Which player has scored the most goals in a single Champions League match? Erling Haaland became just the third player to score five goals in a single UCL game in March 2023, after Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano, but who has scored four in one night of Champions League action?
Five Goals: Lionel Messi
Barcelona 7-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen – 7 March 2012
Lionel Messi became the first player to score five goals in a single UEFA Champions League game with an exceptional performance against Bayer Leverkusen in March 2012.
Barca came into the second leg of this last-16 tie with a 3-1 lead, thanks in part to Messi himself, who grabbed the third away goal in the first leg win in Germany. There was no doubt that he was the star in this 7-1 victory at the Camp Nou, though.
This remains the only club game in Messi’s career in which he’s scored five goals, while they came as part of his record-breaking 2011-12 season at Barcelona. That campaign saw him score a frightening 73 goals in 60 appearances – the most he’s scored in a single season at club level.
Whilst he was the first player to score five in a game in the Champions League era (since 1992), he wasn’t the first to do so in the history of the European Cup overall. Here are the 10 players to have scored five goals in a single European Cup match:
Owe Ohlsson – IFK Göteborg vs. Linfield – 23 September 1959
Bent Löfqvist – B1913 vs. Spora Luxembourg – 13 September 1961
Altafini – Milan vs. Union Luxembourg – 12 September 1962
Raymond Crawford – Ipswich Town vs. Floriana FC – 25 September 1962
Nikola Kotkov – Lokomotiv Sofia vs. Malmö FF – 10 September 1964
Flórián Albert -Ferencváros vs. Keflavík IF – 8 September 1965
Paul Van Himst – RSC Anderlecht vs. Haka – 14 September 1966
Gerd Müller – Bayern Munich vs. Omonia Nicosia – 24 September 1972
Claudio Sulser – Grasshopper Club Zürich vs. Valletta FC – 13 September 1978
Søren Lerby – Ajax vs. Omonia Nicosia – 24 October 1979
Five Goals: Luiz Adriano
BATE Borisov 0-7 Shakhtar Donetsk – 21 October 2014
Two and a half years after Messi’s five-goal haul in the Champions League, Luiz Adriano became the second player to score five in a single UCL match.
The Brazilian forward scored five in Shakhtar Donetsk’s 7-0 away demolition of BATE Borisov in the 2014-15 group stage, with four of those arriving before half-time.
The Shakhtar star also scored a hat-trick in the home group stage game against the Belarusian side, meaning his eight goals overall that season against BATE are the most ever scored by one player against an opponent in a single UCL campaign.
Five Goals: Erling Haaland
Manchester City 7-0 RB Leipzig – 14 March 2023
Erling Haaland’s ridiculous scoring record in his first season at Manchester City became even more ridiculous during their 7-0 drubbing of Bundesliga club RB Leipzig in March 2023, as the striker scored goals 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39 of the 2022-23 campaign.
The warning signs were there, with Haaland already having scored six times in all competitions against RB Leipzig – against no club had he scored more often – but he extended that tally to 11 with this five-goal haul.
He not only became just the third player to score five goals in a single UCL match, but his performance took his overall tally in the competition to 33 in just 25 appearances, reaching the 30-goal milestone in fewer matches than any other player, while he also became the youngest player to reach 30 goals in the competition’s history (22y 236d).
This was his fifth hat-trick of the 2022-23 season (of an eventual six), becoming the first player to score five hat-tricks for a Premier League club across all competitions within a single season since Harry Kane for Spurs in 2016-17. It also took his personal UCL goal tally to 10 for the 2022-23 campaign, which broke a Manchester City club record.
Another club record broken on the night was that of the single-season scoring record by a Manchester City player, with the Norwegian’s 39 goals overtaking the previous Man City record set by Tommy Johnson in 1928-29 (38 goals). He ultimately hit 52 in 53 games across the campaign.
Haaland would have probably added to his five-goal tally had manager Pep Guardiola not taken him off in the 63rd minute of the game, as the striker was at his very best. He scored his five goals from eight shots, with all eight of those shots finding the target.
Four Goals: Marco van Basten
Milan 4-0 IFK Göteborg – 25 February 1992
Marco van Basten became the first player to score a hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League following its rebrand and change from the old European Cup. Not content with three goals, he added a fourth in Milan’s 4-0 win over Swedish club IFK Göteborg at San Siro.
Here’s a great fact to tell your mates. The Dutchman is the only player to score a hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League and the European Cup, having also scored four for Milan in October 1988 versus Levski Sofia.
Four Goals: Simone Inzaghi
Lazio 5-1 Marseille – 14 March 2000
We had to wait over eight years before another player scored four goals in a single UEFA Champions League match, with Simone Inzaghi ending the competition drought with a four-goal performance for Lazio against French club Marseille in March 2000.
