Every year, UEFA host a tournament called the UEFA Champions League. The finest European soccer teams compete in this competition, making it one of the most watched sporting events on the planet.
22 different teams from 10 different nations have won the European Cup/Champions League at least once. Among European clubs, those from Spain have the most triumphs (19), followed by those from England (14) and Italy (12 wins). In addition, five different English clubs have taken home the trophy.
Numerous all-time greats have made appearances, scored goals, or won the European Cup/Champions League championship. Who, then, has scored the most goals in the history of the UEFA Champions League? It's time to begin the final countdown.
20. Edinson Cavani – 35 goals
Cavani began his career at Danubio in Uruguay. He was shortly noticed by Palermo, and they snatched him in 2007. There he introduced himself to Serie A with 37 goals in 117 total games.
Soon after, he moved to Napoli but his stay ended after only two seasons, as he was offloaded to Paris Saint-Germain in 2013. Cavani went on to become PSG’s all-time top goalscorer with 200 total goals. The veteran scored five times for Napoli in the UCL, and 30 for the French side. He is currently a free agent.
=18. Ferenc Puskas – 36 goals
Pukas is acknowledged and remembered as one of the best athletes of all time and the first foreign celebrity sportsman. He started his soccer career at Budapest Honved, netting 358 goals in 350 appearances. It earned him the move to Real Madrid in 1958.
At Real Madrid, he was a complete superstar, as he made 223 total appearances for the club and scored 195 goals. Pukas retired from soccer in 1966. He died on November 17, 2006, at the age of 79. He scored only one goal for Honved in the European Cup/Champions League, and 34 for the Whites.
=18. Mohamed Salah - 36 goals
Mohamed Salah, who was once written off as a bust at Chelsea, is now widely regarded as one of the game's elite talents. Altogether, Salah has managed to win the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, Club World Cup, Swiss League, and UEFA Super Cup with seven different teams.
The Egyptian King has registered 33 UCL goals for Liverpool, in addition to the two for Basel, and the sole one for Roma. He failed to find the net despite appearing twice for Chelsea in the Champions League.
=16. Neymar – 41 goals
Neymar is the top Brazilian goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League with 41 netted goals. The forward made his name in the early 2010s while playing for Santos in his homeland. He managed to play 134 times and score 70 goals for Santos.
Thanks to his impressive performances, he earned a move to Barcelona in 2013. He stayed at Barca for five years, netting a total of 105 times in 186 appearances for the Spanish giant. The 30-year-old holds the record for the most expensive transfer ever at €222m. 21 of the 41 goals he has scored for Barcelona, while the remaining 20 for PSG.
=16. Sergio Aguero – 41 goals
Aguero began his senior career in 2003 at Independiente in Argentina. He moved to Atletico Madrid in 2006, where he began to gain immediate popularity thanks to his immense performances. Aguero managed to net a total of 100 goals on 230 occasions when playing for Atletico, before leaving in 2011.
Ever since, he played an integral part at Manchester City, becoming the Citizens’ all-time leading goalscorer with 255 goals in 372 games so far. Aguero counted until 41 in the UEFA Champions League, five of which he made in the Atletico Madrid jersey. He was forced to retire from soccer at the age of 33 while playing for Barcelona due to heart problems.
15. Alessandro Del Piero – 42 goals
Alessandro Del Piero got introduced to the world of soccer by Padova in 1991. It wasn’t long before Juventus noticed him and secured his signature. He stayed in Turin for impressive 19 years, while making 706 total appearances for the Bianconeri and scoring 290 goals.
After leaving Juve in 2014, he featured for Sydney FC for two seasons, before retiring at Delhi Dynamos in 2015. Del Piero managed 24 goals in 48 outings for Sydney and only one goal in 10 games for the Dynamos. He scored all his goals while playing for Juventus.
14. Didier Drogba – 44 goals
Before even dreaming of becoming a Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba featured for Le Mans, Guingamp, and Marseille in the French Ligue 1. He scored 14 goals at Le Mans, adding further another 23 for Guingamp, and finally exploding with 32 goals for Marseille. In 2004, he made his dream move to Chelsea.
