FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi has finished as the UEFA Champions League's leading scorer for the third year running on 12 goals, equalling Ruud van Nistelrooy's competition record.
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Lionel Messi has finished as the UEFA Champions League's leading scorer for the third season running, scoring his 12th goal in the Wembley final against Manchester United FC.
The FC Barcelona forward also equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy's competition record of 12 in a single campaign after firing in his team's second tonight – and duly finished four goal clear of his peers in this season's standings.
FC Bayern München's Mario Gomez and Samuel Eto'o of FC Internazionale Milano had each managed eight goals, one more than Chelsea FC's Nicolas Anelka, while three players registered six: Real Madrid CF pair Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, and Roberto Soldado of Valencia CF.
Messi becomes the third player after Gerd Müller and Jean-Pierre Papin to top-score in three successive European Champion Clubs' Cup campaigns. Müller was the leading marksman for Bayern in 1972/73 (11 goals), 1973/74 (eight) and 1974/75 (five, joint with FC Ararat Yerevan's Eduard Markarov). The German was also the five-goal joint top scorer in 1976/77, making him the only man to reach the peak on four occasions.
Olympique de Marseille striker Papin never ended up as the outright leading scorer, his three season-leading tallies in 1989/90, 1990/91 and 1991/92 being matched by Romário (PSV Eindhoven, six goals), Peter Pacult (FC Tirol Innsbruck, six) and Sergei Yuran (SL Benfica, seven).
Eusébio was also the competition's hottest gun three times with Benfica – in 1964/65, 1965/66 and 1967/68 – while Milan's José Altafini holds the record for the highest number of goals scored in a European Cup campaign, 14 in 1962/63.
In the UEFA Champions League era, Van Nistelrooy alone can touch Messi's achievement of top-scoring in three different campaigns. Now, of course, the Dutchman also shares the seasonal record with Barcelona's No10, having struck 12 for Manchester United in 2002/03.
UEFA Champions League top scorers 2010/11
12 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
8 Samuel Eto'o (FC Internazionale Milano), Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München)
7 Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea FC)
6 Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo (both Real Madrid CF), Roberto Soldado (Valencia CF)
5 Raúl González (FC Schalke 04)
UEFA Champions League top scorers by season
1993/94 8 Ronald Koeman (FC Barcelona), Wynton Rufer (SV Werder Bremen)
1994/95 7 George Weah (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
1995/96 9 Jari Litmanen (AFC Ajax)
1996/97 5 Milinko Pantić (Club Atlético de Madrid)
1997/98 10 Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus)
1998/99 8 Andriy Shevchenko (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Dwight Yorke (Manchester United FC)
1999/00 10 Mário Jardel (FC Porto), Rivaldo (FC Barcelona), Raúl González (Real Madrid CF)
2000/01 7 Raúl González (Real Madrid CF)
2001/02 10 Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United FC)
2002/03 12 Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United FC)
2003/04 9 Fernando Morientes (AS Monaco FC)
2004/05 8 Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United FC)
2005/06 9 Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)
2006/07 10 Kaká (AC Milan)
2007/08 8 Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC)
2008/09 9 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
2009/10 8 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
2010/11 12 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)