Champions League goal records: Most scored in a season, in a match, and all-time in UCL history

The UEFA Champions League is considered the world’s preeminent club tournament, and players can become legends with great performances in Europe’s top competition.

Since scoring goals is considered the most glamorous skill in football, those who find the back of the net consistently can earn legendary status in the game.

Today, talents like Erling Haaland the Kylian Mbappe look like they have what it takes to match the exploits of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have left their indelible mark on Europe’s elite tournament.

The Sporting News brings you the top names and numbers for the goalscoring legends of all-time in European play. The lists below combine goalscoring from both iterations of UEFA’s top competition: the European Cup (beginning in 1955) and the Champions League (since 1992/93).

MORE: Updated goalscoring leaders for 2022/23 Champions League season

Record for most Champions League goals in a season?

Cristiano Ronaldo holds the two greatest seasons in European club football history.

His record from the 2013/14 season still stands after nearly a decade, scoring 17 goals across 11 matches and 993 minutes as Real Madrid won the title during that campaign. Ronaldo scored in every single match he appeared in except one, going 73 goal-less minutes in the first leg of their semifinal match against Bayern. He started the Champions League with a hat-trick against Galatasaray to open group stage play, and added braces against FC Copenhagen, Juventus, Schalke (twice), and Bayern Munich.

He would nearly repeat that incredible feat just two seasons later, bagging 16 goals as Madrid yet again won the title in 2015/16. He scored hat-tricks against Shakhtar Donetsk and Wolfsburg, plus a four-goal stunner against Malmo in the group stage. That year, Ronaldo would manage ‘just’ five goals in the knockout stage, doing most of the work early on in a soft group stage. He was held off the scoresheet in the semifinals and final, but Madrid hoisted the trophy anyway.

Lionel Messi’s best season ranks him sixth, bagging 14 goals in the 2011/12 season as Barcelona reached the semifinals before falling to Chelsea. Others on the list from football’s earlier days include goal hawk Jose Altafini, German great Gerd ‘Der Bomber’ Muller, and Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas, for whom FIFA’s Goal of the Season award is named.

The most goals by a player for an English club in a single season of the tournament is Ruud van Nistelrooy who scored 12 for Manchester United in 2002/03. Erling Haaland has matched that mark this season with 12 of his own for Man City, needing one more in the final to surpass that mark.

Rank Player Club Season Goals
1. Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2013/14 17
2. Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2015/16 16
3. Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich 2019/20 15
  Karim Benzema Real Madrid 2021/22 15
  Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2017/18 15
6. Lionel Messi Barcelona 2011/12 14
  Jose Altafini AC Milan 1962/63 14
8. Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich 2021/22 13
9. Lionel Messi Barcelona 2018/19 12
  Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2016/17 12
  Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2012/13 12
  Mario Gomez Bayern Munich 2011/12 12
  Lionel Messi Barcelona 2010/11 12
  Ruud van Nistelrooy Man United 2002/03 12
  Gerd Muller Bayern Munich 1972/73 12
  Ferenc Puskas Real Madrid 1959/60 12
  Erling Haaland Man City 2022/23 12
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What is the record for most Champions League goals all-time?

With consistent goalscoring numbers in European play season after season, it’s no surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are atop the Champions League career goalscoring charts.

A wide gap exists below those two all-time greats and the duo chasing them: Robert Lewandowski (3rd) and Karim Benzema (4th).

The top non-active player is Raul with 71 goals, with Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy 15 goals behind him.

Champions League career goals as of April 11, 2023, only counts goals scored in group or knockout stages, excluding qualifying.

Rank Player Clubs Goals
1. Cristiano Ronaldo* Man United, Real Madrid, Juventus 140
2. Lionel Messi* Barcelona, PSG 129
3. Robert Lewandowski* Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich,
Barcelona
94
4. Karim Benzema* Olympique Lyon, Real Madrid 90
5. Raul Real Madrid, Schalke 71
6. Ruud van Nistelrooy PSV Eindhoven, Man United,
Real Madrid
56
7. Thomas Muller* Bayern Munich 54
8. Thierry Henry AS Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona 50
9. Alfredo Di Stefano Real Madrid 49
10 Zlatan Ibrahimovic Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan,
Barcelona, PSG
48
  Andriy Shevchenko Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea 48
  Kylian Mbappe* AS Monaco, PSG 48

* Active players

Who has the most Champions League hat-tricks?

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are both tied atop the Champions League hat-trick list, with twice as many as anyone else in the history of the competition save Robert Lewandowski, who’s just two behind.

Only four players in history have more than three hat-tricks in UEFA’s top competition, which makes the eight that Ronaldo and Messi each own that much more incredible.

Champions League hat-tricks as of April 16, 2024

Rank Player Clubs Hat-tricks
1. Cristiano Ronaldo* Man United, Real Madrid, Juventus 8
  Lionel Messi* Barcelona, PSG 8
3. Robert Lewandowski* Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona 6
4. Karim Benzema* Olympique Lyon, Real Madrid 4
5. Mario Gomez Stuttgart, Bayern Munich 3
  Neymar* Barcelona, PSG 3
  Filippo Inzaghi Juventus, AC Milan 3
  Luiz Adriano* Shakhtar Donetsk, AC Milan 3
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* Active player

Most goals scored in a Champions League match?

