Champions League

Champions League all-time top scorers: Ronaldo & Messi deliver in style

The Man Utd and PSG forwards had memorable weeks in a competition where they have already achieved some incredible figures.

10:35am on Thursday 30th September 2021
Team FC

Winning the Champions League remains the ultimate club honour - and most of football’s greatest goalscorers have played a part in the tournament during its long history.

Real Madrid have been the most successful team in the history of Europe’s elite club competition.

They have won the European Cup or Champions League on 13 occasions.

Madrid have been boosted by having some of the most prolific scorers in the Champions League in their ranks over the years, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul and Karim Benzema.

But Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski are among the players who have not played in the famous white who have also thrived in the Champions League.

Ronaldo, Messi, Lewandowski and Benzema are currently the top four players in the list of the highest all-time Champions League scorers.

For 2021/22, Ronaldo and Messi will represent new teams after moving to Man Utd and PSG respectively, setting up what looks likely to be a fascinating competition this season.

On this page, we have provided detail on who the Champions League all-time top scorer is and listed key statistics on the other most prolific players in history.

Matchday one of the 2021/22 Champions League saw Ronaldo score, but he could not prevent 10-man Man Utd from falling to a 2-1 defeat against Young Boys. Messi, meanwhile, did not find the net as PSG drew 1-1 with Club Brugge.

The second matchday went so much better for both players, though. Messi opened his PSG goalscoring account with a fantastic goal in a 2-0 win against Man City, while Ronaldo scored a dramatic late winner for Man Utd as they came from behind to defeat Villarreal 2-1.

Who is the top Champions League scorer of all time?

UCL all-time top scorers (excluding qualifying)

1Cristiano Ronaldo136178
2Lionel Messi121151
3Robert Lewandowski7798
4Karim Benzema72132
6Ruud van Nistelrooy5673
7Thierry Henry50112
8Alfredo Di Stefano4958
9Thomas Müller49126
10Andriy Shevchenko48100
11Zlatan Ibrahimovic48120
13Filippo Inzaghi4681
14Didier Drogba4492
15Alessandro Del Piero4289
17Sergio Aguero4178
18Ferenc Puskás3641
19Edinson Cavani3566
20Gerd Müller3435

Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League all-time top scorer, one of only two players in history to astonishingly score more than 100 goals in the competition.

Lionel Messi has held the title of most prolific scorer in the tournament before, but now trails the Man Utd forward.

Fans of Messi, though, will be quick to point out that he has a better goals-per-game ratio than Ronaldo when it comes to comparing the greatest goalscorers.

Of the 20 most prolific scorers in the Champions League and European Cup, nine are active players.

Robert Lewandowski has a similar goals per game mark to Ronaldo and Messi but has too much ground to make up.

Karim Benzema, Thomas Müller, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sergio Aguero and Edinson Cavani are other players aged over 30 on the list.

At 29, Neymar still has time on his hands and could eventually have third place in his sights, though he has not yet joined the exclusive club of seven who have scored more than 50 times in the Champions League.

There are some players who are getting closer to knocking on the door of the top 20 greatest Champions League goalscorers.

Mohamed Salah and Luis Suarez are close, but both still have work to do in order to make the list.

One future name to watch, of course, is PSG star Kylian Mbappé. In 2020/21, he became the youngest player to reach 25 UCL goals and should begin to feature prominently in this ranking over the years ahead.

Erling Haaland is another striker who will be eyeing a place in the history books.

Who was Champions League top scorer in 2020/21?

Dortmund striker Erling Haaland finished top of the Champions League scoring charts in 2020/21.

Ten goals in eight appearances were enough for the Norway star to claim the top scorer award in the competition for the first time.

Ronaldo and Messi did not make the top three, as both players crashed out at the last-16 stage of the tournament with Juventus and Barcelona respectively.

UCL top scorers 2020/21

1Erling Haaland108
2Kylian Mbappei810
3Olivier Giroud68

Who has scored the most Champions League goals in a single season?

Once again it is Cristiano Ronaldo, the highest scorer in the Champions League, who comes out on top in this category.

The great Ronaldo scored 17 times for Real Madrid in the 2013/14 season, giving him the record for most goals in a single Champions League season.

That included a goal in the 2014 Champions League final, as Real Madrid beat city rivals Atletico Madrid 4-1 after extra-time.

The record by Ronaldo has almost been beaten on a few occasions since.

He almost did it himself in 2015/16 and 2017/18, scoring on 16 and 15 occasions respectively.

Robert Lewandowski also had a 15-goal campaign for Bayern in 2019/20.

The best single season from Lionel Messi was when he netted 14 in 2011/12.

Ronaldo has been the most prolific scorer in a Champions League season seven times, closely followed by Messi in six campaigns.

Their dominance was only disrupted once between 2007 and 2019. That was by Neymar, who shared the honour with Ronaldo and Messi in 2014/15.

Lewandowski ended that run when he came out on top in 2019/20 and Haaland then became the second consecutive Champions League top scorer to play in the Bundesliga.

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