Winning a title or trophy builds a club’s ego, and a trophy drought will surely bruise that much-needed pride.
Some teams have never experienced what it is like to emerge as champions, whilst some clubs have tasted titles and glories but spend decades re-chasing that success but to no avail.
As much as winning titles is one interesting aspect and bragging rights for every sport, it’s quite shocking and surprising that some of Europe’s elite clubs have gone on a long drought since they last won any form of silverware, which has made their fans lose their bragging right.
Here are 9 of Europe’s elite clubs with active trophy drought.
- OGC Nice – (France, 23 Years) Last Title Won – (Coupe de France, 1997)
Les Aiglons, as their nickname suggests is one of the most successful football clubs in France with four national champion titles, in addition to three Coupe de France.
Nice won their fourth league title in 1959, to put an end to a terrific decade without a title for the Riviera side. Since the last time they won a Ligue 1 title, they have found it difficult to upset arguably the four biggest clubs in France, perhaps due to their financial muscles compared to Paris Saint Germain, Lyon, Marseille, and Monaco to win the league.
Having only won a league in 1959, the only silverware won by Les Aiglons that seems fresh was the Coupe de France which they won in 1997. If what was written or said about OGC Nice were anything to go by as one of the most successful clubs in France, at least they should be doing better in winning Coupe de France or Coupe de la Ligue if Ligue 1 is beyond their reach.
Unfortunately for Les Aiglons, the only title they last won is Coupe de France in 1997, perhaps they might put an end to their title drought this season. But as it stands, the waiting still continues for OGC Nice fans.
- Sporting Lisbon – (Portugal, 18 Years) Title Last Won – (Primera Liga, 2002)
Sporting Lisbon is one of the ‘Tres Grandes’ (Big Three) football clubs in Portugal alongside rivals Benfica, and Porto that has never been relegated from the top flight of Portuguese football Primera Liga since 1934.
Since the club was founded in 1906, the ‘Green and Whites‘ has won dozens of titles. Sporting is also well known for producing talented players among them are Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Nani who all went on to become mega superstars for their respective clubs.
For many years now, ‘The Leoes’ has been in the shadows of their two Lisbon rivals Porto and Benfica for many years has dominated the Portuguese league and league cups which are Taca de Portugal and Taca de Liga.
The last time Sporting tasted a title was in the 2001-02 season, where they won the Primera Liga under their Romanian manager Laszlo Boloni.
With the Primera Liga in its week 7, and Sporting topping the league with 19 points, although the season is still very young. However, if things remain this way till the end of the Primera Liga campaign, they might be putting an end to their trophy drought since 2002.
- Borussia Monchengladbach – (Germany, 12 Years) Last Title Won – (Bundesliga II, 2008)
Borussia Monchengladbach is once a dominant force in the Bundesliga with great players such as Jupp Heynckes and Berti Vogt among other great stars in the team. Die Fohlen are one of the finest team in the Bundesliga, also appearing in European competitions almost every season.
In the ’60s and ’70s, they were the best side in Germany winning three straight titles between 1975, 1977 and also got to the European Cup final, since then they’ve never won a top-flight title.
After dominating German football during those periods, things got worse for Die Fohlen financially, and in the end, they were never the same team in the league.
In the 2006-07 season, The Colts got relegated in the 31st matchday after fellow relegation struggler Arminia Bielefeld upset Werder Bremen 3-2, while Monchengladbach lost 1-0 at home to VfB Stuggart, a disappointing result that sealed their relegation story to Bundesliga II.
They got promoted back to the topflight on the 32nd match day of the 2007-08 season, after winning their match against SV Wehen to win the title, and since then winning silverware has been very hard for Die Fohlen to come by.
- Tottenham Hotspur – (England, 12 Years) Title Last Won – (Carling Cup, 2008)
Tottenham Hotspur pulled the chestnut out of the fire to defeat Chelsea at the 2008 League Cup final at the Wembley Stadium to clinch their fourth league cup title. During those periods the White North London side defeated the Blues, Chelsea were arguably one of the best team in world football and the best in English football having enjoyed astronomical investment from their rich Russian club owner Roman Abramovich.
Surprisingly, then former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos led the London side to what seems impossible due to the kind of form Chelsea were then. What made the title unique was that it was the first League Cup final to be played at the new Wembley Stadium, having demolished the old Wembley, and the first League Cup final to be played in England since 2000.
Winning the League Cup under Ramos qualified the London side for European competition, UEFA Cup, now UEFA Europa League.
Since that triumphant moment against Chelsea, they’ve not been able to achieve success. The only time they came close to winning something gigantic was during the reign of Mauricio Pochettino who got them to the final of the UEFA Champions League but lost to the same English side in Liverpool as their trophy drought continues.
- Schalke 04 – (Germany, 9 Years) Title Last Won – (DFL Supercup, 2011)
For a club as rich in history, culture, and popularity as Schalke 04, it is somewhat disappointing not to have at least won a single Bundesliga title since it was rename from Oberliga format to Bundesliga.
