Lionel Messi is now just four goals clear at the top of the standings, with old rival Cristiano Ronaldo having closed the gap already this autumn?

Statistics do not include goals and appearances from the second group stage (1999/2000 to 2002/03)

Most UEFA Champions League group stage goals*


Messi’s European goals: 2005-2018

66: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
62: 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: Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund, Bayern München)
37: Raúl González (Real Madrid, Schalke)
36: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale Milano, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris, Manchester United)
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 enabled Messi to move clear of Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the group stage scorers chart.

Best goals per game ratio (minimum 20 scored)

Van Nistelrooy: My top three goals


Van Nistelrooy: My top three goals

0.97: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 66 goals in 68 games
0.76: Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Hamburg) – 39 goals in 51 games
0.76: Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund, Bayern München) – 37 goals in 49 games
0.73: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus) – 62 goals in 85 games
0.72: Roy Makaay (Deportivo La Coruña, Bayern München) – 23 goals in 32 games
0.68: Edinson Cavani (Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain) – 28 goals in 41 games
0.66: Karim Benzema (Lyon, Real Madrid) – 43 goals in 65 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
0.56: Sergio Agüero (Atlético Madrid, Manchester City) – 28 goals in 50 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 behind the Argentinian.

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)
85: 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, Internazionale Milano, 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)
68: 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 11 fewer outings.


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