10 Players Who Took The Least Games To Score 40 Goals In The UEFA Champions League: Lionel Messi Is In 4th Place

Lionel Messi Has Played Third-Most Matches In Champions League History
Lionel Messi Has Played Third-Most Matches In Champions League History

The magnificent Erling Haaland was on the scoresheet as Manchester City came from behind to secure a 3-2 victory over RB Leipzig on Matchday 5 of the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League season on Tuesday (November 29). The goal took the Norwegian’s Champions League tally to 40 goals in just 35 games.

Below, we will check out the 10 players who have taken the least games to reach the 40-goal mark and figure out where Haaland lands. Let’s begin!

Stats: Transfermarkt

#10 Sergio Aguero – 72 Games

Sergio Aguero Scored 40 Champions League Goals In 72 Games
Having Scored 260 Goals, Sergio Aguero Is Manchester City’s All-Time Leading Scorer

Erling Haaland’s predecessor at Manchester City, Sergio Aguero took 72 games to take his Champions League goal tally to 40. The former Argentine center-forward scored a total of 41 goals and provided nine assists in 79 UCL games before retiring in December 2021.

Aguero never won the Champions League but enjoyed quite a few memorable campaigns. His best came in 2013-14, during which he scored six times and claimed three assists in six games.

#9 Andriy Shevchenko – 72 Games

Andriy Shevchenko Scored 40 Champions League Goals In 72 Matches
Andriy Shevchenko Won One Champions League Trophy With AC Milan

Former Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, and Chelsea star Andriy Shevchenko played 100 Champions League games before hanging up his boots in July 2012. He scored 48 times in that stretch, with the first 40 goals coming in 72 games.

Shevchenko, who won the Champions League in the 2002-03 season with AC Milan, was at his most productive in 2005-06. The Ukrainian scored nine times in 12 games as Milan lost to Barcelona in the semi-finals.

#8 Filippo Inzaghi – 69 Games

Filippo Inzaghi Scored 40 Champions League Goals In 69 Games
Filippo Inzaghi Won 2 UCL Trophies With AC Milan

In eighth place, we have legendary former Italy superstar Filippo Inzaghi. The ex-Juventus and AC Milan ace scored 40 goals in only 69 games in the Champions League. Before retiring in July 2012, Inzaghi played a total of 81 UCL games, netting 46 goals and claiming six assists.

Inzaghi won two Champions Leagues with Milan, first in 2002-03 and another in 2006-07. In 2002-03, he amassed 10 goals and three assists to fire the Rosonerri to Champions League glory.

#7 Karim Benzema – 67 Games

Karim Benzema Took 67 Games To Score 40 UCL Goals
Karim Benzema Has Won 5 UCL Trophies In His Career

Former Real Madrid ace Karim Benzema required 67 matches to take his goal tally to 40 in the UEFA Champions League. The Frenchman, who left Los Blancos for Al-Ittihad in July, scored 90 goals and provided 30 assists in 152 UCL games prior to his European exit.

Benzema won the Champions League a whopping five times (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022) as a Real Madrid player. His greatest campaign, which is also one of the best by an individual in UCL history, came in the 2021-22 season. The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner scored an astonishing 15 goals and provided two assists in 12 games. More impressively, 10 of his goals came in the knockouts (2 hat-tricks, 1 brace).

#6 Neymar – 65 Games

Neymar Took 65 Games To Score 40 Champions League Goals
Neymar Came Close To Winning The Ballon d’Or in 2015.

Brazilian superstar Neymar shockingly left Paris Saint-Germain for Al-Hilal in the summer transfer window. Prior to his unexpected departure from Europe, Neymar scored 43 goals and provided 36 assists in 81 matches. The former Barcelona and PSG ace scored his first 40 UCL goals in 65 matches.

Neymar’s best-ever Champions League campaign in 2014-15. The 31-year-old scored 10 goals in 12 matches as Barcelona won their fifth European Cup.

#5 Robert Lewandowski – 61 Games

Robert Lewandowski Scored 40 UCL Goals In 61 Games
Robert Lewandowski is Bundesliga’s Second-Leading Scorer Of All Time

One of the finest strikers of the 21st century, Robert Lewandowski needed 61 matches to reach the 40-goal mark in the UEFA Champions League. Lewandowski has scored a total of 92 Champions League goals in 115 games across Borussia Dortmund, Bayern, and Barcelona.

The Polish striker was at his devastating best in the 2019-20 season. He scored 15 goals and provided six assists in 10 games as the Bavarians won the Champions League.

#4 Lionel Messi – 61 Games

Barcelona Legend Lionel Messi Took 61 Games To Reach 40 Champions League Goals
Lionel Messi Has Won The UCL Trophy 4 Times

Arguably the greatest player of this generation, Lionel Messi scored 129 goals in 163 matches in the UEFA Champions League before leaving for MLS side Inter Miami in July. The second-highest goalscorer in UCL history (behind Cristiano Ronaldo) took 61 games to score his first 40 goals.

Messi has won the Champions League four times (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015), with all of his triumphs coming as a Barcelona player. His best-ever campaign, however, came in 2011-12. Messi scored 14 goals in 10 games before Barca were knocked out by Bayern Munich

#3 Kylian Mbappe – 59 Games

Kylian Mbappe Took 59 Games To Score 50 Champions League Goals
Kylian Mbappe Is PSG’s Most Valuable Player At €180 Million

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) superstar Kylian Mbappe took 59 matches to score 40 goals in the UEFA Champions League. Currently, he is on 43 goals after playing 66 games across PSG and Monaco. The France international also has 26 assists to his name in the competition.

Mbappe’s best season in the Champions League came in 2020-21, during which he scored eight times and provided three assists in 10 games.

#2 Ruud van Nistelrooy – 45 Games

Ruud van Nistelrooy Scored 40 Champions League Goals In 45 Games
Ruud van Nistelrooy Won The Premier League Golden Boot In 2002-03

In the second place, we have former Manchester United and Real Madrid strike Ruud van Nistelrooy. The Dutchman took just 45 games to score 40 goals in the UEFA Champions League.

Before retiring in July 2012, Nistelrooy played a total of 73 games in the competition, scoring 56 times and providing 18 assists.

Nistelrooy enjoyed his best-ever Champions League campaign in the 2002-03 season while playing for Manchester United. He scored 12 goals and provided four assists in only nine games as United were eliminated in the quarter-finals against Real Madrid.

#1 Erling Haaland – 35 Games

Manchester City Star Erling Haaland Has Scored 40 UCL Goals In 35 Games
Erling Haaland Averages 1.14 Goals/Game In UCL

Manchester City goalmachine Erling Haaland has been the quickest to score 40 goals in the history of the UEFA Champions League, with him reaching the milestone in only 35 games. Out of his 40 UCL goals, 17 have come for City, 15 for Borussia Dortmund, and eight for RB Salzburg.

Haaland enjoyed his best-ever Champions League campaign in 2022-23. His 12 goals in 11 games proved to be crucial as Manchester City clinched their first-ever UCL trophy.

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