The Champions League is considered to be the ultimate competition by many football fans around the world. Teams from each domestic league in Europe go head to head with the chance to win the title and prove themselves at the highest level.
It takes a special kind of team to win a domestic league title. The fixtures are constant and you have to maintain the best quality throughout a whole season. While this is an impressive achievement, winning the Champions League takes a different kind of energy.
Some of the most outstanding players in the world have carved out unique legacies in the Champions League, and in this article, we’re going to take a look at the all-time Champions League top goal scorers.
Cristiano Ronaldo is perhaps the most famous athlete in the world. He has the most Instagram followers of any sports star with an incredible tally of 359 million.
He has scored an amazing 137 goals in the Champions League for 4 different clubs. The majority of his goals in this competition came for Real Madrid, but he has also netted for such prestigious clubs as Manchester United and Juventus.
Ronaldo is currently back at Manchester United under manager (and former teammate) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. No doubt we will see many more spectacular goals from the Portuguese phenom.
This brings us to the second-highest goalscorer in the Champions League, and none other than Ronaldo’s closest rival, Lionel Messi.
One of the biggest footballing debates of the past decade has concerned Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. While there is no definitive answer on who is the best player in the world, they’ve both had unbelievably successful careers.
Messi comes in at second on the list of top Champions League goalscorers with 123, just 14 less than Ronaldo.
Messi is known around the world for his skilful playing style and earth-shattering talent for goal scoring. Since bursting onto the scene for Barcelona as a young man he has often been cited as the greatest player ever.
The Argentinian spent most of his career at Barcelona but has recently joined Paris Saint-Germain alongside former teammate Neymar.
Lewandowski is considered by some to be a less well-rounded player than the likes of Ronaldo and Messi but he is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent goalscorers to ever play the game.
With an amazing 78 goals in the Champions League, he’s one of those players that you can’t help but love. Every time he gets the ball, spectators rise from their seats in anticipation of yet another wonder goal.
He has been immensely successful in the Bundesliga, playing for both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. At the age of 33, some pundits have questioned how much longer Lewandowski will continue to perform. One thing is clear, he isn’t ready to stop scoring just yet.
Karim Benzema is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the world and this is no surprise when you look at his goal tally.
With 73 goals in the Champions League, he impressed the world playing for Lyon back in the 2008-09 season when he was among the top goalscorers in the group stage of the aforementioned competition.
In 2009 he signed for Real Madrid and became part of a squad known colloquially as “the second Galacticos”. His career has been colored by some of the most creative and prolific performances of all time, so it’s no wonder he cemented himself upon this list.
Now it’s time to take a look further back into footballing history as Raul Gonalez takes center stage. Playing for Real Madrid from 1994 until 2010, he is one of the most decorated players of all time.
Scoring hundreds of goals across multiple leagues, he is a Spanish footballing legend. He won three Champions League titles whilst playing for Real Madrid and even captained the club from 2003 until his retirement.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy was a player that scored so often and with such ease that Manchester United fans would often simply chant his name after he scored rather than cheering.
The Dutch footballer played for numerous clubs such as PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and Real Madrid, carving out an impressive legacy at each club.
Thierry Henry is one of the those players that every school child has imitated at one point or another. He lit up the world stage across two decades, scoring 50 goals in the Champions League.
He played for Monaco, Barcelona, and most famously Arsenal FC. He is widely regarded by Arsenal fans as one of their greatest ever players and a club legend.
Although Arsenal never managed to win a Champions League, they qualified and performed fairly well for several years with Thierry Henry in the team.
Müller is a legend of Bundesliga club Bayern Munich. At 32 years of age, he still has plenty of time to surpass the record of Thierry Henry and Ruud Van Nistelrooy in the Champions League.
Whether or not he achieves this feat remains to be seen, but he is the most decorated footballer in German history with an amazing 30 trophies. Based on this, the sky truly is the limit for Müller.
Ibrahimovich is known for being a larger than life character on and off the pitch. Unlike some players, he has the goals to back his attitude up.
Remarkably, he has never won the Champions League despite playing for AC Milan, Barcelona, Ajax, PSG, Juventus and Manchester United.
The first Ukrainian-born player to win the Champions League title, Shevchenko is a legend of the game with 48 goals in the competition.
Unfortunately for him, he is often remembered for missing a crucial penalty in the world-famous Istanbul Champions League final versus Liverpool.
So, that concludes our list of the top Champions League goalscorers of all time. Goals don’t mean everything, and each player has something different to offer, but when all is said and done there can be only one winner.