Champions League

Champions League all-time top scorers: Messi, Ronaldo and the greatest goal machines in history

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are among the most prolific forwards in the competition's history. Ahead of the final, here are the definitive rankings.

Lionel Messi is a Champions League great Lionel Messi is a Champions League great
9:45am on Friday 28th May 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.

The top four goalscorers in the competition's history have all been eliminated from this season's tournament.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema - who drew level with Real Madrid great Raul in the list of the highest all-time Champions League scorers last month - will all watch on as Chelsea play Man City for glory.

Ahead of the final in Porto, we have provided detail on who the Champions League all-time top scorer is and the other most prolific players in history below.

Who is the top Champions League scorer of all time?

UCL all-time top scorers (excluding qualifying)

1Cristiano Ronaldo134176
2Lionel Messi120149
3Robert Lewandowski7396
4Karim Benzema71130
6Ruud van Nistelrooy5673
7Thierry Henry50112
8Alfredo Di Stefano4958
9Andriy Shevchenko48100
10Zlatan Ibrahimovic48120
11Thomas Müller48124
13Filippo Inzaghi4681
14Didier Drogba4492
15Alessandro Del Piero4289
17Sergio Aguero4177
18Ferenc Puskás3641
19Edinson Cavani3565
20Gerd Müller3435

Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League all-time top scorer, having netted an astonishing 134 goals in the competition.

Lionel Messi has held the title of most prolific scorer in the tournament before, but now trails with 120 to his name.

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.

After Ronaldo and Messi's exits during the same week in the first knockout round, we now know they will start next season's Champions League with 14 goals between them in the standings.

Of the 20 most prolific scorers in the Champions League and European Cup, eight 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, 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 has 28 goals while Luis Suarez has 26, but both have work to do in order to make the list.

One future name to watch, of course, is PSG star Kylian Mbappé. He already has 27 Champions League goals at the age of 22 and should begin to feature prominently in this ranking over the years ahead.

Mbappe is the youngest player to reach 25 UCL goals - for now.

Erling Haaland tops the scoring charts in 2020/21 and is another striker who will be eyeing a place in the history books.

He scored 10 goals this season and has 20 overall.

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 last season and Haaland is now well placed to become the second consecutive Champions League top scorer to play in the Bundesliga, unless something incredible happens in the final.

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