It’s the most prestigious club competition in the world but which players have scored the most Champions League goals in a season? Here we give you the rundown of the highest scoring players across seasons in the history of the UCL.
Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013-14
The greatest individual goalscoring season in UEFA Champions League history came in 2013-14, when Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo scored 17 times, making a huge contribution to their title win.
Ronaldo started the season in the best way possible, scoring a hat-trick in Real Madrid’s 6-1 away win at Galatasaray on MD 1, before adding a further six goals in the group stage.
He added further goals in the last 16 (four), quarter-final (one) and semi-final (two) before finishing off his campaign in style with a 120th minute strike to seal a 4-1 victory in the final against rivals Atlético Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo in 2015-16
Cristiano Ronaldo was one goal away from equalling his own record of goals scored in a single Champions League season, when he scored 16 times in the 2015-16 campaign on the way to once again winning the competition with Real Madrid.
The superstar forward scored 11 goals in the group stage of the 2015-16 edition, which is a record by a single player in a UEFA Champions League campaign. That tally was two more than the second-highest overall scorer in the competition in 2015-16; Robert Lewandowski (nine).
Ronaldo yet again opened the season with a hat-trick, this time against Shakhtar Donetsk, before ending the group stage with another superb performance, scoring four goals in the rout of Malmö FF.
The Portuguese didn’t score in the final against Atlético Madrid despite attempting six shots, but he did go on to score the winning penalty in the shootout, as Real Madrid picked up the trophy in Milan.
Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017-18
Robert Lewandowski in 2019-20
Karim Benzema in 2021-22
Cristiano Ronaldo’s third-highest scoring UCL season came in 2017-18 at Real Madrid.
The Portuguese netted 15 times as Real Madrid went on to win the competition in the final against Liverpool, thanks to a 3-1 victory. Ronaldo didn’t score in the final but did score in 10 other games that season to equal his own record tally of 10 UCL games scored in within a single season alongside 2013-14.
Robert Lewandowski came into the 2019-20 Champions League final knowing that a goal would see him replicate Ronaldo’s feat of scoring in 10 different UCL games in a season. It wasn’t to be for the Pole, but his Bayern side still picked up the trophy with a 1-0 win over PSG in the final. Lewandowski had scored in all nine of his games prior to the final (15 goals).
10 of Karim Benzema’s 15 goals in 2021-22 came in the knockout stages of the competition – a joint competition record alongside Ronaldo in 2016-17.
A hat-trick in the second leg of the last 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain was followed by a hat-trick in the first leg against Chelsea and a further goal in the quarter-final second leg, before three goals in the two semi-final games against Manchester City. He didn’t score in the final versus Liverpool, but still saw his Real Madrid side win the title once again.
Lionel Messi in 2011-12
Lionel Messi’s best goalscoring season in the Champions League game back in 2011-12. This was a season where Messi broke all sorts of records, with a phenomenal 73 goals in 60 games.
He scored 14 of those goals in the UCL, including five in a single match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in March 2012. This remains one of only three occasions that a player has scored five times in a Champions League match.
Messi’s Barcelona side were eventually knocked out in the semi-finals against eventual 2011-12 winners Chelsea, where the Argentine failed to score in both legs despite attempting 12 shots overall.
Robert Lewandowski in 2021-22
In what was to be Robert Lewandowski’s final season as a Bayern Munich player, the Polish striker scored 13 goals in 10 games to take his total UCL goal tally to 69 for the Bundesliga champions – only Lionel Messi (120 for Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (105 for Real Madrid) and Karim Benzema (74 for Real Madrid) have scored more for a single club in the competition.
Lewandowski looked on to possibly break the UCL season record when he scored nine goals in Bayern’s first five matches of the 2021-22 season, but their eventual defeat in the quarter-finals against Villarreal hindered his chances of plundering more.
As well as the seven listed above, there are nine further instances of players scoring more than 10 goals in a single UEFA Champions League season.
Lionel Messi in 2010-11 and 2018-19
Cristiano Ronaldo in 2012-13 and 2016-17
Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2002-03
Mario Gomez in 2011-12
Erling Haaland in 2022-23
Lionel Messi in 2016-17
Sébastien Haller in 2021-22