Top 10 Champions League All Time Goalscorers

Cristiano Ronaldo Playing for Juventus Fc

In the latest round of Champions League football, Manchester City’s superstar striker Erling Haaland fired himself into the top 20 all-time goalscorers in the tournament (including its predecessor, the European Cup). Also, England star (and new Bayern Munich talisman) Harry Kane became only the third Englishman to score 25 Champions League goals (after Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling). But which players make up the top 10 all-time goalscorers in Europe’s elite club competition?

In this article, we’ll run through the top 10 goalscorers, covering both the Champions League and the European Cup (that began in the 1955/56 season). Then we’ll delve a little deeper into the top five and find out what other goalscoring records they set on Europe’s grandest stage.

All-time Top 10 Champions League/European Cup Goalscorers

Player Goals Games Years Playing Club(s)
Cristiano Ronaldo 140 183 2003 to 2022 Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus
Lionel Messi 129 163 2003 to 2023 Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain
Robert Lewandowski 92 114 2011 to present Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona
Karim Benzema 90 152 2005 to 2023 Lyon, Real Madrid
Raúl 71 142 1995 to 2011 Real Madrid, Schalke
Ruud van Nistelrooy 56 73 1998 to 2009 PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid
Thomas Müller 53 145 2009 to present Bayern Munich
Thierry Henry 50 112 1997 to 2012 Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona
Alfredo Di Stéfano 49 58 1955 to 1964 Real Madrid
Andriy Shevchenko 48 100 1994 to 2012 Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea
Zlatan Ibrahimović 48 124 2001 to 2021 Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United

Note that Andriy Shevchenko and Zlatan Ibrahimović are in joint-10th position in the all-time list.

There are no real surprises to see two of football’s all-time greats at the top of the list, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi being the only two players to have netted more than 100 goals in the Champions League. They have very similar goals-to-game ratios (0.77 for Ronaldo and 0.79 for Messi), but both are behind Robert Lewandowski (0.81 at the time of writing) and the Real Madrid legend, Alfredo Di Stefano (0.84).

Only one player in the top 20 can better Di Stefano’s ratio… you’ve guessed it, Man City’s Erling Haaland. At the time of writing, the Norwegian ace has an astounding goals-to-game ratio of 1.15, and if he keeps going like that it won’t be long before he ascends into the top 10! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. There’s a long way to go for Haaland to get near the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, so let’s take a closer look at their Champions League goal-getting exploits, along with the other three players in the top five.

Cristiano Ronaldo – 140 Goals in 183 Games (0.77 Goals Per Game)

Arguably the greatest player in the history of the game (although the man directly below him in the table might have something to say about that), Cristiano Ronaldo was a goal machine in the Champions League. Banging in plenty of (often crucial) goals for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, CR7 also tops the all-time list for the number of Champions League appearances.

The Portuguese legend was the top scorer in the Champions League for six seasons in a row (from 2012/13 to 2017/18) and also the top scorer earlier on in his career (2007/08). He holds the top two positions for the most Champions League goals in a season (17 in 2013/14 and 16 in 2015/16) and is also joint third, just for good measure (with 15 goals in 2017/18). He’s the only player to score three hat-tricks in the competition in a single season (2015/16) and shares the record for the total number of Champions League hat-tricks with Messi (with eight apiece). He holds numerous other records in the competition too, but let’s leave it there or it might just go to this head!

Lionel Messi – 129 Goals in 163 Games (0.79 Goals Per Game)

Lionel Messi certainly has valid claims as being the best footballer ever, though most objective pundits would put him just behind Ronaldo. Certainly, when it comes to Champions League goalscoring exploits, the Argentine great has to play second fiddle to his rival.

Having said that, Messi does hold a good number of Champions League records. As well as the aforementioned joint record for the most hat-tricks, Messi has scored more home goals in the tournament than any other player (78) and the most for any single club (120 for Barca). He’s also scored more than anyone else in the Group Stage (80) and the Round of 16 (29), and he’s one of just three players to have scored five goals in a Champions League match (excluding preliminary rounds), although 10 players achieved that feat in the pre-Champions League-era European Cup.

