FC Barcelona failed to become the first team to successfully defend the UEFA Champions League but Lionel Messi could take some consolation in finishing as the competition's top scorer for an unprecedented fourth successive campaign, his 14 goals also matching the record for the highest tally in a European Cup season.
FC Bayern München's Mario Gomez was still in the running going into Saturday's final against Cheslea FC, but was unable to add to his 12-goal total. Cristiano Ronaldo finishes third on ten goals, with his Real Madrid CF team-mate Karim Benzema three strikes further back and Chelsea FC hero Didier Drogba on six – yet it was Messi's season once again.
The Barcelona forward managed 12 goals in 2010/11, matching the UEFA Champions League record set by Ruud van Nistelrooy with Manchester United FC in 2002/03, but went two better this term. Messi's total was bolstered by five goals in the round of 16 second leg against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, the first player to manage the feat in a single UEFA Champions League match.
In 2010/11 Messi had become the third man after Gerd Müller (1972/73, 1973/74, 1974/75) and Jean-Pierre Papin (1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92) to top the scoring charts in three consecutive European Cup campaigns. While the Argentinian is the first player to finish as the leading marksman in four successive seasons, he also matches the achievement of Müller, whose five goals in 1976/77 made him the joint-leading scorer that season for the fourth time.
Furthermore Messi equalled the mark of AC Milan's José Altafini, who now jointly holds the record for the highest number of goals scored in a European Cup campaign, 14 in 1962/63.
2011/12 UEFA Champions League top scorers
14 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
12 Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München)
10 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF)
7 Karim Benzema, (Real Madrid CF)
6 Didier Drogba (Chelsea FC)
5 José Callejón (Real Madrid CF), Roberto Soldado (Valencia CF), Bafétimbi Gomis (Olympique Lyonnais), Alexander Frei (FC Basel 1893), Seydou Doumbia (PFC CSKA Moskva), Roman Shirokov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Edinson Cavani (SSC Napoli), Zlatan Ibrahimović (AC Milan)
UEFA Champions League top scorers by season
1993/94 – Ronald Koeman, FC Barcelona; Wynton Rufer, SV Werder Bremen (8)
1994/95 – George Weah, Paris Saint-Germain FC (7)
1995/96 – Jari Litmanen, AFC Ajax (9)
1996/97 – Milinko Pantić, Club Atlético de Madrid (5)
1997/98 – Alessandro Del Piero, Juventus (10)
1998/99 – Andriy Shevchenko, FC Dynamo Kyiv; Dwight Yorke, Manchester United FC (8)
1999/00 – Mário Jardel, FC Porto; Rivaldo, FC Barcelona; Raúl González, Real Madrid CF (10)
2000/01 – Raúl González, Real Madrid CF (7)
2001/02 – Ruud van Nistelrooy, Manchester United FC (10)
2002/03 – Ruud van Nistelrooy, Manchester United FC (12)
2003/04 – Fernando Morientes, AS Monaco FC (9)
2004/05 – Ruud van Nistelrooy, Manchester United FC (8)
2005/06 – Andriy Shevchenko, AC Milan (9)
2006/07 – Kaká, AC Milan (10)
2007/08 – Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United FC (8)
2008/09 – Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona (9)
2009/10 – Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona (8)
2010/11 – Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona (12)
2011/12 – Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona (14)
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