian giants went into it as favourites because they were hosting the match at the Stadio Olimpico, yet Liverpool won on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Alan Kennedy scored the deciding kick to send Italian hearts into pieces.

They recently reached the semi-finals in 2018, but – once again – Liverpool stopped them. The Reds dramatically won 7-6 on aggregate after winning the first leg 5-2.

9. Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar Donetsk

Though they’re based out of Ukraine, FC Shakhtar Donetsk has put up a couple of very respectable performances in the Champions League. They have featured in every season since 2000-01, a feat that only a very few elite teams have been able to replicate.

They have been known for producing players who develop into world-class players, such as Fenandinho, Willian, and Douglas Costa.

While the Miners have mostly fallen in the group stage during their history in the tournament, two notable exceptions include their appearance in the Round of 16 last season before losing 5-2 on aggregate to Borussia Dortmund, as well as a quarterfinal appearance in 2010-11, where they dominated Roma 6-2 on aggregate in the round of 16 before eventually losing to Barcelona in the quarterfinals.

10. Zenit St. Petersburg

Zenit St. Petersburg

Their first Champions League appearance came in 2008-09, but they crashed out in the group stage in a group including Juventus and Real Madrid.

The Russian club went on to win the Europa League that same season and then defeated Manchester United to win the Super Cup. They’ve since qualified 10 times for the competition, with their last appearance coming back in the 2021–22 season.

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