Droga stayed at Stamford Bridge for 12 years, making history with the club and winning many individual awards. Drogba played 381 matches for Chelsea and scored 164 total goals. He scored five goals for Marseille in the UCL, three while playing for Galatasaray, and 36 in the Blues jersey.
=12. Filippo Inzaghi – 46 goals
Filippo Inzaghi began his successful soccer career at Piacenza, where the then-youngster spent two seasons on loan at AlbinoLeffe, and Hellas Verona. Parma snatched the striker in 1995 and the rest is history. He made 22 appearances for Parma and scored 4 goals, before moving to Atalanta in 1996. His stay was short-lived as he moved to Juventus after only one season.
Inzaghi appeared in 165 games for Juventus, scoring 89 goals in all competitions. Then, in 2001, he moved to their arch-rivals Milan. He stayed there until his retirement in 2012. He marked 300 appearances for Milan and scored 126 goals, 29 of which were in the Champions League. The remaining 17 are from his time at Juventus.
=12. Eusebio – 46 goals
Eusebio began his career in Portugal, playing for Sporting Lourenco Marques but it was at Benfica where he left a deep mark. The striker netted a total of 77 goals in 42 games for Sporting during his three-year stay from 1957 to 1960. Then in 1960, he moved to Benfica and stayed there for stunning 15 years, until 1975.
Eusebio marked his name on the scoresheet 317 times in 301 games for the Eagles. He continued his career at Boston Minutemen, Monterrey, Toronto Metros-Croatia, Beira-Mar, Las Vegas Quicksilvers, Uniao de Tomar, New Jersey Americans, and Buffalo Stallions. He scored all his UCL goals for Benfica.
=10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 48 goals
Ibrahimovic is considered the best Swedish player to ever play soccer. He began his career at Malmo, scoring 16 goals in 40 games from 1999 to 2001. He then moved to Ajax, where he made 110 appearances and added 48 goals. Those impressive stats led him to join Juventus, where he spent the next two seasons.
After Juventus came Inter, Barcelona, Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, and LA Galaxy. Milan is the only club in his career where he has returned to play for the second time. Zlatan has scored six UCL goals for Ajax and Inter, three for Juventus, four for Barca, nine from his time at Milan, and 20 while at PSG.
=10. Andriy Shevchenko – 48 goals
Throughout his days at home club Dynamo Kyiv, Andriy Shevchenko made his name as a great finisher when he scored 8 goals in nine games for the Ukrainian side as a youngster. After his brilliant performances for Dynamo Kyiv, he was soon snapped up by Milan and went on to become a club hero.
In 2003, when Milan overcame rivals Juventus on penalties to earn his first Champions League winners' trophy, he also won the Champions League. The Ukrainian footballer of the year has won six times, too. With Dynamo Kyiv (15), Milan (29), and Chelsea (4), the Ukrainian netted 48 goals.
9. Alfredo Di Stefano – 49 goals
Alfredo Di Stefano worked his way to number eight on the list of Champions League’s all-time top goalscorers with 49 goals scored during his tenure at Real Madrid. He was first noticed by River Plate, as he went on to play for Huracan on loan, and Milionarios.
From 1955 to 1964, he played for Real Madrid. He was part of the squad that won Real Madrid's first five European cups and managed to score in all five finals, building a reputation as one of the greatest players ever to play the game. He scored all of his goals in the Whites jersey.
8. Thierry Henry – 50 goals
Henry has 50 goals split between Monaco, Arsenal, and Barcelona. But not everything was always going well for the Frenchman, as he had a failed adventure at Juventus in 1999. After that, he joined Arsenal and soon after, he became the Gunners’ top goalscorer of all-time with 229 goals in 376 games.
In 2007, he left the club to join Barcelona. There he made 121 appearances and scored 49 goals in all competitions. After his brief spell with Barcelona, he moved to the MLS, featuring for the New York Red Bulls before subsequently hanging up his boots. He scored seven goals in the UCL for Monaco, eight for Barca, and 35 for Arsenal.
