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10 Best Strikers In Champions League History.

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

The Champions League has seen countless elite performances from some of the most talented footballers to have ever graced the sport.

The role of top-class strikers in particular has always held a special place in the competition with their ability to score amazing goals and create long-lasting memories.

Whether it be past icons who dominated the Champions League's early years or modern-day geniuses - there are those select forwards who have etched their names into Europe's football history books forever.

So who are the top 10 Champions League strikers of all time?

10. Zlatan Ibrahimović

Enigmatic Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović has had an illustrious European career. With

his towering physique, superb technical skills and audacious manner - Ibrahimović became a

force to be reckoned with on perhaps football’s grandest stage.

The Swede scored 48 goals in 124 European appearances, famed for his acrobatic finishes

and powerful strikes. His goal tally in the competition stands as a testament to his prowess

yet Ibrahimović never made a Champions League final appearance.

9. Andriy Shevchenko

Legendary Ukrainian forward Andriy Shevchenko was a clinical finisher with intelligent movement and exceptional goal-scoring ability. His time with AC Milan saw him excel in the competition where he led the Italian giants to victory in 2003.

His combination of technical finesse and instinctive positioning made him a nightmare for

even world-class defenders to handle. The Ukrainian made a century of appearances and

netted 48 times in Europe.

8. Alfredo Di Stefano

Iconic Argentine forward Alfredo Di Stefano made an everlasting imprint on the European

Cup. He played a pivotal role in Real Madrid's dominance of the competition, a driving force behind their five consecutive European Cup triumphs between 1956 and 1960.

His incredible goal-scoring prowess and exceptional football intelligence set him apart from many of his peers of the time. Di Stefano has the best games-to-goal ratio (0.84) in the history of European club football having scored 49 times in only 58 matches.

7. Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry scored 50 goals in the Champions League for three clubs including Arsenal,

Barcelona and Monaco. His 35 strikes with the Gunners makes him their highest-scoring

player in European Cup history.

Henry came close to victory in 2006 but Arsenal lost out to Barcelona. Yet he won the

competition in 2009 with Barcelona defeating Manchester United 2-0 in the Rome final. He

was a revelation in European football, using his immense power and lighting pace to torment

some of the game's finest defenders.

6. Ruud van Nistelrooy

Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy scored an impressive 56 goals overall in the Champions

League. No player has reached 50 European goals quicker than Van Nistelrooy who played

62 times in the competition.

He scored 35 goals in the Champions League for Manchester United which remains a club

record, ahead of Wayne Rooney (30) and Ryan Giggs (28). Despite being the competition’s

sixth-highest scorer of all-time, Van Nistelrooy never won the Champions League across the

eleven seasons he played.

5. Raul

Raúl is Real Madrid’s third highest-scoring player in Champions League history whilst his

overall tally of 71 goals is the fifth most of all players in the competition’s long legacy. He

was eventually overtaken by Messi and Ronaldo in 2014.

The Spaniard was the first Real player to reach 50 goals in Europe after the legendary Alfredo Di Stéfano. Raul's final season in the competition was played with German side FC Schalke across the 2010-11 season as a 33-year-old.

4. Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema has scored in the most consecutive Champions League seasons, finding

the net across all 18 campaigns he has played since debuting for Lyon in 2005. The French

striker claimed the Champions League top scorer award in 2021-22 having scored 15 goals

on the way to Real Madrid winning the title.

His 78 Champions League goals for Real Madrid place him second on Los Blancos' all-time

European top scorers list behind only Cristiano Ronaldo on 105. Benzema has an incredible

five Champions League titles to his name, winning his first in 2014 and claiming the fifth as

recently as 2022.

3. Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski has registered 91 times in the Champions League and is third on the

all-time top scorers' list. He netted 69 times for Bayern Munich following his arrival from

Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund. Lewandowski holds Bayern’s record for the most

goals in Europe ahead of Gerd Müller who scored 65 continental goals for the club.

He also holds the German side’s record for most goals in a single Champions League

season with 15 goals across the 2019-20 campaign on Bayern’s way to winning the

competition. Lewandowski became the first Polish player to finish as the top scorer in a

single season of European football.

2. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is the second-highest scorer in Champions League history with 129 goals. He

also holds the record for scoring the most goals for a single club, netting 120 times for

Barcelona and adding nine more strikes for Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain. Messi’s

record of registering against 40 different opponents is another one of his remarkable feat.

He shares the Champions League record for the most hat-tricks in the competition along

with Cristiano Ronaldo on eight. Messi also scored five goals in a single Champions League

match during Barcelona’s 7-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen. He has won the European Cup

on three occasions with the La Liga side in 2009, 2011 and most recently in 2015.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time leading scorer in Champions League history with 140 goals

in total. He amassed the tally with Manchester United (21), Real Madrid (105) and Juventus

(14). Impressively Ronaldo holds the record for most goals in a single Champions League

season, scoring 17 times for Real Madrid in 2013-14, as they went on to win the title by

defeating Atlético Madrid.

The Portuguese international has finished as the competition’s top scorer seven times which

is unsurprisingly another record across its nearly seventy-year history. Ronaldo has won the

Champions League five times, once with Manchester United in 2008 and on four further

occasions during his stay at Real Madrid.

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