Nobody has ever scored more than five goals in a single Champions League or European Cup match, which has surprisingly been done 15 times in history, including five times in the Champions League era.

It’s only happened four times since the turn of the millennium, with Erling Haaland the latest to achieve the feat in 2023.

The only club to concede five Champions League goals by a single player twice is Cypriot side Omonia, which saw it happen both times in the 1970’s.

Players to score five goals in a Champions League match

Season Player Stage Club Opponent
2022/23 Erling Haaland Round of 16 Manchester City RB Leipzig
2014/15 Luiz Adriano Group Stage Shakhtar Donetsk BATE Borisov
2014/15 David Lafata 2nd Qualifying Round Sparta Prague Levadia Tallinn
2011/12 Lionel Messi Round of 16 Barcelona Bayer Leverkusen
1999/00 Mihails Miholaps 1st Qualifying Round Skonto Riga Jeunesse Esch
1979/80 Soren Lerby 2nd Round Ajax Omonia
1978/79 Claudio Sulser 1st Round Grasshoppers Valletta
1972/73 Gerd Muller 2nd Round Bayern Munich Omonia
1966/67 Paul van Himst 1st Round Anderlecht Haka
1965/66 Florian Albert Preliminary Round Ferencvaros Keflavik
1964/65 Nikola Kotov Preliminary Round Lokomotiv Sofia Malmo FF
1962/63 Ray Crawford Preliminary Round Ipswich Town Floriana
1962/63 Jose Altafini Preliminary Round AC Milan Union Luxembourg
1961/62 Bent Lofqvist Preliminary Round Boldklubben 1993 Spora
1959/60 Ove Olsson Preliminary Round Gothenburg Linfield

Fastest hat-trick in Champions League history?

Hat-tricks have been a coveted milestone for any goalscorer across European competition, but records have been shattered in the past few seasons.

In the 2021/22 competition, Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick against RB Salzburg in the second leg of their Round of 16 matchup just 23 minutes from the opening whistle, which still sits as the fastest hat-trick in the competition’s history.

However, the following year, Mohamed Salah carved out a piece of his own history. Coming off the bench in the 68th minute of Liverpool’s group stage match against Rangers at Ibrox, Salah scored a hat-trick in under seven minutes from the first goal to the third goal, marking the quickest hat-trick in Champions League history between goals scored.

MORE: Full review of fastest hat-tricks in Champions League history

Youngest goal scorer in Champions League history?

Teenage superstars are becoming more and more prominent in Europe’s top competition, as coaches embrace the idea that those who are good enough are old enough.

No top club has embraced that notion more than Barcelona, who have brought several young talents through the ranks of their world-famous La Masia academy to the senior team.

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The youngest-ever Champions League goal scorer from the group stage on is Ansu Fati, who in 2019 bagged his first-ever goal in Europe against Inter at the San Siro while just 17 years 40 days old. That goal made Fati the first-ever 16-year-old goal scorer in the Champions League, breaking a record that had been held since before Fati was born. Peter Ofori-Quaye’s goal for Olympiakos in the 1997 group stage gave him the record at the time, and stood for over 22 years.

However, one age-old record that remains intact is that of Wlodzimierz Lubanski who holds the mark for youngest-ever goal scorer in the history of the European Cup across any stage and any iteration of the competition. According to Transfermarkt, his goal in 1963 for Polish club Gornik Zabarze against Czech side FK Dukla Prague in the Round of 16 gave him a record that still stands today — 16 years, 263 days old at the time his goal was scored.

Barcelona also benefitted from the youngest-ever player to assist a Champions League goal, as Lamine Yamal assisted a Ferran Torres goal against Royal Antwerp in a group stage match, before his assist to Raphinha against PSG months later in the quarterfinal made him the youngest-ever assister in a knockout stage match.

The Catalan giants were also the beneficiaries when Bojan Krkic became the youngest-ever goal scorer in a Champions League knockout stage, putting Barca up 1-0 on Schalke in the first leg of their 2008 quarterfinal matchup. In fact, it was Krkic’s assist record that Yamal broke with his assist against Royal Antwerp as well.

Youngest Champions League goal scorers

Only counting group stage onwards in modern iteration of UEFA Champions League (since 1993).

Player Club Date Age
Ansu Fati Barcelona Dec. 10, 2019 at Inter 16 years, 283 days
George Ilenikhena Royal Antwerp Dec. 13, 2023 vs. Barcelona 17 years, 119 days
Antonio Nusa Club Brugge Sep. 13, 2022 vs. Porto 17 years, 149 days
Peter Ofori-Quaye Olympiakos Oct. 1, 1997 vs. Rosenborg 17 years, 194 days
Mateo Kovacic Dinamo Zagreb Dec. 1, 2011 vs. Lyon 17 years, 215 days

Youngest to assist a Champions League goal

Only counting group stage onwards in modern iteration of UEFA Champions League (since 1993).

Player Club Date Age
Lamine Yamal Barcelona Apr. 16, 2024 vs PSG 16 years, 283 days
Bojan Krkic Barcelona Nov. 27, 2007 at Lyon 17 years, 91 days

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