LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 05: 1. BUNDESLIGA 99/00 Leverkusen; TSV BAYER O4 LEVERKUSEN - MSV DUISBURG 3:0; 3:0 TOR JUBEL Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Torschuetze Stefan Beinlich; v.lks.: Michael BALLACK, Stefan BEINLICH und Bernd SCHNEIDER, PONTE, Ze ROBERTO (Photo by Marcus Brandt/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Far too often, players are judged merely by the trophies they won, but great talent doesn’t always guarantee great success.

The best players generally play for the best, most successful clubs, but that isn’t always the case. Think back as far as Tom Finney, for example – he’s regarded as one of England’s finest footballers of all time, yet a Second Division title was the only trophy he lifted during his career.

Here are some but certainly not every recent example of fantastic players who for one reason or another never won the silverware their talent warranted.

Antonio Di Natale

Wonderful Antonio Di Natale, proof that, while trophies are not meaningless when it comes to defining a player’s success, they are rendered second to cultural impact. And there’s no player quite like Di Natale for cultural impact.

Having not made his top-flight debut until the age of 25, Di Natale scored only 47 Serie A goals before turning 30. After that, things got a bit silly. In the five seasons between 2009 and 2014 (and the ages of 31 and 36), Di Natale scored 120 league goals.

“It was a choice of life for me,” is Di Natale’s explanation for his loyalty to Udinese. “I feel so good here in Udine, and the president’s family have always made me feel like I was one of them. Some things are worth more than money.”

He may have won no trophies, but it is more than a sugary cliche to say that Di Natale made thousands of friends for life.

Giuseppe Signori

Signori does actually have a trophy, but we’re not counting the Intertoto Cup given that it was effectively a pre-season qualification round for the UEFA Cup.

That means the Italian jumps into second place on this list. He may have scored 283 career league goals, scored 12 times for his country and played in six of Italy’s seven matches at the 1994 World Cup, but he never won a trophy.

Signori’s individual record was mightily impressive. He won the Capocannoniere award for top-scoring in Serie A for three seasons out of four in the early 1990s, and was also top scorer in the Coppa Italia twice.

But spending the majority of his career at Lazio and Bologna hampered his chance of domestic glory.

Lazio won the Coppa Italia, Cup Winners’ Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Serie A title in the three years after he left. Sure it was nothing personal. Continue reading

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