7. Thomas Muller – 52 goals
Thomas Muller is a product of Bayern’s youth academy. After playing 35 games and scoring 16 goals for Bayern II, he emerged into the first team in 2008. But it wasn’t before the 2009-10 season when he made his breakthrough.
So far, he has netted on a total of 228 occasions in 627 games. He has helped the team win 11 Bundesliga titles and two UEFA Champions League trophies. He has scored all of his 52 UCL goals for Bayern.
6. Ruud van Nistelrooy – 56 goals
Ruud van Nistelrooy was impeccable in his days, mostly in the early to late 2000s. He started off in the Eredivise with Den Bosch, before moving to fellow side Heerenveen. It didn’t take long before PSV Eindhoven noticed him and added the Dutch striker to their ranks in 1998.
From there, he moved to Manchester United in 2001, and he stayed for five seasons. Van Nistelrooy netted 150 times in 219 games for the Old Trafford outfit. He went on to play for Real Madrid from 2006 to 2010, making 96 appearances and scoring 64 goals. Out of 56 goals, he scored eight for PSV, 35 for United, and 13 for Madrid.
5. Raul – 71 goals
The third UEFA Champions League’s all-time top goalscorer is Raul. He is one of the best Real Madrid stars in the history of the club. Real Madrid's second all-time top goalscorer began plummetting on the list after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi smashed his record in 2014.
During his playing days, the Los Blancos legend scored 71 goals in the Champions League, scoring only five of them during his time at Schalke from 2010 to 2012. He is one of the most decorated players ever to have won three European trophies.
4. Karim Benzema – 83 goals
Benzema comes from Lyon’s youth soccer academy. After spending nine years in the youth ranks, he got the chance to be featured in Lyon’s first team in 2004. Benzema became a starter in the 2007-08 season and had a breakout year with over 30 goals. In 2009, he switched OL and France with Spain and Real Madrid.
Ever since he has played a key role at the Santiago Bernabeu side, managing 324 goals in 606 total games in all competitions. His performances improved significantly after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus in the summer of 2018. Benzema has so far counted up to 83 goals in the UEFA Champions League, 12 of which from his Lyon time.
4. Robert Lewandowski – 86 goals
Lewandowski started his career at Delta Warsaw and Legia Warsaw II. After featuring for another two Polish sides, Znicz Pruszkow and Lech Poznan, he got noticed by Borussia Dortmund in 2010. The Pole spent four seasons in Dortmund, scoring a total of 103 goals in 187 matches.
Like many Borussia Dortmund players had done before, he opted to leave for Bayern in 2014. He immediately began to bring results and he has played a vital role in Bayern’s treble-winning 2019-20 season. The goal-machine, who moved to Barcelona this summer after 12 years in Germany, managed 17 goals in the UCL for Borussia, and 69 for the Munich club.
2. Lionel Messi – 125 goals
Argentina's Lionel Messi, who is often considered the greatest player in modern soccer times, is the second-highest goalscorer in the history of the Champions League with 125 goals. In 2014, he broke Raul's record thanks to a brilliant hat-trick against APOEL.
He spent 21 years at Barcelona, after coming through the Blaugrana’s and Newell's Old Boys’ youth ranks. In summer 2021, he eventually joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer. The Argentine has so far featured netted 117 of his UCL goals for the Catalan giants, and an additional five for the French outfit.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – 140 goals
Cristiano Ronaldo went through Sporting Lisbon’s youth ranks, all the way to the top of Europe and the world. With 134 goals, he is the highest scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League scored during his tenure at Manchester United (twice), Real Madrid, and Juventus. In his first spell for United from 2003 to 2009, the superstar made 292 appearances and scored 118 goals.
In summer 2009, after he had established himself as one of the best footballers ever to grace the world of soccer, the forward joined Real Madrid. There, he scored his career's highest 450 goals in 438 games. In 2021, 12 years after leaving the Red Devils, he made a comeback at Old Trafford. The 37-year-old has scored 21 goals for Man Utd, 105 for Madrid, and 14 for Juve in the Champions League.