Who are the all-time top group stage scorers?

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Lionel Messi tops the 2018/19 rankings with six goals, but where does he stand in the UEFA Champions League group stage pantheon?

Lionel Messi is this season’s top scorer with five UEFA Champions League group stage goals, and is now five points clear of an old friend at the top of the competition’s group stage goals rankings – while his record for goalscoring consistency at this level is the envy of his peers.

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

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)
32: 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.

Best goals per game ratio (minimum 20 scored.

Van Nistelrooy: My top three goals

1.00: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 66 goals in 66 games
0.76: Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV Eindhoven, Man. United, Real Madrid, Hamburg) – 39 goals in 51 games
0.74: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester. United, Real Madrid, Juventus) – 61 goals in 82 games
0.72: Roy Makaay (Deportivo La Coruña, Bayern München) – 23 goals in 32 games
0.70: Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund, Bayern München) – 32 goals in 46 games
0.69: Karim Benzema (Lyon, Real Madrid) – 43 goals in 62 games
0.68: Edinson Cavani (Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain) – 27 goals in 40 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 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. To match Messi’s ratio, Ronaldo would need to score 30 goals in his next 11 group stage games.

• 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 join 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

94: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid, Porto)
82: 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: 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. uefa.com

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