The 2021-22 UEFA Champions League journey ended earlier than expected for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The renowned superstars, who used to take the spotlight in every Ballon d'Or ceremony the past decade, now see how Karim Benzema continuously steals the show in Europe.

For the second year in a row, Messi and Ronaldo failed to get past the last 16 of the continental tournament. While Manchester United were knocked out by Atletico Madrid, Benzema led an epic comeback to help Real Madrid upset PSG.

The Frenchman not only has destroyed Paris Saint-Germain's aspirations, but he is also on pace to make Champions League history by breaking Messi and Ronaldo's goalscoring records in the knockout stage of the competition.

Benzema is just a few goals away from breaking Messi and Ronaldo's UCL records

Far from satisfied with his memorable hat-trick against Mauricio Pochettino's men in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16, Benzema bagged another treble against Chelsea in the first game of the series. In the second leg, he once again came up clutch to give Madrid the edge in extra time.

With nine goals to his name, the 34-year-old striker has surpased Lionel Messi's highest goalscoring production in a Champions knockout phase and is just one shy of Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Messi's most prolific participation in this stage of the competition came in 2011-12, when he scored eight times before Barcelona lost in the semifinals to Chelsea. Meanwhile, Ronaldo's best scoring record came in the 2016-17, when he netted 10 goals after putting five past Bayern in the quarterfinals, recording a hat-trick vs Atleti in the semis and then a brace against Juventus in the grand final.

It remains to be seen whether Benzema ultimately surpasses any of these records, but it looks like he will have two or three games to do so, unless Real Madrid's fall short in their trip to the final.