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UEFA Champions League - Champions League all-time top scorers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema - News
Champions League all-time top scorers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi lead the way for Champions League goals, but the race for third is hotting up. Ronaldo has netted for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, with Messi on target for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
First contested in 1992/93, the UEFA Champions League has become synonymous with the very best strikers in world football history, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema able to rack up stellar goal tallies.
Ronaldo and Messi are the only players to date to score over 100 goals in the competition, and like the remaining players in the all-time European Cup/Champions League top ten, neither featured in the competition when it was still the European Champion Clubs Cup.
That competition, first launched in 1955/56, was knockout ties all the way, the lack of a group stage meaning players had fewer matches per season in which to score. Real Madrid contested just seven games as theywon the inaugural edition, compared to 13 en route to UEFA Champions League victoryin 2021/22.
The all-time European Champion Clubs Cup top scorer,Alfredo Di Stfano, struck 49 goals in just 58 appearances in the competition, a goals-per-game rate that none of the modern greats can match.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer of all time in the Champions League and UEFA club competition as well as themost prolific in the history of senior international football.
He was not initially an out-and-out striker, and did not score until his 27th Champions League game during his first spell at Manchester United. However, after switching from the wing to a central striking role, the Portuguese great started to find the net with frightening regularity, continuing to rack up big numbers after leaving Old Trafford for Real Madrid.
On 18 April 2017, he became the first player to reach 100 goals in the Champions League, bringing up his century with ahat-trick against Bayernin his 137th appearance.
Ronaldo has won the competition once with United and four times with Real Madrid, and is the only player to date to have scored in three Champions League finals. Like Messi, he has scored eight Champions League hat-tricks.
All-time UEFA Champions League top scorers (excluding qualifying)
140:Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus)129:Lionel Messi (ARG, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain)*91:Robert Lewandowski (POL, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Mnchen, Barcelona)*86:Karim Benzema (FRA, Lyon, Real Madrid)*71:Ral Gonzlez (ESP, Real Madrid, Schalke)56:Ruud van Nistelrooy (NED, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid)53:Thomas Mller (GER, Bayern Mnchen)*50:Thierry Henry (FRA, Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona)48:Zlatan Ibrahimović (SWE, Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United)*48:Andriy Shevchenko (UKR, Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea)46:Filippo Inzaghi (ITA, Juventus, AC Milan)
Lionel Messi left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2021 having scored 120 goals for the Spanish club in the Champions League a record that even Cristiano Ronaldo, with his 105 for Madrid, could not challenge, although the Portuguese phenomenon reached the 100-mark for his club first.
Messis goal at Maccabi Haifa on Matchday 2 in 2022/23 made him the first player to score in 18 successive editions of the competition, and is the only player to have scored in 16 successive campaigns in Europes top club competition for the same team.
The Argentinian joined Barcelona in early 2001 when he was just 13, and stuck with the team for the next 20 years, winning the Champions League four times in addition to ten Liga titles, seven editions of the Copa del Rey and three UEFA Super Cups.
He was the second player to reach 100 Champions League goals (after Cristiano Ronaldo) and has been top scorer (or joint top scorer) in six Champions League seasons, one fewer than Ronaldo has managed.
120:Lionel Messi (ARG, Barcelona)105:Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Real Madrid)74:Karim Benzema (FRA, Real Madrid)*69:Robert Lewandowski (POL, Bayern Mnchen)66:Ral Gonzlez (ESP, Real Madrid)53:Thomas Mller (GER, Bayern Mnchen)*42:Alessandro Del Piero (ITA, Juventus)38:Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool)36:Sergio Agero (ARG, Manchester City)36:Didier Drogba (CIV, Chelsea)35:Thierry Henry (FRA, Arsenal)35:Ruud van Nistelrooy (NED, Manchester United)
Champions League history: More all-time stats
Top European Cup/Champions League scorers (including qualifying rounds)
Watch all four of Ronaldos final goals
A losing finalist with Borussia Dortmund against Bayernin 2013, Robert Lewandowski finallywon the competitionwith the Bavarian club in 2020, and though he did not score in the decisive 1-0 win against Paris, he ended the campaign as top scorer for the first time with 15 goals. Messi or Ronaldo had been top scorer (or joint-top scorer) in the previous 12 UEFA Champions League campaigns.
