Lionel Messi made his Champions League debut for Barcelona in 2004 at the age of 18. The Spanish team was eliminated in the round of 16, but European soccer fans got a chance to witness the emergence of the wizard that season. Messi scored his first Champions League goal in November 2005 against Panathinaikos, a 5-0 home win for Barcelona. Since then, Messi has scored a total of 80 goals in the Champions League group stage, playing for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) until last season. The talismanic striker will not take part in the Champions League this season due to a summer switch to Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami.
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It’s impossible to avoid mentioning Cristiano Ronaldo’s name when discussing the Champions League. League. The Portuguese followed Messi on the list of top scorers in the group stage of the competition. Playing for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, Ronaldo took part in 98 Champions League group stage matches, scoring a total of 73 goals. Like Messi, Ronaldo will also not take part in the current Champions League season as he moved to Saudi Arabia in January this year.
Robert Lewandowski has already established himself as one of the greatest strikers to ever play in European soccer. He is one of the few players to reach the century mark in terms of Champions League appearances. Lewandowski made his European soccer debut in 2011 with Borussia Dortmund. After moving to Bayern Munich in 2014, he became the most popular player. In the group stage of the Champions League, the Pole has already scored 61 goals. Lewandowski moved to Barcelona last year in the summer, but the Catalans failed towhether to secure a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League in the 2022-23 season.
After winning five Champions Leagues with Real Madrid, Karim Benzema left Europe this summer to join Saudi Arabian champions Al Ittihad. The Frenchman played his first Champions League game for Lyon in 2005, playing in a Round of 16 match against Werder Bremen. Four years later, he moved to Madrid and has been hugely successful with the Blancos. Benzema is currently the fourth top scorer in the Champions League group stage with 56 goals.
Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez, who retired from soccer in 2014, still ranks fifth on the Champions League group stage top scorer list with 53 goals. During his illustrious club career, Raul won the European Championship three times with Real Madrid.