Lionel Messi made yet more Champions League history in Barcelona’s group stage opener against Ferencváros in midweek, his opener from the penalty spot meaning he has now scored in a record 16 consecutive campaigns.
It’s another remarkable achievement for a player who has starred on the European stage for nearly two decades, his latest goal also seeing Messi set new landmarks for the most ever group stage goals and most goals scored by a captain in the Champions League.
Following his latest landmark of longevity we’ve decided to look at some other stars to have shone on the Champions League stage throughout their careers, here are the six players to have scored in the most different UCL seasons:
Arjen Robben – 13 seasons
One of the best wingers in world football at the peak of his considerable powers, Arjen Robben played some of his finest football in continental competition during spells at the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
His first Champions League goal came during the 2002/03 season when breaking through as a young prospect in the Netherlands, before winning three league titles during short spells in England and Spain.
The most successful period of his career came following a move to the Bundesliga, however, where he starred for Bayern for a decade, reaching three Champions League finals with the German giants and suffering both heartbreak and ecstasy.
Robben missed a crucial penalty as the Bavarian’s were defeated by former side Chelsea in 2012, before earning the ultimate redemption with a late winner to crown Bayern champions of Europe in the first all-German final against Borussia Dortmund the following year.
The former Dutch international’s record in the competition stands at 31 goals in 110 appearances, Robben having scored in 13 separate Champions League seasons.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 14 seasons
Cristiano Ronaldo stands clear as the greatest goalscorer in the history of the Champions League having represented some of the continent’s superpowers throughout a record-breaking career.
Ronaldo scored his first Champions League goal in the colours of Manchester United during a breakout 2006/07 season, finishing as the competition’s leading scorer for the first time the following year after winning the tournament in Moscow.
After one Champions League and one Ballon d’Or during his time in the Premier League, the Portuguese superstar completed a world-record move to Real Madrid where he continued his pathway to unprecedented success.
Ronaldo became the club’s all-time record goalscorer and was the defining figure in a golden period for the Spanish giants in continental competition, winning four trophies in just five seasons, including becoming the first team in history win consecutive Champions Leagues with a historic three-peat.
He is the only player in history to score in three finals and the only man to win the trophy five times in the Champions League era, his sights now set on lifting club football’s biggest prize with a third club after moving to Juventus two years ago.
The Italian champions hopes will be pinned on the 35-year-old who has now scored in 14 consecutive Champions League campaigns, scoring a staggering 130 goals in that time.
Karim Benzema – 15 seasons
Karim Benzema will soon be bidding to join Lionel Messi as just the second player to score in 16 consecutive Champions League seasons, with Real Madrid beginning their quest for another title against Shakhtar Donetsk this evening.
Benzema burst onto the scene at Lyon before making the move to the Bernabeu in 2009, becoming one of the Spanish giants most dependable servants and scoring 53 Champions League goals in the colours of Los Blancos.
The Frenchman has won four Champions League trophies since moving to Madrid and has scored in every single campaign, including a vital – if fortunate – goal in the club’s final victory over Liverpool in 2018.
Only four players have ever scored more goals in the competition than Benzema, the 32-year-old trailing only Ronaldo, Messi, Raul and Robert Lewandowski.
Raul – 15 seasons
Before the dawn of Ronaldo and Messi, there was Raul, the hometown hero amongst Real Madrid’s Galacticos and a player who regularly proved himself one of football’s finest on the Champions League stage.
Raul came through the academy ranks at the Bernabeu after crossing over from city rivals Atletico and immediately made an impression once handed his opportunity, briefly becoming the youngest player in the club’s history.
Some of his most defining moments came in the Champions League as he formed part of the side which won three editions of the tournament in just five seasons around the turn of the millennium, scoring in final victories over Valencia (2000) and Bayer Leverkusen (2002) and twice finishing as the tournament’s leading scorer.
He left the Spanish capital as the club and Champions League’s record goalscorer – both landmarks since eclipsed by Cristiano Ronaldo – spending two years with Schalke and stretching his goalscoring record to 15 different seasons.
Ryan Giggs – 16 seasons
Ryan Giggs became the most decorated footballer in British football history during a remarkable one-club career at Manchester United, spending more than two decades as a first-team regular as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side established themselves as England’s dominant force.
Winner of an incredible 13 league titles, United’s domestic dominance ensured regular entry into the Champions League and Giggs played his part in some memorable European campaigns at Old Trafford.
The Welsh winger scored in a joint-record 16 separate seasons and twice lifted the trophy, including as part of a historic Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble during the 1998/99 season.
Giggs was also part of the side that defeated Chelsea in the first ever all-English final in 2008 and scored his penalty in the shoot-out success in Moscow, with only four players having ever made more than his 141 Champions League appearances.
Lionel Messi – 16 seasons
Messi’s goal against Ferencváros set Barcelona on their way to a 5-1 victory against the Hungarian minnows and provided the six-time Ballon d’Or winner with yet more Champions League history, becoming the first player ever to score in 16 successive seasons.
The goal also saw the Argentine move level with previous record holder Giggs for 16 different seasons scored in and continued his remarkable run in Europe’s premier competition, one which he has regularly lit up during an unforgettable career.
Messi has won the trophy on four occasions with Barcelona and twice scored in final victories over Manchester United during the peak of Pep Guardiola’s reign at the Camp Nou, the 33-year-old sitting alongside Ronaldo as one of just two players to rack up a century of goals in the tournament.
No player amongst the Champions League’s all-time leading scorers can better his goal-per-game ratio, Messi having scored a phenomenal 116 goals in just 144 appearances amongst Europe’s elite.