Ronaldo, Lewandowski, Messi: Who are the Champions League's all-time leading goalscorers?

  • Kobe Tong

Bayern Munich showed exactly why they are the Champions League holders on Tuesday night.

It goes without saying that their round of 16 opponents, Lazio, were viewed as one of the weakest teams still active in the competition, but nobody could have predicted them to be thrashed 4-1.

Bayern, despite having lost to Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend, really showed up with the bit between their teeth, reminding everyone of their 2019/20 brilliance with a stellar performance.

Lazio 1-4 Bayern Munich

And although it was a particularly special night for Jamal Musiala, who became the Champions League’s youngest ever English goalscorer, he wasn’t alone in making history for Bayern.

That’s because Robert Lewandowski was on the campaign trail for the Ballon d’Or he should have won last year with his latest goal-scoring performance in Europe’s premier competition.

After a dodgy back-pass from the hosts, the Polish striker was quick to react and beat Pepe Reina to the ball in the penalty area, duly rounding the goalkeeper to fire Bayern into a ninth-minute lead.


Lewandowski makes history

It was an immaculate display of Lewandowski’s predatory instincts and one that moved him to 72 goals in the Champions League, which is a total of special significance.

That’s because it saw Lewandowski move above Real Madrid legend Raul in the competition’s goal-scoring charts, thus making him the third-most prolific player in Champions League history.

Naturally, the only two players above him are Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – ever heard of them? – but that essentially means that the bronze medal is essentially the gold medal, really.


Champions League’s greatest ever goalscorers

But to really appreciate Lewandowski’s achievement, you can check out the 11 greatest goalscorers in Champions League history, per UEFA’s official statistics, down below:

11. Filippo Inzaghi (Juventus, AC Milan) – 46

10. Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich) – 47

=8. Andriy Shevchenko (Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea) – 48

=8. Zlatan Ibrahimović (Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale Milano, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United) – 48

7. Thierry Henry (Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona) – 50

6. Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid) – 56

5. Karim Benzema (Lyon, Real Madrid) – 69

4 Raúl González (Real Madrid, Schalke) – 71 

3. Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich) – 72 

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 119

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus) – 134


Lewandowski: Best of the humans

We would say that Lewandowski is in esteemed company but, really, he’s above them.

Besides, you know you’re doing something right when you’re finishing above the likes of Henry, Ibrahimovic and Van Nistelrooy when the choice of measurement is out and out goal-scoring.

But if there is a downside to Lewandowski’s achievement it’s the fact that, well, he probably can’t climb the charts any higher with Messi standing a remarkable 47 strikes above his tally. 


And if nothing else, it seriously underlines Ronaldo’s status as the greatest player in Champions League history with almost double the amount of goals that Lewandowski has mustered.

So, in other words, Lewandowski’s ascent to third in the rankings puts him top of the humans. It just happens that two superhumans sit above him. 

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