The UEFA Champions League is considered the most prestigious club competition in the world. This article provides a list of players who have scored the most goals in a single campaign throughout the history of the competition.
17- Cristiano Ronaldo (2013-14)
The most impressive season for an individual scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League occurred in the 2013-14 season.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who played for Real Madrid, was responsible for 17 goals which greatly contributed to their championship win. Ronaldo had a strong start to the season by scoring three goals in their first game against Galatasaray, and then went on to score an additional six goals in the group stage.
He continued his scoring streak in the last 16, quarter-final, and semi-final matches, adding four, one, and two goals respectively. Ronaldo ended his season with a remarkable 120th-minute goal in the final game against rivals Atlético Madrid, leading Real Madrid to a 4-1 victory.
16 – Cristiano Ronaldo (2015-16)
In the 2015-16 season of the UEFA Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo came very close to breaking his own record of 16 goals in a single season, which he set during the 2013-14 campaign, and helped Real Madrid win the competition once again.
He scored a record-breaking 11 goals in the group stage, surpassing the second-highest scorer, Robert Lewandowski, by two goals. Ronaldo began the season with a hat-trick against Shakhtar Donetsk and ended the group stage with four goals against Malmö FF.
In the final against Atlético Madrid, Ronaldo attempted six shots but did not score, though he did convert the winning penalty in the shootout, as Real Madrid won the trophy in Milan.
15- Cristiano Ronaldo (2017-18), Robert Lewandowski (2019-20) Karim Benzema (2021-22)
In the 2017-18 Champions League season, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 15 goals for Real Madrid, which is his third-highest tally in a single season. Although he didn’t score in the final against Liverpool, he still managed to equal his own record of scoring in 10 different UCL games in a season, which he previously set in 2013-14.
Robert Lewandowski aimed to replicate Ronaldo’s record in the 2019-20 final, but he couldn’t score in the game. However, he did manage to score in all nine of his games prior to the final, with a total of 15 goals, before Bayern Munich went on to win the title with a 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the final.
Karim Benzema had an impressive 2021-22 Champions League season, scoring a total of 15 goals, with 10 of those coming in the knockout stages of the competition. He equaled Ronaldo’s record of scoring 10 UCL goals in a single season during the 2016-17 campaign.
Benzema scored a hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16, another hat-trick against Chelsea in the quarter-final, and three more goals in the semi-final against Manchester City. Although he didn’t score in the final against Liverpool, Real Madrid still managed to win the title.
14 – Lionel Messi (2011-12)
During the 2011-12 season, Lionel Messi had his most successful goalscoring campaign in the UEFA Champions League. He set several records during this period, scoring an impressive total of 73 goals in 60 games.
Out of those, he scored 14 goals in the Champions League tournament, including five goals against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in a match played in March 2012. This is one of only two times a player has scored five goals in a single match in the Champions League, and the only time it happened during the knockout stage.
Unfortunately, despite Messi’s great efforts, Barcelona was eliminated in the semi-finals by Chelsea, and Messi failed to score in either of the two legs, despite having attempted 12 shots throughout the matches.
13 – Robert Lewandowski (2021-22)
During Robert Lewandowski’s last season with Bayern Munich, he managed to score 13 goals in just 10 games in the UEFA Champions League.
This impressive feat brought his total goals for the club in the competition to 69, making him one of the top scorers in the competition for a single club. Only Lionel Messi (120 goals for Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (105 goals for Real Madrid), and Karim Benzema (74 goals for Real Madrid) have scored more for a single club in the tournament.
In the 2021-2022 season, Lewandowski got off to a flying start by scoring nine goals in the first five matches, putting him on track to break the UCL season record. However, Bayern’s eventual defeat in the quarter-finals against Villarreal dashed his hopes of achieving this feat.
Lionel Messi (2010-11 and 2018-19)
Cristiano Ronaldo (2012-13 and 2016-17)
Ruud van Nistelrooy (2002-03)
Mario Gomez (2011-12)
Erling Haaland (2022-23)
Lionel Messi in 2016-17
Sébastien Haller in 2021-22