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Who are the legends that have dominated the UEFA Champions League? Find out as we unveil the top 10 Champions League all time top scorers in the history of this prestigious tournament.
The UEFA Champions League has seen some of the greatest strikers in football history, and among them, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have truly set the bar high.
These two icons have not only surpassed the 100-goal mark but have also become synonymous with the competition itself.
However, while Ronaldo and Messi dominate the top spots, the race for third place is heating up, with Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema making their mark.
Uefa Champions League Top Scorers All Time
Ronaldo, a true goal-scoring machine, has found the back of the net for three different clubs throughout his illustrious career.
From his early days at Manchester United to his success at Real Madrid and Juventus, Ronaldo has amassed a staggering 140 Champions League goals.
His ability to perform at the highest level consistently is a testament to his incredible talent and work ethic.
Messi, the Argentine magician on the other hand, has been a force to be reckoned with for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
With his mesmerizing skills and unrivaled vision, Messi has netted 129 goals in the Champions League.
His ability to create chances for himself and his teammates sets him apart, making him one of the greatest players of all time.
The Evolution of the Competition
The Champions League has evolved significantly since its inception in 1992/93. The modern format includes a group stage, allowing for more matches and more opportunities for goal-scoring.
In contrast, the earlier European Champion Clubs’ Cup had a knockout format, which meant fewer games for players to showcase their scoring prowess.
Alfredo Di Stéfano: A Legend of the Past
Before the Champions League era, Alfredo Di Stéfano was the standout goal-scorer in the European Champion Clubs’ Cup.
The Real Madrid legend struck 49 goals in just 58 appearances, boasting an impressive goals-per-game ratio that even the modern greats can’t match.
Di Stéfano’s achievements highlight the different eras of the competition and the challenges faced by players in the past.
Top 10 Uefa Champions League Goal Scorers All Time
Here we list the top 10 all-time highest scorers in the Champions League, ranked by their total number of goals scored in the competition.
10Andriy Shevchenko (UKR, Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea) (48 goals)
Andriy Shevchenko is one of the all-time top scorers of the Champions League, having scored 48 goals in 100 games throughout his career.
This makes him one of the most prolific strikers ever seen in Europe’s premier club competition.
The former Ukrainian international represented his country as well as Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan and Chelsea during his glittering career, scoring 15, 29 and 4 goals respectively for those sides.
Shevchenko’s impressive goal-to-appearance record of 0.48 shows just how deadly a striker he was, helping Milan win their sixth European title with a 3-0 victory over Italian rivals Juventus in 2003.
9Alfredo Di Stefano (49 goals)
Alfredo Di Stefano, one of the greatest footballers of all time, is also one of the Champions League’s all-time top scorers.
During his 58 UCL appearances with Real Madrid, he scored a staggering 49 goals, giving him a goal-to-appearance ratio of 0.84.
His impressive goal tally places him in the top 10 scorers list for the Champions League and helped him to win 5 European Cup titles.
He is also one of the few UCL all-time top scorers who participated in the first edition of the Champions League back in 1955.
8Thierry Henry (FRA, Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona) (50 goals)
Thierry Henry is widely considered one of the best players to ever suit up in a Champions League match. With 50 goals in 112 appearances, he stands at 8th on the all-time top scorer list.
Henry achieved his remarkable feat while playing for 3 different clubs in the UCL over a span of 15 years – Monaco (7 goals), Arsenal (35 goals), and Barcelona (8 goals).
He won the Champions League title with Barcelona in 2009 and was runner-up with Arsenal in 2006, becoming one of the few players to have seen both sides of winning and losing the competition.
7Thomas Müller (GER, Bayern München) (53 goals)
With a staggering 53 goals in the UEFA Champions League, Thomas Muller is one of the all-time top scorers of the tournament.
An incredibly versatile offensive player, Muller has demonstrated his ability to both create and score great goals over the years.
Bayern Munich’s most decorated player with 27 titles achieved, Muller helped steer his team to its historic treble in the 2019-20 season with a record-breaking 21 assists.
6Ruud van Nistelrooy (NED, PSV Eindhoven, Man Utd, Real Madrid) (56 goals)
Ruud Van Nistelrooy is a legendary Dutch footballer who is widely recognised as one of the top goal-scorers in Champions League history.
With an astonishing tally of 56 goals scored over 73 appearances, Van Nistelrooy’s goals-per-match ratio stands at 0.77 – the best among any other Dutch player in the UCL.
Representing three clubs during his career – PSV Eindhoven (8), Manchester United (35), and Real Madrid (13) – Van Nistelrooy’s incredible eye for goal will always remain an impressive and much-celebrated accomplishment.
5Raúl González (ESP, Real Madrid, Schalke)(71 goals)
Spanish football star Raul is renowned for his historic dominance of the Champions League.
Over a period spanning from 1995 to 2011, Raul scored a total of 71 goals in 142 appearances for Real Madrid and Schalke.
Raul was key in helping Real Madrid secure three Champions League titles during this period, and his goal-to-match ratio stands at a remarkable 0.5.
