Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi lead the way for Champions League goals, but the race for third is hotting up. Ronaldo has netted for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, with Messi on target for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

First contested in 1992/93, the UEFA Champions League has become synonymous with the very best strikers in world football history, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema able to rack up stellar goal tallies.

Ronaldo and Messi are the only players to date to score over 100 goals in the competition, and like the remaining players in the all-time European Cup/Champions League top ten, neither featured in the competition when it was still the European Champion Clubs’ Cup.

That competition, first launched in 1955/56, was knockout ties all the way, the lack of a group stage meaning players had fewer matches per season in which to score. Real Madrid contested just seven games as they won the inaugural edition, compared to 13 en route to UEFA Champions League victory in 2021/22.

The all-time European Champion Clubs’ Cup top scorer, Alfredo Di Stéfano, struck 49 goals in just 58 appearances in the competition, a goals-per-game rate that none of the modern greats can match.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer of all time in the Champions League and UEFA club competition as well as the most prolific in the history of senior international football.

He was not initially an out-and-out striker, and did not score until his 27th Champions League game during his first spell at Manchester United. However, after switching from the wing to a central striking role, the Portuguese great started to find the net with frightening regularity, continuing to rack up big numbers after leaving Old Trafford for Real Madrid.

On 18 April 2017, he became the first player to reach 100 goals in the Champions League, bringing up his century with a hat-trick against Bayern in his 137th appearance.

Ronaldo has won the competition once with United and four times with Real Madrid, and is the only player to date to have scored in three Champions League finals. Like Messi, he has scored eight Champions League hat-tricks.

All-time UEFA Champions League top scorers (excluding qualifying)
140: Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus)
126: Lionel Messi (ARG, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain)*
89: Robert Lewandowski (POL, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern München, Barcelona)*
86: Karim Benzema (FRA, Lyon, Real Madrid)*
71: Raúl González (ESP, Real Madrid, Schalke)
56: Ruud van Nistelrooy (NED, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid)
52: Thomas Müller (GER, Bayern München)*50: Thierry Henry (FRA, Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona)
48: Zlatan Ibrahimović (SWE, Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United)*
48: Andriy Shevchenko (UKR, Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea)
46: Filippo Inzaghi (ITA, Juventus, AC Milan)
* Includes 2022/23