Robert Lewandowski – 92 Goals in 113 Games (0.81 Goals Per Game)

Robert Lewandowski is one of only two players in the current top 10 who is still playing in Europe (along with Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller), but we can’t realistically see him challenging the top two. He does have a reasonable chance of making it to 100 Champions League goals, although he’s 35 now so he might not have many more seasons left to achieve that milestone.

Lewandowski scored the majority of his CL goals for Bayern (69 in 78 games), including the 15 he scored in the tournament in the 2019/20 season (the joint-third-best total in a single season). He holds the record for the fastest hat-trick in a CL game (from the start of the match) and he’s the only player to have scored hat-trick for three different sides in the competition.

Karim Benzema – 90 Goals in 152 Games (0.59 Goals Per Game)

Like Ronaldo, Karim Benzema has left Europe for the green grass of Saudi Arabia! Before that, though, he was a regular scorer in the Champions League, first for Lyon (for whom he scored 12 goals in 19 games) and then, more famously, Real Madrid (78 goals in 133 games). He’s the oldest player to have scored a hat-trick in the tournament, getting a triple against Chelsea in 2022 at the age of 34 years and 108 days. He is also one of just two players (along with Ronaldo) to have scored 10 goals in the knockout phase of the competition in a single season (in 2021/22), the season in which he notched a total of 15, the joint-third-highest number in a single campaign.

Raúl – 71 Goals in 142 Games (0.5 Goals Per Game)

Spanish great Raúl completes our top five, and though he’s long since retired, he made his mark on the competition early in his career and still holds the record as the youngest player to have scored a Champions League hat-trick (aged just 18 years and 114 days). He was also the first player to make it to 100 Champions League appearances, all of those having been while playing for Real Madrid (though he later appeared – and scored – for Schalke in the tournament).

10 Best Real Madrid Players of all Time

Cristiano Ronaldo

Jude Bellingham recently scored the winning goal for Real Madrid in their Champions League game away at Braga. That strike took his tally for Los Blancos to 11 goals in 12 games, with three assists as well. He became just the third Madrid player ever to score in his first three Champions League appearances for the club too, and has made adream start to his career in the Spanish capital.

There is every chance that Bellingham will go on to write his name into the club’s history and become a true legend of the most successful football team in the world. However, for now, it remains too early to elevate him to the status of club legend, especially given just how many true stars Real have been graced with over the years. Here is our list of the 10 greatest ever players to play for Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo
Student News Agency, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ronaldo is viewed as the greatest player of all time by some and is undoubtedly in the top two of the last 40 years or so. You would struggle to find any expert that places him outside the top 10 footballers of all time and so he is a shoo-in for this list. A club record 450 goals certainly helps his case, those strikes including 44 hat-tricks, another Real record.

No player has scored more goals for the club in Champions League finals either, though, as we shall see, others have registered more in the pre-1992 era. He also helped the club to win the UCL four times and whilst “just” two La Liga titles may be a disappointment, his time at the club was littered with silverware and goals.

Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema
Real Madrid, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sticking with the modern era for now, French forward Karim Benzema has to go down as one of the finest Real Madrid players ever. He won far more with the club than even Ronaldo, claiming an incredible five Champions Leagues, plus four La Liga titles. He is second only to Ronaldo in terms of goals for Los Blancos (354) but leads the way when it comes to assists, with 165. He won the Ballon d’Or in 2022 and was the UCL Player of the Season for 2021/22. With almost 650 appearances for Real he makes the top five on that metric and is undoubtedly one of Real’s 10 greatest players.

Alfredo Di Stefano

Alfredo Di Stefano
Wim van Rossem for Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, Real were a great side long before the days of the CL and Ronaldo, and fourth on their list of top scorers is Argentine-Spaniard Alfredo Di Stefano. Di Stefano was a key player in the team of the 1950s and 1960s that dominated Spanish and European football. He helped Madrid to eight domestic titles and five European Cups, bagging seven goals in finals of that competition, scoring in a record five different finals.

