Arsenal reign as the best team never to win the Champions League, but Atletico closing in

Arsenal reign as the best team never to win the Champions League, but Atletico closing in

The fattest felines on the continent of Europe are preening their whiskers and sharpening their claws ahead of another tilt at Champions League glory.

Barcelona are vying to become the first to defend the crown since its 1992 rebrand and are favourites to claim the title at 3/1.

A forward line of unparalleled quality was the key factor behind their fourth conquest of Europe this century, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar proving even more fearsome than Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale who fired Real Madrid to glory 12 months prior.

Wing wizardry enabled Bayern Munich to overcome Borussia Dortmund in 2012/13, while rearguard action was key to Inter’s 2009/10 success.

Experience helped Milan to one of many titles in 2006/07 and who can forget Rafa Benitez’s band of unlikeliest competition winners of all time and Steven Gerrard who overcame all the odds to triumph in 2004/05.

There have certainly been some great teams to win Europe’s richest prize, but what about those who have never savoured this specific success?

Forget championing the champions for the next couple of minutes and behold the greatest teams who haven’t been able to get over the Champions League-winning line.

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To come into contention for the accolade, teams must’ve participated in at least one semi-final since the Champions League rose from the ashes of the European Cup in 1992.

While Arsenal’s win percentage is bested by those of Atletico Madrid, Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain, their sheer consistency in the group stage, coupled with a solo final appearance sees them top the pile.

The rate at which they’ve qualified for the post-Christmas part of the competition also means they’ve trumped their rivals in terms of knockout-stage successes.

However, a few more seasons dining at Europe’s top table will see the Gunners ousted by Atletico.

Los Colchoneros have only competed in the competition on five instances, but they’ve advanced beyond the group-stage each time. Like their north London counterparts, Atleti have shown their faces in the final, which is the chief factor behind their phenomenal average finishing position being the semis.

Arsenal’s is only the round of 16, thanks to a spate of first knockout round eliminations in recent campaigns.

With a win rate of 51% besting the 47% mustered by Arsene Wenger’s men, a few more strong finishes from the second-most prestigious Spanish capital club will see them trump the Gunners as the greatest team never to have their name etched on the Champions League trophy.

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