Unlike his brother Filippo (twice), Simone Inzaghi never won the Champions League, nor did he play as many games in the competition (81 vs. 31) or score as many goals (46 vs. 15) – but he did score four goals in a UCL match, something Filippo never did despite scoring three hat-tricks.
Four Goals: Dado Prso
Monaco 8-3 Deportivo de La Coruña – 5 November 2003
At the time, Monaco’s 8-3 win over Deportivo de La Coruña in November 2003 broke the record as the highest-scoring Champions League game of all time. That record has since been lost to Borussia Dortmund 8-4 Legia Warsaw in November 2016, but unlike this game, it didn’t produce a four-goal performance from a single player.
Long-haired Croatian striker Dado Prso scored half of Monaco’s eight goals (four), with all of them coming before the 50th minute, including a first-half hat-trick.
Prso’s four goals in this match contributed 44% of his all-time Champions League goal tally (nine), while he only ever scored four more times in 12 UCL appearances after this performance in the principality.
Amazingly, this game didn’t see any goals after the 67th minute – just think about how crazy the scoreline could have been if the rate of goals had lasted the full 90 minutes.
Four Goals: Ruud van Nistelrooy
Manchester United 4-1 Sparta Prague – 3 November 2004
Ruud van Nistelrooy became the first Manchester United player to score four goals in a Champions League or European Cup game since Denis Law in October 1968 versus Waterford.
The Dutch striker scored all four of United’s goals in this match, just two weeks after they drew 0-0 with Sparta Prague in the away group game. These four goals helped van Nistelrooy reach eight in the 2004-05 group stage, but none in the knockout stages, as United lost to Milan in the last 16. However, this was still enough for him to finish as the competition’s top scorer that season.
Four Goals: Andriy Shevchenko
Fenerbahçe 0-4 Milan – 23 November 2005
Andriy Shevchenko became the first player to score as many as four goals in a UEFA Champions League away game during Milan’s 4-0 victory at Fenerbahçe in November 2005.
These four goals helped Shevchenko to the Champions League golden boot that season, eventually grabbing nine goals in 2005-06.
Only one Milan player – Kaká versus Anderlecht in November 2006 – has scored a Champions League hat-trick since this treble by the Ukrainian.
Four Goals: Lionel Messi
Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal – 6 April 2010
When Arsenal came from two goals down to draw 2-2 in the first leg of their 2009-10 quarter-final tie with Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium, they’d have been forgiven for thinking they were in with a chance of making the semis. Lionel Messi single-handedly ended those hopes, despite Arsenal taking a shock lead at the Camp Nou.
The Argentine scored all four goals in this superb performance against the Gunners, with Messi completing his hat-trick before half-time. At 22 years and 286 days old on the day of this game, Messi was the youngest player to score at least four goals in a single UCL match, until Erling Haaland surpassed him in 2023 (22y 236d when he scored five vs RB Leipzig).
Barcelona’s 6-3 aggregate win sent them through to a semi-final tie against Internazionale, which would be remembered for José Mourinho’s post-tie celebrations on the pitch at the Camp Nou after a tactical masterclass to knock Barca out.
Four Goals: Bafétimbi Gomis
Dinamo Zagreb 1-7 Lyon – 7 December 2011
Bafétimbi Gomis’ four-goal haul for Lyon in their 7-1 rout at Dinamo Zagreb saw him become the first French player to score as many as four goals in a single Champions League/European Cup match since Lucien Cossou for Monaco in September 1963.
Gomis only scored nine goals in the Champions League overall, with 44% of them coming in this match. He would only play once more in the competition after this, with these his final goals.
Four Goals: Mario Gomez
Bayern Munich 7-0 Basel – 13 March 2012
Mario Gomez scored four times in Bayern Munich’s 7-0 last-16 win over Swiss club Basel in March 2012. You could argue that none of them were crucial as the German striker scored his side’s third, fourth, fifth and sixth goals in the win at the Allianz Arena on the night.
Overall, Gomez scored 12 UCL goals for Bayern Munich in 2011-12 and was only beaten to the top scorer award by Lionel Messi (14).
At the time, this was the biggest win in the knockout stages of the Champions League, but it’s since been joined by another 7-0 by Bayern against Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2014-15 last-16 and Man City’s 7-0 victories over Schalke and RB Leipzig at the same stage of the 2018-19 and 2022-23 editions respectively.
Four Goals: Robert Lewandowski
Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Real Madrid – 24 April 2013
Robert Lewandowski put on a striking masterclass in April 2013, as he scored all four goals in Borussia Dortmund’s semi-final first leg 4-1 win over Real Madrid.
