The UEFA Champions League gets underway on the 18th of February 2020 with many forwards looking to add to their goal-scoring records in Europe.
The statistics shown include goals scored in qualification matches.
Ibrahimovic – 49 goals
Ibrahimovic began his journey with Ajax Amsterdam. The Swede made his debut against Lyon at the age of 19 and scored two goals. He went on to play for some of Europe’s biggest clubs throughout his career, notably Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and A.C Milan. In 2012 he joined PSG and scored 20 goals in four Champions League campaigns. The 2013/14 season was his most prolific. Zlatan scored ten goals in only eight appearances for the French club.
Honourable mention: Alfredo Di Stefano
A footballing icon, Di Stefano scored 49 goals in 59 appearances for Real Madrid. He won five consecutive European cups with Los Blancos, the Argentine scoring in every final.
Filippo Inzaghi – 50 goals
The Italian striker played for Juventus and A.C Milan in the Champions League. He moved from Parma to Juve in 1997 and made the switch to rivals Milan in 2001.
He would spend the rest of his career with the
Rossoneri until he retired in 2012. His 50 goals came in only 85 appearances.
Thierry Henry – 51 goals
Henry came through Monaco’s youth system. He first appeared in Champions League in the 97-98 season and scored seven goals in nine appearances. In 1999 he joined Arsenal where he enjoyed the most successful goalscoring spell of his career.
In 2007 the Frenchman moved to Barcelona and
finally got his hands on his first Champions League trophy in 2009.
Andriy Shevchenko – 59 goals
The most decorated Ukrainian in modern football, Shevchenko first rose to prominence with his boyhood club, Dynamo Kyiv. In 1999 he moved to Italy to play for A.C Milan. He won the Champions League with Milan in 2003 and was a runner up in 2005.
He made the switch to Chelsea in 2006 but had little success in England. He returned to Kyiv in 2009 and scored his last goal in the competition against Ajax. In total, Shevchenko made 116 Champions League appearances.
Van Nistelrooy – 60 goals
The Dutch forward made his name at PSV Eindhoven. Sir Alex Ferguson was determined to sign him and in 2001 he moved to Manchester United. That season he netted ten goals in 14 games. Van Nistelrooy struggled with injuries which affected his playing time.
In 2006 he transferred to Real Madrid. He continued to score goals regularly for the Spanish giants. But recurring knee issues limited his playing time. He retired from football in 2012 at the age of 35.
Robert Lewandowski – 63 goals
Arguably the best striker in the world right now, the Polish forward rose to prominence under Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund. In the 2012/13 season, Lewandowski scored ten goals in 13 games. A year later he transferred to Dortmund’s bitter rivals, Bayern Munich.
Over the past six years, he has become one of
the most consistent strikers in the world. This season he has scored ten goals
in only 5 Champions League outings.
Karim Benzema – 64 goals
Benzema is a French attacker of Algerian
heritage. He turned heads when he first appeared for Lyon in 2005. His
undeniable talent earned him a move to Madrid in 2009. His highest scoring
season was in 2011/12. He scored seven Champions League goals that year.
He has won four UCL titles with Los Blancos. So far, Benzema has scored four goals in six games this campaign. If he continues in the same scoring vein, it may be his most prolific season yet.
Gonzalez – 71 goals
The legendary Spanish forward began his professional career with Real Madrid in 1994. He won three Champions League trophies while at the Bernabeu. He was made captain in 2003. After years of success in Madrid Raul moved to Germany in 2010 to play for Schalke 04.
In 2011 Schalke reached the semi-final of the
UCL. Raul played a big part in the German club’s most successful season. He
went on to play in Qatar and the United States before retiring in 2015.
Lionel Messi -114 goals
Widely regarded as the most gifted player to grace a football pitch. A one-club man. The Argentine made his Champions League debut for Barcelona in 2004. The following year he won his first UCL title. Messi won his second in 2009 and contributed nine goals during that campaign. In the 2010/11 season, he scored 12 goals in 13 games, claiming his third Champions League.
The fourth came in 2015, with Messi displaying consistent brilliance. He will be hoping to add a fifth UCL to his cabinet this year, that would tie him number one in this list in terms of UCL trophies lifted.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 129 goals
The Portuguese phenomenon caught the attention
of many tops clubs during his early days at Sporting Lisbon. Sir Alex Ferguson
was determined to bring him to Old Trafford. He signed for Man United in 2003.
He won his first UCL with United in 2008. In 2009 he joined Real Madrid for 94
million Euros, a world record transfer fee at the time.
He went on to win the Champions League four
times with Madrid. He also became Real’s all-time top scorer. In 2018 he moved
to Italy to play for Juventus. At the age of 34, Ronaldo has shown no signs of
slowing down and continues to amaze footballing fans around the world.