It’s an excellent opportunity to review the greatest scorers in the history of the Champions League and the European Cup, with the top 10 holding only three players (Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba) that are still active in European Football and have all three scored goals in the competition this season.
Some, like Theirry Henry, are still playing football, but in the United States, and are unlikely to come back to the highest levels. But maybe if Didier Drogba was able to come back from his exile in China to find success with Galatasray and now in Chelsea, Henry can do it himself.
10th – Didier Drogba, 44 Goals
Possibly the greatest African player in history, Drogba is still scoring goals for Chelsea in the competition, usually in garbage time, as he’s getting near to celebrating his 37th birthday. Most of his goals have come for Chelsea, but some have been with Galatasaray and Marseille. His most important one came in the 2012 UCL final, scoring the equalizer against Bayern before winning the penalty shootout.
9th – Eusebio, 47 Goals
Eusebio is one of the most prolific scorers of all-time in European football with 317 goals for Benfica, averaging more than one per match. In the European Cup he has scored 47 goals in 64 matches, helping his team win the 1962 trophy, scoring a brace in the final against Real Madrid.
8th – Alfredo di Stefano, 49 Goals
A five-time European Cup winner with Real Madrid, and the best player of the team that dominated Europe in the days before other mega clubs started popping up in other nations. He has a remrkable record of 0.84 goals per match in the competition, scoring in each of the finals Real Madrid won, including a hat trick (next to Puskas scoring four) in the famous 7-3 win over Frankfurt in 1960.
7th – Filippo Inzaghi, 50 Goals
One of the easily hated footballers of the 00’s and late 90’s, Inzaghi ended up winning two UCL titles with Milan. In 2003 and in 2007, when he scored the brace to hand them their revenge win over Liverpool in Athens. Until not too long ago his 70 goals in all of European competitions were the record, but that’s a thing of the past. He’s currently the Milan manager, and has an 0.59 scoring ratio with Juve and Milan in the competition.
6th – Thierry Henry, 51 Goals
Most of Henry’s goal in the competition have come while playing for Arsenal (35), but he also has seven with Monaco (people often forget he played for them) and nine more during his 3-year stay with Barcelona. He lifted the trophy in 2009 with Barca after beating Manchester United 2-0 in the final. He also reached the 2006 final with Arsenal, losing to the same Barcelona team.
5th – Andriy Shevchenko, 59 Goals
Shevchenko’s legacy was slightly hurt during his years with Chelsea, but no one can take away from his incredible dominance with Milan, being one of the more consistent and intelligent forwards in Europe for about a decade. His biggest moment on the big stage came in 2003, scoring the winning penalty in shootout against Juventus after a goalless 120 minutes.
4th – Ruud van Nistelrooy, 60 Goals
The only player in the top 10 to never win the competition or even make the finals, Van Nistelrooy scored nine goals for PSV, 38 for Manchester United and 13 for Real Madrid. He was with the Red Devils after the destiny team and before the rise of Ronaldo, and was with Real Madrid during the round of 16 streak.
3rd – Cristiano Ronaldo, 71 Goals
Cristiano Ronaldo is a two-time Champions League winner. Once with Manchester United in 2008, scoring the team’s only goal but missing a penalty kick in the shootout, and again with Real Madrid in 2014, embarrassing himself by over-celebrating a penalty goal in garbage time after playing terribly for the entire match. He has been scorching through the record books over the last two or three seasons, and has an average of 0.64 per match, constantly improving since joining Real Madrid.
2nd – Raul, 71 Goals
Looking back at Raul and his incredible consistency through almost two decades, he almost seems like a player from a different era and time compared to the kind of football and scorers we see these days. A three-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, Raul scored in two of those finals: Once in 2000, beating Valencia 3-0, and in 2002, the opener in the 2-1 win over Leverkusen. He scored five goals in his short spell with Schlake after being run out of Madrid.
1st – Lionel Messi, 74 Goals
Leave it to Messi to break the record by scoring a hat trick, all with his weaker right foot. He has an incredible scoring ratio of 0.81, doing the work in 91 matches, all with Barcelona. He has been a champion of the competition three times. In 2009 and in 2011, both of them against Manchester United, he also scored goals, one in each final.