Ferenc Puskas

Ferenc Puskas
Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Puskas jointly holds the record for most goals in European Cup finals with Di Stefano, though he bagged four in 1960 and three in 1962. The Hungarian legend (84 goals in 85 games for the nation of his birth), who also played for Spain four times, won “just” the three European Cups and helped Real to five consecutive Liga titles between 1961 and 1965. He is the club’s oldest player post WWII, sixth in terms of all-time goalscorers and was a revolutionary footballer who was named player of the tournament at the 1954 World Cup.

Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas
Web Summit, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Casillas is different to the players already mentioned in that he was not an attacking player but is the club’s greatest ever goalkeeper. Only one man has played for Real Madrid more times but nobody has played in Europe more, Casillas making 157 appearances in UEFA competitions for his side. With 725 outings for Madrid and a massive 264 clean sheets, his 17-year association with the club makes the 167-capped Spain international an automatic inclusion for this top 10.


DerHans04, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Raul is the only player to have turned out for Los Blancos more times that Casillas and indeed the pair played together hundreds of times during the striker’s 741 games for Real. He netted over 300 goals for his home-town side, earning six league titles and three UCL along the way. The third-highest Real goalscorer is another obvious pick for this list.

Paco Gento

Paco Gento
See page for author, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL, via Wikimedia Commons

Returning to Madrid’s first golden era we have club icon Paco Gento, who died in 2022 at the age of 88 having been the Honorary President of Real in his later years. Gento is one of Spain’s finest ever players and his 600 appearances for Real, plus 183 goals, mean he is very much worthy of being included as one of their finest 10 players ever. The fact he helped them win a staggering 12 Liga titles and six European Cups also rather helps his case!

Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos
Real Madrid, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ramos is fourth in terms of appearances for Real, having played 671 times and helping the club to five league titles and four UCLs. A true leader, he was a rugged, immoveable rock at the heart of Madrid’s defence for 17 years. He won the Euros twice and the World Cup whilst a Real player and his 101 gals for the club is an incredible tally for a centre back, and played a huge part in the many trophies Los Blancos won during his time in the Spanish capital.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane
Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Zidane may be controversial selection given how many legends there are to choose from but how can we not include a man who helped them win four Champions League titles? His goal in the 2002 final is one of the best the competition has ever seen and proved to be the winner. He only spent five seasons as a player at the Bernabeu and they were not trophy-packed, but he returned as a manager and against the odds won the UCL three years running.

Fernando Hierro

Fernando Hierro
Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Like a number of players on this list Fernando Hierro captained Real Madrid and whilst he is fondly remembered in Bolton where he spent one season in the PL. He is a true legend for Los Blancos. Hierro played over 600 games for the club, putting him sixth in terms of appearances, and also bagged an impressive 127 goals, largely from defence. Those goals helped Madrid land five Liga titles and three UCLs during his time at the club and he eases into the top 10 Real players of all time.

Francis Lee’s Stats & Honours – Farewell to a Man City Legend

Man City Stadium

Manchester City have had plenty of fantastic players in the modern era. But in early October 2023, the club said farewell to one of their all-time greats, Francis Lee.

Unfortunately, the former Bolton Wanderers, Man City, Derby County and England forward lost his long battle with cancer at the age of 79. However, “Franny” will be remembered fondly by fans of his three clubs, England supporters and many a neutral who witnessed his goalscoring prowess and the unapologetic swagger with which he played.

Let’s take a closer look at Lee’s career that began back in 1960 when he made his debut for Bolton Wanderers at the age of 16.

Francis Lee’s Career in Numbers

Team Dates Games Goals Honours
Bolton Wanderers 1959-1967 210 106 None
Manchester City 1967-1974 330 148 First Division Title (1967/68)
FA Cup (1968/69)
League Cup (1969/70)
Charity Shield (1968, 1972)
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (1969/70)
Derby County 1974-1976 80 30 First Division Title (1974/75)
Charity Shield (1975)
England 1968-1972 27 10 None
Total 647 294

Bolton Wanderers – Learning from a Legend

bolton wanderers logoLee made his debut for Bolton aged 16 in November 1960 against a side he would come to know and love: Manchester City. He scored in the match, as did his strike partner on the day, 35-year-old Bolton and England legend Nat Lofthouse. Lee was still an amateur at the time and didn’t turn pro until May 1961, but he soon earned his paycheque as he was the club’s top scorer in four of the next five seasons.

