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Who are the all-time Champions League group stage top scorers?

We are into the 31st edition of the UEFA Champions League group stage; who are the top scorers at this level?

The usual suspects: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski
The usual suspects: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski ©Getty Images

Most goals in Champions League group stage

Lionel Messi holds the record for most goals in the UEFA Champions League group stage, his tally of 78 leaving him five clear at the top of the standings – no prizes for guessing his nearest competitor. Remarkably, the Argentinian has done it in just 84 matches, a ratio of 0.93 goals per game. Even Cristiano Ronaldo does not get close to him on that front.

Robert Lewandowski does, though (0.92), and the Poland striker has this season moved clear in third spot in the all-time rankings. The rest of the top ten is a who's who of the best strikers from the past three decades, with Karim Benzema, Raúl González, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Alessandro Del Piero and Sergio Agüero rounding off the list.

Among current players, Mohamed Salah is knocking on the door with 30 goals, one more than Neymar, while Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé have raced to 22 group stage goals apiece. Haaland has done so in the space of just 16 matches, for a ludicrous goals per game ratio of 1.38 per outing. Three of those appearances were as a substitute.

Most goals in Champions League group stage

78 Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain)**
73 Cristiano Ronaldo (Man United, Real Madrid, Juventus)
61 Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund, Bayern, Barcelona)**
56
Karim Benzema (Lyon, Real Madrid)**
53 Raúl González (Real Madrid, Schalke)
50 Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV, Man United, Real Madrid, Hamburg)
38 Thierry Henry (Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona)
38
Zlatan Ibrahimović (Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Man United)**
33 Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus)
32
Sergio Agüero (Atlético, Man City)

Lionel Messi's Champions League goals

Players with best goals per game ratio in Champions League group stage***

1.38 Erling Haaland (Salzburg, Dortmund, Man City) – 22 goals / 16 games**
0.93
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 78 / 84 **
0.92 Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund, Bayern, Barcelona) – 61 / 66**
0.83
Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV, Man United, Real Madrid, Hamburg) – 50 / 60
0.74 Cristiano Ronaldo (Man United, Real Madrid, Juventus) – 73 / 98
0.68 Karim Benzema (Lyon, Real Madrid) – 56 / 82**
0.64 Didier Drogba (Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray) – 30 / 47
0.64
Mohamed Salah (Basel, Chelsea, Roma, Liverpool) – 30 / 47**
0.63 Kylian Mbappé (Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain) – 22 / 35
0.60 Neymar (Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain) – 29 / 48**

Van Nistelrooy: My top three goals

*Statistics include goals and appearances from the second group stage (1999/2000 to 2002/03)** Includes 2022/23
*** Minimum 20 scored