6 Best Footballers to Never Win a Major Title

Dan Colasimone@@ArgentinaFWContributor INovember 6, 2013

6 Best Footballers to Never Win a Major Title

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    Labelling a footballer as a "great" almost by definition requires the player to have won silverware at some level of the game. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, and here we will highlight a half-dozen excellent players who never claimed a single trophy throughout their careers.

    The criteria is strict. The players must be retired, which rules out the likes of Tim Cahill and Shay Given, and they cannot have won a single major trophy as a professional footballer.

    That entails any top-flight league or cup triumph at senior club level, any of the major European club competitions (excluding the Intertoto Cup) and any senior tournament at international level.

    There are many fine players who have won very few medals, and some who have claimed just one (Alan Shearer, Jay-Jay Okocha), but only a select minority who are completely, undeservedly, bereft. 

6. Jose Mari

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    Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Milan, Villareal—Jose Mari played for some formidable sides, but never managed to win anything with any of them.

    As a talented young prodigy for Sevilla, he was regarded as a bright hope for Spanish football. However, despite claiming four national team caps, he never really lived up to his early promise.

    After a largely unsuccessful stint with Milan, the skilful forward had what was perhaps his best season in 2004-05, as his Villarreal side finished an admirable third in La Liga.

    Aside from that, a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics was about as good as it got for the now 34-year-old, who wound his career down at Xerez. 

5. Matthew Le Tissier

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    An abundantly skilful player, Matt Le Tissier's sense of loyalty to his beloved Southampton probably cost him the chance at filling a trophy cabinet—or even needing one.

    A regular scorer of freakishly good goals, "Le God" will never be forgotten at St Mary's, but others will wonder what might have been if he had taken up one of the big-money offers from elsewhere. 

4. Johnny Haynes

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    England's captain at the 1962 World Cup, John Haynes played a total of 56 times for his country.

    Unfortunately, he was no longer in the picture when the Three Lions enjoyed their finest moment in 1966, having suffered a car accident which curtailed his international career.

    Haynes represented Fulham with distinction for 18 years, but could have picked up a few laurels had he accepted transfer offers from Internazionale or Tottenham in the early '60s. 

3. Giuseppe Signori

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    Prolific marksman Giuseppe "Beppe" Signori was Serie A top scorer on three separate occasions, but nonetheless was not ever in the right place at the right time to win a trophy.

    He made a name for himself at Foggia before becoming a superstar at Lazio. He later hit 70 goals in a spell at Bologna. Though he was clearly good enough, the speedster did not wear the shirt of any of Italy's powerful northern clubs.

    His 188 goals make him the eighth highest scorer of all time in Italy. 

2. Joseba Etxeberria

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    Flashy but dependable, Joseba Etxeberria spent most of his playing days at Athletic Bilbao, where he scored and provided goals from his position on the wing.

    He also represented Spain more than 50 times, but his last cap came in 2004, well before the current cycle of success.

    The Basque will go down as one of the greatest wide men Spanish football has ever produced, yet he didn't win a thing. 

1. Tom Finney

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    Legendary Preston North End right-winger Sir Tom Finney was twice named Footballer of the Year and played 76 times for England.

    His team finished second twice in the first division, coming agonizingly close to the title in 1952-53, but missing out to Arsenal on goal difference.

    Preston also lost the 1954 FA Cup final, meaning a man regarded as one of England's finest post-war footballers would never take home a medal of any kind.