Champions League

The Champions League is widely regarded as the pinnacle of club football, the best teams from all over the globe compete to win the European cup and be crowned Champions of Europe. Some might argue that to know how good a player is, or in this case, a striker, he needs to perform in the Champions League. Some club players on our list have made their mark early in their career with a flurry of champions league goals, whilst some peaked later in their careers. Join us as we dive into some of the best strikers the football world has seen. 

Read on to learn more about:

  • What makes a good striker? 
  • Statistically, who has the best goal ratio in Champions League history
  • Who has won the most Champions League goals and titles?
  • Our top 5 best scorers 

What makes a good striker? 

Generally speaking, the main man in a team where most of the goals come from is a number nine; these are like Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Alessandro Del Piero, Didier Drogba and plenty others. Like any other, football evolves, and so do strikers as they explore different avenues to find ways to improve their game and beat the opponent’s defence. So you will see players that will drop deep and try to create pockets of space behind the defence or some that will use their raw pace to run in behind.

There is no specific way of playing that will get you more goals or make you better. The only thing that will distinguish a striker is the ability to sniff out a chance before it materialises and the composure to score under pressure. 

Some players adapt their football throughout their careers; for example, Wayne Rooney was the key man for Manchester United in their success in 2007/08. He played through the middle mixing up his game, running behind the defenders and scoring some vital UEFA Champions League goals.

Later in his career, he would drop deeper, inviting the opposing defender out with him, which created space for runners in behind. Rooney made his mark when he scored a hat trick in the group stage match against Fenerbache on his UEFA Champions League debut.

Other players have mastered their craft so well that they do not evolve or change up their game for example Filippo Inzaghi (AC Milan) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United, Real Madrid) who are two great examples of players that stuck to one style of play that bare fruit. It’s that killer instinct that separates the good strikers from the world-class.

Both players had the ability to create a chance for themselves from almost nothing. Some of the goals that they have scored might be seen as scruffy but as long as the ball hits the back of the net, little matters. 

As we have seen in previous years, Manchester City’s bid to win the UEFA Champions league’s cup is yet to materialize and some argue that it’s due to not having a number nine. Now they acquired Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and we are all excited to see how the premier league side adopts their style of play to fit the 2020-21 tournament top scorers.

Who has the best goal ratio in Champions League history?

Gerd Muller is the all-time Champions League best goals-games ratio with an incredible 0.97, making him the most reliable top scorer in the European cup. For any team to have such a player who, on average, scores a goal in a Champions League match is a great ace up their sleeve.

Other players consistently performing on the biggest stage are Robert Lewandowski, who has 0.81 goals per game, during his time spent with both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, Lionel Messi with 0.81 and Ferenc Puskas with an incredible 0.88 ratio.

Some of the best performers originate from Real Madrid teams and it comes as no surprise as the Blancos won the title an incredible 14 times, double the amount the second best team which is AC Milan with seven titles followed by Liverpool.

Who has won the most Champions League titles, and what does that say about them. 

Without a doubt, Cristiano Ronaldo is the main man in the Champions League; during his time with Manchester Untied and Real Madrid, he managed to win the competition five times. Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the players who played in the squad that won the tournament three times in a row between 2016-2018, occupying a vital role in the Champions League Final.

Reaching the Champions League Final is a great achievement but being the top goalscorer in each triumph says a lot about the raw talent and Cristiano Ronaldo’s desire to be the best possible player. Of course, playing for the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid helped as he was surrounded by top-class players throughout his time in England and Spain. 

Karim Benzema has also won the European cup on five occasions, with the latest coming in the 2021-22 season. The Frenchman scored consecutive hat-tricks in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League last season, becoming the oldest player to do so.. For most of his career with Real Madrid, he was undervalued due to other players, such as Ronaldo in the limelight. Real Madrid fans are now realizing what a talented player Karim Benzema is as he is now the focal point in their attack.

Benzema flew under the radar during most of his time with Real Madrid but he was always creative, skilful, quick and most importantly, a prolific forward. Karim Benzema is the most decorated Frenchman in the history of the competition and is also the third-highest scorer in Champions League history. The 34-year-old striker is the front-runner for this year’s Ballon d’Or, which will his first. 

Winning a couple of Champions League is a testament that you are a player capable of stepping up on the big occasion and be the difference maker to your side. The players listed in this blog deserve the right to be named as the all-time Champions League greats.

Our top 5 best scorers

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo

The man who was born to compete in the Champions League. Cristiano Ronaldo, is currently the all-time UEFA Champions League top goalscorer, topping the standings with an outstanding 140 goals in 183 appearances. Cristiano Ronaldo has played with three teams in the Champions League, Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid – but most goals were scored during his time in Spain.

With the record winners in Champions League history, Cristiano Ronaldo took the competition by storm, being named the top goalscorer on seven occasions and winning the competition a record-breaking five times. Cristiano Ronaldo still has the record for most Champions League goals in a season. In his last few seasons with Real Madrid, he managed to score an amazing bicycle kick against Juventus; you can relive that moment, here.

  1. Lionel Messi

Our second pick is the Argentinian Lionel Messi, the man who symbolised FC Barcelona. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated football since 2007, taking turns topping the goalscoring charts in the Champions League. Lionel Messi played his first game in the competition in 2004 against Shakhtar Donetsk. From that time on, Messi never looked back, ranking a breath-taking tally of 125 goals in 156 appearances, winning the tournament goal scorer competition four times.

Lionel Messi will forever be remembered for his elusive dribbling and a magical left foot that has caused havoc in many defences. Messi has been instrumental in many Champions League games where he made the difference, especially against Manchester United when he scored a towering header in the Final; yes, you read it right, a towering header.

Another goal that shows how unstoppable Messi is on his day is the solo goal he scored against rivals Real Madrid in 2015, where Messi flew past half of the Real Madrid team and rolled the ball past Casillas; you can watch the goal here

  1. Gerd Muller

The German record-breaker joined Bayern Munich in 1964, teaming up with great stars such as Franz Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier. Muller was a very opportunistic goal-scorer; he bagged 34 goals in 35 European football, giving him the best goals-to-game ratio in the Champions League all-time list. The German won the top scorer on four occasions, the first three coming consecutively between 1972–1975.

The distinguishable trait that Gerd Muller had in his arsenal was that he had lethal acceleration over short distances, a remarkable aerial game and perfect balance in tight spaces. Muller played a pivotal role in Bayern Munich winning the European Cup on three occasions. He was also known as Der Bomber; his nickname came as he bombarded the opposition with his goal-scoring prowess. You can watch some of his best goals here.

  1. Filippo Inzaghi

The Italian striker known who was a fox in the box, being at the right place at the right time. The AC Milan forward was known for beating the offside trap very intelligently with his constant movement, threading the line between the offside. Inzaghi scored 46 goals in 81 appearances in the Champions League, winning the title on two occasions, both with AC Milan.

In the 2007 triumph, he scored a brace to put his side in a commanding position against Liverpool. His goals came when his side needed them the most, and he will surely be acclaimed as one of the best natural goal scorers to have ever graced the Champions League.

  1. Ruud van Nistelrooy

Van Nistelrooy was employed by both Manchester United and Real Madrid in his career but sadly, he never won the Champions League. Van Nistelrooy was named the Champions League top scorer three times, scoring a total 14 goals in 2002/03 season. He then moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid but had little success in the Uefa champions league. Ruud van Nistelrooy picked his favourite Champions league goals, and you can watch it here.

Now with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi reaching the end of their career, a new generation will emerge and will have to fill the shoes of the record UEFA champions league goals tally.


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