Manchester City striker Erling Haaland’s five-goal haul against Leipzig has taken him up to 33 Champions League goals for his career.
To put that in context, when Cristiano Ronaldo – the Champions League’s all-time top scorer – was 22 like Haaland is now, he’d only scored six goals in the competition.
Not only that, but he’s already outscored some truly great players.
“The people who know me maybe know the influence Johan Cruyff had on my life as a person, as an educator, as a mentor, as a coach and everything,” said Pep Guardiola of his stunning goal against Borussia Dortmund in the autumn.
“Years ago Johan Cruyff scored an incredible goal in Camp Nou for Barcelona against Atlético Madrid similar to Haaland. The moment Erling scored I thought: ‘Johan Cruyff’. It was quite, quite similar. It was an incredible assist by Joao and the finishing from Erling was exceptional.”
Mentioning an all-time legend like Cruyff in the same sentence as Haaland is high praise, but the rising star belongs in great company. Here are 13 superb players that Haaland has scored more Champions League goals than.
While Haaland may not have perfected Robben’s trademark move – shuffling onto his left foot and banging the ball in from the right wing – he has now overtaken the Dutchman’s total of 31 Champions League goals.
Robben made 110 appearances in the competition for PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, lifting the trophy with Bayern in 2013.
With 30 goals in 85 Champions League appearances for Manchester United
and Everton, Rooney more than made his mark in Europe’s top club competition.
But arguably his most memorable UCL moment came in his very first game…
Eto’o was an awesome striker at his peak, winning the Champions League with both Barcelona and Inter Milan during his career.
But, with 30 goals in 78 appearances, his total has already been overtaken by a merciless Haaland.
The Uruguayan made 73 appearances in the Champions League for Ajax, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid between the years of 2010 and 2022. He scored 27 goals – one fewer than Haaland.
The forward lifted the trophy in 2015, having played a starring role in Barcelona’s famous treble, with seven goals in the competition, including their all-important second against Juventus in the final.
Suarez is Barcelona’s third all-time top goalscorer and undoubtedly one of the best strikers of his generation but he’s been outscored in Europe’s most prestigious cup competition by a 22-year-old. Terrifying.
Fair enough, Scholes was a midfielder so it’s not exactly a fair comparison.
But the remarkable thing is Manchester United’s former No.18 is his sheer longevity in the competition. The midfielder made his Champions League debut in 1994 and made his last appearance in Europe in 2012.
Scholes won it twice and appeared in three finals. He featured in 17 different seasons, made 124 Champions League appearances – over 100 more than Haaland – scoring 24 goals, including some belters.
READ: A celebration of Paul Scholes’ goal against Barcelona, his greatest ever
The England international made his Champions League bow back in 2014-15, with a five-year headstart on Haaland. No player has more appearances under Pep Guardiola, and for seven years Sterling featured regularly for a Manchester City side that were among the favourites to win it.
He scored his 25th Champions League goal – and first in the competition for Chelsea – in a 1-1 draw with RB Salzburg, but the same evening Haaland scored yet again to remain ahead. The Norway international looks likely to streak away in the coming months and years.
The Argentinian featured as a centre-go for some of Europe’s most glamorous clubs – Real Madrid, Juventus and Napoli – with almost four times as many Champions League appearances as Haaland, 83 to the Norwegian’s 23.
It’s easy to scoff at Higuain and remember him trudging around the pitch with a pained expression, but for a period he was one of the best strikers around, particularly at Napoli and early on at Juventus.
Robin van Persie
Van Persie featured in 11 different Champions League campaigns for Arsenal and Manchester United. He scored 25 goals in 59 appearances, at a more than respectable rate of almost one-in-two.
A few years back, you wouldn’t have believed it would be possible for a 22-year-old to eclipse his goalscoring record. Yet here we are.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have dominated the European competition over the past five years and Mane has been among their most outstanding players.
The 30-year-old has started in three finals, scoring in one, and is now up to 57 Champions League appearances. Twenty-seven goals in that time was a more than decent record – still is – but Haaland’s arrival has skewed the scales somewhat.
The Argentinian great boasted a wonderfully decorated career. He scored in the Champions League for five different clubs – Parma, Lazio, Inter, Chelsea and AC Milan – across nine seasons featuring in the competition.
Twenty-five goals in 65 appearances, including for nine for Inter in 2002-03, always looked an impressive return. A little less so when you place it next to Haaland.
When you think of the former Spain international tearing apart Real Madrid for Liverpool, lifting Ol’ Big Ears with Chelsea, or enjoying a late-career swansong back at boyhood club Atletico Madrid, you might be surprised to hear he only scored 20 Champions League goals.
None more memorable than this one.
The England captain has scored 21 goals in 31 Champions League appearances. That’s the best goals-to-game ratio of the players we’ve selected here by some distance, bettered only by you-know-who.
Terroriser of Maicon. A five-time Champions League winner. Scorer of arguably the greatest goal in European Cup history.
Fewer goals in the competition than Haaland. We need a lie-down.
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