The UEFA Champions League is one of the world’s most influential and celebrated competitions in the entirety of European Football. Winning the UEFA Champions League grants potentially one of the most prestigious trophies in world football to the victor – but, as many clubs have found, the challenge posed by the UEFA Champions League is uniquely challenging.
It’s not surprising once you learn how the Champions League operates – the winner of the previous Championship automatically qualifies to ensure they get to defend their title. As for the rest of the participants, 26 places are generally allocated automatically for the top finishers in the primary European leagues. After that, there are some complex criteria to determine who will fill the remaining six slots. Let’s take a look.
Participants of the UEFA Champions League 2021/22
|No. of Teams||Country||Qualified Teams|
|5||Spain||Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Villarreal|
|4||England||Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea|
|4||Germany||Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, VfL Wolfsburg|
|4||Italy||Inter Milan, Atalanta, AC Milan, Juventus|
|3||Portugal||Sporting CP, Porto, Benfica|
|2||France||LOSC Lille, Paris Saint-Germain|
|2||Ukraine||Dynamo Kiev, Shakhtar Donetsk|
|1||Russia||Zenit St. Petersburg|
|1||Switzerland||BSC Young Boys|
Soccer fans reading this list know that the Champions League means business – some of these teams have top scorers who have or are world record holders. Champions League is the competition for the masses but some like the World Cup because it pits the best against each other. It’s a second-tier that sits atop European football, which is a dream come true for bettors – you have so much information from the various Premier Leagues, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Super Liga, making an informed decision on how to bet on the Champions League is quite a task, in all honesty.
The Top Scorers
Speaking of betting, placing a bet on who will score the most goals or whether Messi will dethrone Ronaldo are worthwhile and exciting bets to try. When I was researching this article, I noticed that the only vaguely familiar English name amongst the top 20 was Thierry Henry, but it’s still a French name.
The bottom of the table is filled up with Didier Drogba, Fernando Morientes, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The top half features the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo is the current champion and has scored 135 goals during the Champions League history which began in 1955. Of course, Ronaldo is younger than this – his 135 goals all crossed the line during the past 19 seasons, and this year marks his 20th season as the jewel in Portugal’s crown. Lionel Messi has been chasing him down, with 120 goals on his scorecard – although the gap is widening, much to Messi’s dismay.
Here is the full table of top scorers in the Champions League since the inaugural season of the tournament in its current format, which took place in 1992:
Data courtesy of Statista
Messi Vs Ronaldo – The Ultimate Soccer Battle?
Two men sit at the top of the table whose football-playing prowess has made them household names in dozens of countries worldwide. Such is the dominance of these two men as far as the “most goals scored” metric is concerned. I doubt any other player is making a serious attempt to catch up to them.
Argentina’s legendary Lion has so many world records; you’ll be lucky if your monitor is large enough to display them all on-screen at once. Even choosing the best of them to list here is difficult, but after much careful thought, here are Lionel Messi’s top five soccer world records:
- Most FIFA World Player of the Year/FIFA Ballon d’Or/Best FIFA Men’s Player Awards (6)
- Guinness World Record for top goal scorer for club and country in one year (91 Goals in 2012)
- Most trophies won with a single club (672 for Barcelona)
- Longest goalscoring run in consecutive matches of a domestic league (21 Matches, 33 Goals, 2012
- Most “Man of the Match” awards won in a World Cup Final (6)
It was tough picking these out from Messi’s frankly ludicrous list of world records. Without a doubt, Messi is one of the greatest players of the modern era.
Unsurprisingly, Ronaldo boasts a similarly lengthy record of world records and achievements. He is one of the few players to have racked up more than 1,100 appearances on the pitch for club and country and has scored a mammoth 795 goals during those matches. I guess it’s only fair to pick a few of his best records, isn’t it!
- Most goals scored as a senior/professional (795)
- The first player to score ten international hat tricks (2013-2021)
- Guinness World Record as the most famous man on Facebook
- Real Madrid’s all-time top goal scorer (460)
- Top Goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League (105)
Ronaldo’s last achievement there seems like the perfect way to sign off our discussion of the UEFA Champions League. Many have argued that the Champions League is the Championship that separates the professionals from the amateurs. Having investigated the competition thoroughly whilst writing this article, I have to agree – forget the World Cup – THIS is the contest that determines the world’s best players!