The most prolific foreign goalscorer in Bundesliga history, Lewy took just 100 games to score 80 UEFA Champions League goals; Messi took 102 games to reach the same mark and Ronaldo 116.
141: Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus)129: Lionel Messi (ARG, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain)*91: Robert Lewandowski (POL, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Mnchen, Barcelona)*86: Karim Benzema (FRA, Lyon, Real Madrid)*71: Ral Gonzlez (ESP, Real Madrid, Schalke)60:Ruud van Nistelrooy (NED, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid)59:Andriy Shevchenko (UKR, Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea)53:Thomas Mller (GER, Bayern Mnchen)*51:Thierry Henry (FRA, Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona)50:Filippo Inzaghi (ITA, Juventus, AC Milan)
The European Cup or European Champion Clubs Cup to give it its full name was UEFAs first major mens club competition, and began in 1955.
Real Madrid won the opening five editions, their Argentinian-born forward Alfredo Di Stfano racking up 49 goals, a tally that no one was able to match in the 37 seasons before the competition was reinvented as the Champions League.
The player who initially came closest to taking Di Stfanos record was Portuguese phenomenon Eusbio, the talented striker scoring 47 goals as his Benfica side replaced Madrid as the pre-eminent force in world club football for a time.
Even he could not match the goals-per-game record of Bayerns 1970s star Gerd Mller, whose34 European Cup goals came in just 35 games a rate of 0.97 per match that no player, before or during the Champions League era, has managed to emulate over a career lasting 20 or more games.
49:Alfredo Di Stfano (ARG/ESP, Real Madrid)47:Eusbio (POR, Benfica)36:Ferenc Pusks (HUN, Honvd, Real Madrid)34:Gerd Mller (GER, Bayern Mnchen)30:Francisco Gento (ESP, Real Madrid)
In 2019/20, Bayerns Lewandowski ended a run of 12 UEFA Champions League seasons in which either Ronaldo or Messi finished as the UEFA Champions Leagues top scorer (or joint-top scorer).
The Polish forward was unable to retain his title the following season, Dortmunds Erling Haaland finishing top of the 2020/21 rankings with ten goals, two more than second-ranked Kylian Mbapp, with the two forwards widely predicted to have the same kind of striking competition at the highest level of European football that Ronaldo and Messi enjoyed for more than a decade.
Norwegian international Haaland son of tough-tackling Norway midfielder Alf Inge Håland hit the ground running, scoring a hat-trick on his UEFA Champions League debut for Salzburg against Genk in 2019/20, and going on to become the first teenager to find the net in five successive UEFA Champions League games.
He moved to Dortmund midway through that campaign, ending it with ten goals: only Lewandowski, with 15, managed more. In total, Haaland scored 20 goals in his first 24 European games; at an equivalent stage Mbapp had scored 12, Messi eight, Lewandowski six and Cristiano Ronaldo just one.
2021/22: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) 152020/21: Erling Haaland (Dortmund) 102019/20: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern) 152018/19: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 122017/18: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 152016/17: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 122015/16: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 162014/15: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Neymar (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 102013/14: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 172012/13: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 122011/12: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 142010/11: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 122009/10: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 82008/09: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 92007/08: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) 82006/07: Kak (AC Milan) 102005/06: Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan) 92004/05: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United) 82003/04: Fernando Morientes (Monaco) 92002/03: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United) 122001/02: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United) 102000/01: Ral Gonzlez (Real Madrid) 71999/2000: Mrio Jardel (Porto), Rivaldo (Barcelona), Ral Gonzlez (Real Madrid) 101998/99: Andriy Shevchenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Dwight Yorke (Manchester United) 81997/98: Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) 101996/97: Milinko Pantić (Atltico Madrid) 51995/96: Jari Litmanen (Ajax) 91994/95: George Weah (Paris Saint-Germain) 71993/94: Hristo Stoichkov (Barcelona) 51992/93: Franck Sauze (Marseille) 5
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