In doing so, the Polish striker became the only player to ever score four goals in a semi-final match across the European Cup or Champions League, but it still doesn’t quite match the feat of Ferenc Puskás, who scored four goals in the 1960 European Cup final for Real Madrid against Eintracht Frankfurt.
This victory was enough to see Borussia Dortmund through to the final, losing the second leg 2-0 in Madrid but winning 4-3 on aggregate. Jürgen Klopp’s side went on to lose the final in London to Bayern Munich, while Lewandowski’s 10 goals were beaten by only Cristiano Ronaldo’s 12 in the 2012-13 edition of the competition.
Four Goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Anderlecht 0-5 Paris Saint-Germain – 23 October 2013
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four of PSG’s five goals in a brilliant group stage away win at Belgian club Anderlecht in October 2013.
The Swedish striker had wrapped up a fantastic hat-trick inside the opening 36 minutes of the game, before adding a fourth goal in the 62nd minute. He was a constant menace for the French side during the game, attempting 10 shots in total.
These four strikes helped him to 10 goals across the entire 2013-14 Champions League season – double his tally in any other campaign, while only Cristiano Ronaldo (17) scored more in the competition that season.
Four Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid 8-0 Malmö FF – 8 December 2015
Cristiano Ronaldo might be the all-time leading goalscorer in UEFA Champions League history, but he’s only scored more than three goals in one game – that came in December 2015 against Malmö FF at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Ronaldo’s four goals in this 2015-16 group stage match came from 10 shots – a tally he’s only surpassed in six of his Champions League appearances across his career. His strikes helped Real Madrid equal the Champions League record margin of victory in this game, level with Liverpool 8-0 Beşiktaş in November 2007 – both successful sides were managed by Rafael Benitez.
Ronaldo eventually reached 16 goals overall in 2015-16 – the only player to hit double figures that season and six goals more than the next best, Robert Lewandowski.
Four Goals: Serge Gnabry
Tottenham Hotspur 2-7 Bayern Munich – 1 October 2019
Former Arsenal player Serge Gnabry enjoyed himself on the home ground of rivals Spurs in October 2019, as his four goals helped Bayern Munich achieve an astonishing 7-2 win in London.
Gnabry became only the second German player to score four goals in a Champions League match after Mario Gomez versus Basel in March 2012 (also for Bayern, 7-0 win).
This was the only time in Tottenham’s 140-year history that they have ever conceded seven goals at home in any competition.
Four Goals: Robert Lewandowski
Crvena Zvezda 0-6 Bayern Munich – 26 November 2019
Bayern’s 6-0 away win against Crvena Zvezda in November 2019 saw Robert Lewandowski become just the second player to score at least four goals in a single Champions League match on more than one occasion, after Lionel Messi.
In scoring four goals across a period of just 14 minutes and 31 seconds, Lewandowski broke the record for the quickest four-goal haul in the history of the Champions League.
Overall that season, Lewandowski scored 15 goals as Bayern ended as Champions League winners following victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the final. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more in a single UCL campaign – 17 in 2013-14 and 16 in 2015-16, both for Real Madrid.
Four Goals: Josip Ilicic
Valencia 3-4 Atalanta – 10 March 2020
Josip Ilicic scored all four goals as Atalanta secured a historic 4-3 victory away at Valencia in March 2020.
The Slovenian striker scored his two first-half goals from the penalty spot, before adding two more goals in the 71st and 82nd minute of the tie in Spain. Having won the first leg 4-1 at home, Atalanta were already in an excellent position to make their first-ever Champions League quarter-finals, but Ilicic made sure.
He is the only player to score four goals with his left foot in a single UEFA Champions League match since the rebrand of the European Cup in 1992.
Four Goals: Olivier Giroud
Sevilla 0-4 Chelsea – 2 December 2020
Olivier Giroud rolled back the years with an exceptional performance for Chelsea in December 2020, scoring all four goals to defeat Sevilla in the group stage.
This was only the second UCL hat-trick of the French striker’s career, following his three goals for Arsenal against Olympiakos in December 2015, also away from home.
At 34 years and 63 days old, Giroud is the oldest player to score at least four goals in a UEFA Champions League match.
Four Goals: Sébastien Haller
Sporting CP 1-5 Ajax – 15 September 2021
Sébastien Haller started the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League group stage as he meant to go on, scoring four goals on his UCL debut.
These four goals for Ajax at Sporting CP meant that he is one of only two players to score four times in his first appearance in the Champions League – the other being Marco van Basten, who’d already played in the European Cup.
Overall, Haller scored 10 goals in six UCL group stage appearances across 2021-22, ending just one goal behind the record for group stage goals in a season by a player – Cristiano Ronaldo’s 11 in 2015-16.