UEFA Champions League is the elite European club competition that brings some of the best teams across the continent face to face for a shot at lifting the glistening Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens trophy.
Over the years, a host of legendary players have featured in this prestigious tournament, including world-class strikers like Ronaldo Nazario, Rivaldo, Raul, and now Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the top-two goalscorers in UCL history.
The lion's share of goals get scored in the first six matchdays of the competition, in 2019-20 season clubs set a new goalscoring record, as a whopping 308 goals were scored. So, did you know who among the top-level strikers is the top scorer in group stage fixtures?
Well, if you don't, no need to fret, as in this article we reveal the top 5 all-time highest goalscorers in the history of UEFA Champions League.
Stats Courtesy: UEFA.com
5. Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Hamburg): 39
We kick off our list with Dutch legend Ruud van Nistelrooy in the fifth spot. He is the only retired player to feature in the list and looks set to retain his spot on this list at least for another year, as the closest an active player comes to his tally is Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, who has 30 goals to his name.
Nistelrooy was one of the best strikers of his generation and proved his mettle as a solid No.9 for all of the clubs that he played for, finding the back of the net consistently. He was especially prolific for Manchester United, where he scored 150 goals in just 218 games.
He is currently ranked sixth in the all-time top goalscorer's list in UCL with 56 goals to his name, notching 39 of those in the group stage itself. Till date, his goals per game ratio at this stage of 0.76 remains the second-best among strikers, only behind Lionel Messi.
As things stand he's one of the only seven players with 50 or more goals at the continental event and also holds the record for being the fastest player to reach a half-century of goals, scoring the memorable goal in his 62nd game. Messi achieved the feat in 66 games, while Ronaldo needed a surprising 91 appearances to do the same.
It is interesting to note that though he finished as top scorer in three Champions League campaigns, he remains one of the greatest players ever to not have lifted the prestigious trophy. With 56 Champions League goals to his name, Van Nistelrooy is the highest-scoring player never to have won the tournament.