Benzema, Ronaldo, Messi, Puskas: Who has the most CL knockout goals in a season?

Karim Benzema has been a man on a mission in 2021/22.

Real Madrid‘s talisman has played the best football of his distinguished career this season and he’s the primary reason why the club are in the Champions League final.

Benzema has scored 14 goals in Europe’s top-tier competition, with a whopping 10 of them coming in the knockout stage.

The France international notched hat-tricks against both Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea, plus he netted the extra-time winner versus the latter.

Benzema then scored a penalty in both legs of Real Madrid’s semi-final battle with Manchester City to secure a date with Liverpool in Paris on May 28th.

Is it really any wonder the 34-year-old is the heavy favourite to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or?

He has been a joy to watch throughout the season and incredibly, only one player in history has bettered his record of 10 knockout goals in a European Cup season.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema celebrate the win over Man City
MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 04: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates their side’s victory and progression to the UEFA Champions League Final after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 04, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

So who’s ahead of him? Well, it’s another Real Madrid legend and thanks to IFFHS, you can check out the elite 10-man list below.

The 10 players with most goals in a European Cup knockout stage

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 2013/14) – 8 goals

Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 2011/12) – 8 goals

Gerd Muller (Bayern Munich, 1972/73) – 8 goals

Jose Aguas (Benfica, 1960/61) – 8 goals

Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid, 1959/60) – 8 goals

Milos Milutinovic (Partizan Belgrade, 1955/56) – 8 goals

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, 2021/22) – 10 goals

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 2016/17) – 10 goals

Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid, 1957/58) – 10 goals

Ferenc Puskas (Real Madrid, 1959/60) – 12 goals

Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas
Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskas, the inside-left of Real Madrid FC, December 1959. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Is it really any surprise the only four players to hit double figures were all playing for Real Madrid at the time? Absolutely not.

The 13-time winners have made the European Cup/Champions League their own personal playground down the years and are continuing to do so in the present day.

Puskas’ record is made all the more remarkable by the fact that four of his goals came in the 1960 final against Eintracht Frankfurt – which Los Blancos won 7-3 at Hampden Park.

But if Benzema scores a hat-trick against Liverpool, he will break the Hungarian’s record and if that’s achieved, he may as well be handed the Ballon d’Or trophy on May 28th.

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