However, ‘Die Konigsblauen‘, trophy cabinet is somewhat what they would be proud of, having won seven national titles, five DFB-Pokals, and one UEFA Cup, but not as impressive enough as that of their rivals Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.
Schalke’s current form in the league is certainly nothing to write home about, as losses and draws has continued to be the order of the day for The Royal Blues. Playing in Europe has also been very hard to come by for the German side, for a club who once played in Europe’s competition semi-final looks quite disheartening.
Their moment of joy and triumph last came in the 2011 DFL Supercup final defeating city rival Borussia Dortmund via penalties in what was term the Revierderby DFL Supercup final. Nine years and still counting, and it doesn’t seem Die Konigsblauen would win any form of silverware soon.
- Olympique Lyon – (France, 8 Years) Title Last Won – (Trophee des Champions, 2012)
Olympique Lyonnais was once a dominant force and even had a golden era at the beginning of the millennium, winning seven consecutive league titles the longest streak in French and perhaps world football and an unprecedented feat that hasn’t been equal till now.
During those trophies-laden campaigns, they were also very competitive in European competition specifically the UEFA Champions League, competing with the big boys in the game making their ground ‘Stade Gerland’ a fortress.
To say life has been easy for Lyon since they last won the Ligue 1 is an understatement, although they’ve been able to conjure decent performances in Europe. However, since the Saint Germain Arab billionaire takeover, dominating the Ligue 1 once again has been a difficult route to navigate for ‘Les Gones’.
The last title won by Les Gones was the 2012 ‘Trophee des Champions‘, which was the 17th edition of the French Supercup against league rival and 2011-12 Ligue 1 Champions Montpellier.
The match was played at the Red Bull Arena, Harrison New Jersey far away from the four walls of France, which made it as at that time the fourth consecutive time the competition would be taken place far away from France soil.
- Olympique De Marseille – (France, 8 Years) Title Last Won – (Coupe de la Ligue, 2012)
The last time Marseille won a trophy former France President Nicolas Sarkozy was still in power. Since winning the title, ‘Les Olympians’ had taken part in 30 domestic or international competitions, without winning a single one.
The 2015-16 French Cup final and Europa League 2017-18 finals looked like Les Olympiens would put a stop to their trophy drought, but they couldn’t as the wait for winning a title once again continue at the Orange Velodrome Stadium. A few days ago their quest in the Champions League came to an end, after dishing out disappointing performances in their group under their Portuguese manager Andreas Villas-Boas.
Crashing out of the Champions League gives credence to how poor they’ve been performing in Ligue 1, as such that further keep them away from dreaming of winning Europe’s most coveted trophy.
With Paris Saint Germain still very much dictating the pace in Ligue 1, it doesn’t look like Les Olympiens trophy drought would end soon.
- Athletic Bilbao – (Spain, 5 Years) Last Title Won – (Supercopa de Espana, 2015)
The Basque side, alongside Real Madrid and Barcelona are the only Spanish topflight side that has never been relegated from La Liga. Los Leones are the fourth most successful club side in Spain since they’re founded for over 122 years now.
The last time they won a league title was in the 1983-84 season beating Los Blancos to the title on goal difference, and also went a step ahead to win a league cup that same season.
Los Leones have been fortunate enough to play in the Europa League final against fellow league opponent Atletico Madrid in 2012 led by Marcelo Bielsa to put a stop to their trophy drought but they failed to achieve that.
Three years after playing in the final of the UEFA Europa League, the Basque side got the opportunity to play in a two-legged 2015 Supercopa de Espana, the first leg was played at the San Mames where Athletic defeated Barcelona 4-0, while in the return leg at Camp Nou they drew the match 1-1 to win their first trophy since 1984.
Perhaps, they might have the opportunity to once again add another title to their trophy cabinet in other to end their five years of trophy drought when they play fellow Basque side Real Sociedad in the final of the Copa Del Rey slated for April 4th, 2021.
- Manchester United – (England, 3 Years) Last Title Won – (UEFA Europa League, 2017)
Manchester United are no doubt one of the biggest clubs in English football, United have won a record 13 Premier League titles since the English topflight football was given a new name in 1992.
To say former manager Sir Alex Ferguson was the man who orchestrated all of United’s title triumph is an understatement because the Scottish gaffer did achieve an unprecedented success at Old Trafford.
The last time United won a trophy outside England was in 2017, which made it three years since they last won a trophy when they triumphed in the UEFA Europa League under the supervision of Jose Mourinho defeating a former European powerhouse Ajax Amsterdam in the final, while the Premier League has lasted a total drought of seven years and still counting.
To think that a club as big as Manchester United, is currently going through a trophy drought in the domestic league for seven years, while European competition has lasted three years is a testament to how poor the club has been since the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson left the club.
However as it stands it doesn’t look like the current United team under Ole Gunner Solsjkaer would win a trophy soon, but then we can never say never because it’s football.
Trust me, all of these club’s sides ain’t only Europe’s team going through a trophy drought run, there are still quite some more teams though. However, these sets of teams are the ones that caught our attention.
Feel free to add yours, if you know of any.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.