He will forever be remembered as one of the greatest European strikers of all time due to this incredible feat.
4Karim Benzema (FRA, Lyon, Real Madrid) (90 goals)
Karim Benzema is one of the highest-performing strikers in the world, proving himself time and again with Real Madrid during his championship years with Los Blancos.
Benzema is credited with 86 goals in 146 appearances in the Champions League, making him the fourth all-time top goal scorer.
He’s also scored 74 of those goals for Real Madrid and 12 for Lyon, delivering an astounding goal-to-match ratio of 0.59.
Throughout his career of playing football, Benzema has clinched five Champions League trophies from Real Madrid, three of which have been consecutive!
3Robert Lewandowski (POL, Dortmund, Bayern, Barca) (91 goals)
Robert Lewandowski is one of the most renowned strikers in the world and holds a special place in Bundesliga history.
His UCL performance further cemented his legacy, as he became the 3rd highest goal scorer in the Champions League All-Time with 91 goals in 111 appearances.
Splitting these numbers, we can see that the Polish superstar has scored an impressive 0.82 goals per match ratio.
Out of these 91 goals, he registered 69 for Bayern Munich, 17 playing for Borussia Dortmund, and 5 for Barcelona – firmly placing Lewandowski on the list of top 10 all-time scorers in the Champions League.
2Lionel Messi (ARG, Barcelona, PSG) (129 goals)
Lionel Messi is the second all-time top scorer in the Champions League, having scored 120 goals in 149 appearances for FC Barcelona and 9 goals in 12 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain.
The Argentinian legend has an impressive goal-to-match ratio of 0.8 and has been an instrumental force in helping Barcelona win four Champions League titles so far.
Messi’s incredible dribbling, play-making and goal-scoring skills make him one of the greatest players of all time, with his performance in the UCL proving just how special he is.
1Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Man Utd, Real Madrid, Juventus) (140 goals)
The greatest champion of the Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo, is also the all-time top scorer in the competition.
Ronaldo has scored an impressive 140 goals in 183 appearances in this prestigious tournament over an illustrious career that spanned four teams.
His remarkable scoring record of 0.77 goals per match has helped him to win the title a record five times, including four with Real Madrid and one with Manchester United.
The Portuguese legend’s individual accomplishments are truly remarkable and cement him as the best ever to participate in this prestigious tournament.
Champions League All Time Top Scorers – The Top 50
|1||Cristiano Ronaldo *|| Juventus|
|2||Lionel Messi *|| FC Barcelona|
|3||Robert Lewandowski *|| Borussia Dortmund|
|4||Karim Benzema *|| Real Madrid|
|5||Raúl|| FC Schalke 04|
|6||Ruud van Nistelrooy|| Real Madrid|
|7||Thomas Müller *||Bayern München||53|
|8||Thierry Henry|| FC Barcelona|
|9||Alfredo Di Stéfano||Real Madrid||49|
|10||Zlatan Ibrahimović|| Inter|
|Andriy Shevchenko|| AC Milan|
|Filippo Inzaghi|| Juventus|
|14||Didier Drogba|| Chelsea FC|
|Mo Salah *|| AS Roma|
|16||Neymar *|| FC Barcelona|
|17||Alessandro Del Piero||Juventus||42|
|18||Sergio Agüero|| FC Barcelona|
|19||Kylian Mbappé *|| AS Monaco|
|20||Ferenc Puskás|| Real Madrid|
|21||Édinson Cavani *|| Manchester United|
|Erling Haaland *|| Borussia Dortmund|
|23||Gerd Müller||Bayern München||34|
|24||Morientes|| Valencia CF|
|25||Arjen Robben|| Bayern München|
|26||Samuel Eto’o|| Inter|
|Antoine Griezmann *|| Real Sociedad|
|Kaká|| AC Milan|
|Wayne Rooney||Manchester United||30|
|31||Edin Džeko *|| VfL Wolfsburg|
|Patrick Kluivert|| FC Barcelona|
|Roy Makaay|| Bayern München|
Deportivo La Coruña
|David Trezeguet|| Juventus|
|35||Ryan Giggs||Manchester United||28|
|Jean-Pierre Papin|| Bayern München|
|37||Sadio Mané *|| Bayern München|
|Rivaldo|| AC Milan|
|Raheem Sterling *|| Chelsea FC|
|Luis Suárez *|| FC Barcelona|
|41||Mario Gómez|| VfB Stuttgart|
|42||Hernán Crespo|| Lazio Roma|
Parma Calcio 1913
|Robin van Persie|| Manchester United|
|45||Altafini Mazzola|| Juventus|
|Giovane Élber|| Bayern München|
|Gonzalo Higuaín|| Juventus|
|José Augusto||SL Benfica||24|
|Luís Figo|| Inter|
|Paul Scholes||Manchester United||24|
Wrapping Champions League All Time Top Scorers
As the Champions League continues to captivate football fans worldwide, supporters eagerly anticipate the next chapter in the careers of Lewandowski and Benzema, as they strive to etch their names in the history books of this prestigious competition.
This article was updated 3 weeks ago