The Champions League has featured some of the best goalscorers in history.
As the premier club competition in Europe and arguably the world, it is a stage that has been graced by countless icons of football.
Striking sensations such as Raul and Andriy Shevchenko dominated during the 1990s and 2000s, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have taken the art of scoring to a whole new level.
Goal takes a look at the all-time top scorers in the competition’s history, dating back to the inaugural European Cup in 1955.
Who is the all-time Champions League top scorer?
As you can see from our table below, Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer in the history of the Champions League (including the European Cup) and the Real Madrid star is closely followed by his arch-rival, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi .
There is a significant gulf between that pair and the rest, with Madrid icon Raul following in third place. Karim Benzema is the fourth best Champions League goalscorer of all time, while former Manchester United forward Ruud van Nistelrooy rounds out the top five, though Bayern star Robert Lewandowski is closing on him quickly.
Champions League/European Cup all-time top 20 goalscorers:
|Pos||Player||Goals||Appearances||Goals per game|
|5||Ruud van Nistelrooy||56||73||0.77|
|8||Alfredo di Stefano||49||58||0.84|
|15||Alessandro Del Piero||42||89||0.47|
*Correct as of October 22, 2019
**The list takes into consideration data from 1955-present
***Players in bold are still active
The composition of the all-time goalscorers list is mostly made up of players who are playing or played in the modern Champions League era (i.e. 1992 onwards) which has added more contintental games to the modern day calendar. Specifically, of the 20 players in the list above, 15 of them played from the mid 1990s on.
However, despite that, two players who played in the pre-Champions League era (when the tournament was known as the European Cup) still figure prominently, with former Real Madrid star Alfredo di Stefano and Benfica icon Eusebio featuring in and around the top 10.
Ferenc Puskas , who shone for Real Madrid in the 1950s and 1960s, is also in the top 20. Former Bayern Munich striker Gerd Muller is in the top 20 and no player comes remotely close to his phenomenal goals-per-game ratio of 0.95.
Puskas boasted a goal-to-game ratio of 0.85 and Di Stefano’s was 0.84, while Messi’s is currently 0.82, which is undoubtedly the best in the modern era.