Who are the all-time top group stage scorers?

With the 26th UEFA Champions League group stage over, it is time to update the record books.

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Robert Lewandowski pushed Lionel Messi into second in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage top scorer rankings, but the Barcelona maestro is peerless when it comes to goalscoring consistency at this level.

Statistics do not include goals and appearances from the short-lived second group stage

Most UEFA Champions League group stage goals*

Messi's European goals: 2005-2018
Messi's European goals: 2005-2018

66: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
61: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus)
43: Karim Benzema (Lyon, Real Madrid)
39: Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Hamburg)
37: Raúl González (Real Madrid, Schalke)
36: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale Milano, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris, Manchester United)
34: Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund, Bayern München)
31: Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus)
30: Didier Drogba (Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray)
29: Thierry Henry (Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona)
29: Filippo Inzaghi (Juventus, AC Milan)

• Six goals in 2018/19 have enabled Messi to scamper clear of Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the group stage scorers chart.

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Best goals per game ratio (minimum 20 scored)

Van Nistelrooy: My top three goals
Van Nistelrooy: My top three goals

0.99: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 66 goals in 67 games
0.76: Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV Eindhoven, Man. United, Real Madrid, Hamburg) – 39 goals in 51 games
0.73: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester. United, Real Madrid, Juventus) – 61 goals in 83 games
0.72: Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund, Bayern München) – 34 goals in 47 games
0.72: Roy Makaay (Deportivo La Coruña, Bayern München) – 23 goals in 32 games
0.68: Karim Benzema (Lyon, Real Madrid) – 43 goals in 63 games
0.68: Edinson Cavani (Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain) – 28 goals in 41 games
0.64: Didier Drogba (Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray) – 30 goals in 47 games
0.62: Filippo Inzaghi (Juventus, AC Milan) – 29 goals in 47 games
0.57: Sergio Agüero (Atlético Madrid. Manchester City) – 28 goals in 49 games

Edinson Cavani: challenging for top spot
Edinson Cavani: challenging for top spot©AFP/Getty Images

• Messi's close to a goal-a-game strike rate is astounding, while Ronaldo's early years as a winger rather than out-and-out forward might explain why he lags a little behind the Argentinian.

• Edinson Cavani would seem a more realistic contender for Messi's place at the top of this particular table; if the Uruguayan hit a hat-trick in each of his next five games, he would overtake Messi at the summit.

Most UEFA Champions League group stage appearances

Iker Casillas: still stretchy at 37
Iker Casillas: still stretchy at 37©AFP/Getty Images

95: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid, Porto)
83: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus)
80:
Xavi Hernández (Barcelona)
77: Raúl González (Real Madrid, Schalke)
74: Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)
74: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris, Manchester United)
72: Clarence Seedorf (Ajax, Real Madrid, AC Milan)
69: Sergei Ignashevich (Lokomotiv Moskva, CSKA Moskva)
68: Gianluigi Buffon (Parma, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain)
67: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
67: Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid, Fenerbahçe)

Goalkeeper Casillas's record for group stage appearances looks safe for the time being; his only active rival in the top ten, Cristiano Ronaldo, has made 12 fewer outings.

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