Every year, the UEFA Champions League assembles the best team from around Europe which, more often than not, boasts the very best footballers from all over the world.
This year is no different, with the star-studded Manchester City team as the 17/4 favourites to win the Champions League, ahead of even the almighty Real Madrid at 8/1.
So, let’s recap some of the greatest players ever to grace the legendary competition. To make the cut, the quota for this Champions League All-Time XI is that the player has to have won the competition.
So, unfortunately, the likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Gianluigi Buffon, and Ronaldo didn’t make the cut.
Edwin Van Der Sar
Edwin van der Sar may not have racked up as many appearances as Real Madrid’s go-to goalie Iker Casillas, but his incredible stat lines and heroics in the competition have held him as one of its greatest.
At 23 years old, he guided Ajax to victory in 1994/95 before moving to Juventus, Fulham, and then Manchester United to win the Red Devils the Champions League in a penalty shootout against Chelsea.
Roberto Carlos is quite possibly the most gifted attacking full-back of all-time.
Now seen as a pioneer of the wing-back role, Carlos is remembered for his attacking mentality and thunderous free kicks.
Still the Real Madrid captain to this day, Sergio Ramos will be looking to claim his fifth Champions League title this year.
But, given odds of 8/1 to win it for the fourth year running, Ramos will need to rally his team like never before. Ramos has served as a right-back and centre-back for Los Blancos, holding his place despite the huge-money signings.
Many herald Paolo Maldini as the greatest defender in the history of the competition. The illustrious centre-back led his team to eight Champions League finals.
Bayern Munich’s talisman has made a name for himself as the ultimate versatile player.
He’s featured at left-back, right-back, and the middle of the park, being instrumental to making Bayern Munich a consistent threat in the Champions League.
With four Champions League wins across three different clubs, there’s no doubt that Clarence Seedorf had a knack of performing on one of the biggest stages of football.
The Dutch central midfielder controlled games with ease while always posing a threat with the ball at his feet.
Quite surprisingly, Zinedine Zidane only has one Champions League win to his name; but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t light up the competition every time he stepped onto the pitch.
He added to his tally as Real Madrid’s manager most recently by winning three on the trot.
One of two footballing icons of the current generation of players, Lionel Messi has etched his name in stone in Europe’s premier competition.
He’s been instrumental in some of the best teams ever put on the pitch while scoring heaps of goals.
As the other player leading this generation of footballers, Cristiano Ronaldo stands as the highest-scoring player in the competition despite spending the first six years of his career with Manchester United and then joining the eternally dominant Real Madrid.
He’ll now look to claim his sixth title with Juventus, but he’s given odds of 7/1 to do so.
Known better as ‘Paco’ Gento, the Spanish right winger was known for his incredible speed and skill on the ball.
Playing for Real Madrid, Gento has won more Champions League titles than any other player at six, scoring plenty of goals while doing so.
Raul is one of Real Madrid’s most legendary players.
In 741 appearances, he scored 324 goals, while also tallying 103 games for Spain with 44 goals. He led his boyhood club to three Champions League victories.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*