His goalscoring exploits attracted the attention of many other clubs, with Matt Busby at Man United and Bill Shankly at Liverpool both reportedly interested in signing Lee. But it was Joe Mercer’s Manchester City who got their man for a club-record fee of £60,000 in September 1967 – roughly what Kevin De Bruyne earns in a day now!

Man City – Sustained Success at City

manchester city logoThe move to City worked brilliantly for both Lee and his new club as he slotted seamlessly into the team that contained stars including Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Neil Young. In his first season at the club, Lee scored 17 goals (including 16 in 31 league matches) and City won their first top-flight title since 1936/37, then only the second in the club’s history.

The silverware continued to flow the following year as City took the Charity Shield and the FA Cup, then in 1969/70 the Citizens added the League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup. City couldn’t mount another effective challenge for the First Division title but Lee continued to hammer in plenty of goals and provide no shortage of assists too.

He was the top scorer for City in four of his seasons at the club, including when he bagged a very impressive total of 35 in 1971/72… with a record 15 of them coming from the penalty spot! He also set a record for the most goals in Manchester derbies (10) that stood until Wayne Rooney edged past it in 2013.

Derby County – Another Team, Another Title

derby county logoLee moved on from Man City to join Dave Mackay’s Derby County in 1974. The club had won the First Division title under former boss Brian Clough and now Mackay was hoping to emulate that success… and for Franny Lee to help him do it. Lee was brought in to bolster what was already an impressive attacking line-up that included Kevin Hector, Bruce Rioch and Roger Davies. Lee didn’t quite hit the scoring heights he’d achieved at City, but he netted 12 league goals in 34 appearances, including one or two crucial strikes, and Derby clinched the title by two points from Liverpool.

Although he will be mostly remembered for his goals, Lee was involved in an incident that will be remembered for as long as many (perhaps any) of his goals. The incident in question was essentially a full-on fistfight with Leeds United hardman Norman Hunter in 1975. Given Hunter was almost four inches taller than Lee (and also had the ominous nickname “Bites Yer Legs”), Lee certainly showed his courage when he went toe-to-toe with the Leeds brawler.


England Football LogoHad Lee developed his scoring skills just a little sooner, he might have been involved in England’s 1966 campaign. To be fair, though, Al Ramsay’s men did pretty well without him. As it was, Lee made his England debut a couple of years later in 1968 against Bulgaria in a friendly match. He scored his first of 10 goals for his country in his next game in a one-sided 5-0 thrashing of France. (How the modern-day England team would love a result like that!)

Although he missed out on the 1966 tournament, Lee was in the England squad in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. He played in three games but couldn’t find the back of the net. He did become the first England player to receive a yellow card at a World Cup (FIFA had only just introduced them), but he would have happily forgotten that “honour”. Unfortunately for Lee and England, the Three Lions couldn’t capitalise on their 2-0 lead against West Germany in the quarter-finals and ended up losing 3-2!

Lee scored in his next three England games after the 1970 World Cup and then – after a mini-drought by his high standards – he scored in his final match for England, a 3-1 defeat to West Germany in a Euro 1972 qualifying match.

Post-Football Business Career

After retiring from the game, Lee became a successful businessman and created a toilet roll manufacturer (that reportedly once employed the comedian Peter Kay!). After making a few quid, Lee gained enough clout to become the Man City chairman in 1994… but things didn’t go quite to plan and on the pitch, the team couldn’t live up to Lee’s ambitions.

Of course, Lee will be best remembered for his playing days and his many, brilliant goals… including this classic that he scored for Derby against his old club Man City (and that has become immortalised almost as much for Barry Davies’s commentary as the strike itself):