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The fastest players to 40 Champions League goals

Another game, another record for Erling Haaland. There’s no goalscoring landmark that appears safe from the Manchester City man, who continues to find the net with record-breaking regularity.

Haaland scored his 40th Champions League goal to help Manchester City to a 3-2 comeback win against RB Leipzig this week, a result which seals the holder’s progress to the knockout rounds as group winners.

Haaland’s effort kickstarted the comeback for Pep Guardiola’s side and added another record to his rapidly growing collection. No player has ever scored 40 Champions League goals in less games than the Norwegian, who has already broken into the competition’s all-time top 20 goalscorers.

The fastest players to 40 Champions League goals:

=5. Robert Lewandowski – 61 games

Robert Lewandowski took 61 games to reach 40 goals in the Champions League, with the forward now third for all-time goals.

The Poland international has scored 92 times in Europe’s top competition and will hope to join Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the only men to reach a Champions League century.

Barcelona booked their place in this season’s knockout rounds with a 2-1 win against FC Porto this week.

=5. Lionel Messi – 61 games

Lionel Messi also needed 61 games to score 40 goals in the Champions League.

Messi is a four-time winner of the competition and scored in Barcelona’s final successes against Manchester United in 2009 and 2011.

The Argentine holds the record for most Champions League opponents scored against (40) and for the most goals scored for a single club, having netted 120 goals in the competition for Barcelona.

3. Kylian Mbappe – 59 games

Kylian Mbappe is viewed as Haaland’s leading competition when it comes to the world’s best forward, but trails behind the Manchester City machine in this list.

Mbappe took 59 games to reach 40 goals in the Champions League, during spells with AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain.

The France captain scored his 43rd goal in the tournament with a late penalty against Newcastle this week, leaving him 16th on the all-time top scorers list, level with former PSG teammate Neymar.

2. Ruud van Nistelrooy – 45 games

Just five players have ever scored more Champions League goals than Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was the competition’s premier marksman in the early noughties.

Van Nistelrooy led the Champions League’s goal chart three times in four seasons during a prolific period at Manchester United, where the Dutchman blasted home 150 goals in 219 games for the Red Devils over five seasons.

Van Nistelrooy also scored Champions League goals for PSV Eindhoven and Real Madrid, but never got his hands on Europe’s biggest prize.

1. Erling Haaland – 35 games

Erling Haaland, as he so often does, has obliterated the previous record.

Haaland needed just 35 games to reach 40 goals in the Champions League and boasts better than a goal-per-game ratio in the competition.

After hitting a hat-trick on his UCL debut for Red Bull Salzburg, the Norwegian has failed to stop scoring.

At Borussia Dortmund, he became the youngest top scorer in a Champions League or European Cup season in 2020/21, aged 20 years, 231 days.

Haaland then led the competition for goals again as Manchester City were crowned European champions for the first time last season, completing treble success with a 1-0 win over Inter Milan in Istanbul.

Haaland’s record comes just days after smashing the Premier League record for fastest to 50 goals (48 games), beating Andy Cole’s benchmark by a staggering 17 appearances.

Read – Five iconic individual Champions League performances

See more – Noughties Nines: Filippo Inzaghi and the glee of goals

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