Barcelona Approach Milestone In Champions League Encounter With Liverpool
The 2018/19 Champions League brings a tasty set of semi-final fixtures this week.
Last year’s finalists Liverpool - five-time winners of the European Cup in their own right - take on the global powerhouse that is Barcelona, who are on the verge of their fourth success in the tournament in the past decade.
Whether or not Ernesto Valverde’s recently-crowned La Liga winners see off Jürgen Klopp’s Premier League-chasing Reds, it will be fair to say Barcelona will have passed a remarkable threshold.
Barcelona are now one away from 500 goals in the Champions League since Guillermo Amor opened their account at Camp Nou 27 years ago. Astonishingly, their talisman and arguably the greatest player of all time Lionel Messi has contributed 110 of them, or 22% of their overall haul since the new format’s conception in 1992/93.
Messi - who came fifth in the Ballon d’Or selection order last year - is currently on course to finish the competition’s top scorer once again, for the sixth time, currently four clear of nearest challenger Dusan Tadic of Ajax.
Only La Liga rivals Real Madrid have scored more than the Blaugrana. The 13-time champions have 551 goals in the Champions League-era. Cristiano Ronaldo - now of Juventus - provided 105 for them in his nine-year Real career.
Here are the clubs who top the goalscoring charts in the Champions League.
As of 29th April 2019, on the eve of the Semi-Finals of the 2018/19 Champions League
1. Real Madrid endured a torrid campaign on all fronts having won the last three Champions League tournaments in a row. They lead the pack in the goalscoring charts, befitting their status of holding the most European trophies. Los Blancos now have 551 goals in 259 (2.13 goals per game) with figures such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Ruud van Nistelrooy, and Raúl all having donned the famous white shirt and making their way onto the top 10 goalscorers list. In the European Cup in its entirety of its format, Madrid have scored upwards of 950 goals. Safe to say don’t bet against them hitting that ‘1000’ in the next few seasons.
2. The only team in Europe’s major leagues to have won the continental treble twice, Barcelona are on the verge of accomplishing that feat again in 2018/19. Barcelona have seen off Olympique Lyonnais and Manchester United in the knockout rounds en route to the semi-finals. Though he has failed to score in his two previous appearances against their last-four opponents Liverpool, Lionel Messi has scored 24 goals in 32 matches against English opposition, and simply as he collects records like most others collect stamps, don’t back against him being the man to take the club past 500, now that they’re on 499 in 245 games (2.04 gpg).
3. Bayern Munich, the Bundesliga giants, have won the tournament twice, one less time than they’ve finished runners-up, at the hands of Manchester United, Internazionale, and Chelsea, respectively. The Bavarians however power into the top three for goalscoring charts, with Robert Lewandowski this season becoming their all-time record goalscorer in the competition, bypassing Thomas Müller. Munich have 454 in 241 games (1.88 gpg)
4. It’s been more than 10 years since Manchester United - England’s most successful football club - had any success in the Champions League, having suffered successive defeats to Barcelona in the finals in 2009 and 2011 at the Stadio Olimpico and Wembley Stadium. This year they again crashed out to the Blaugrana, and only scored seven goals in their six group games.
The Red Devils are in fourth for most goals scored, having tallied 373 in 224 fixtures (1.67 gpg). Ruud van Nistelrooy - who left the club in 2006 - remains the side’s all time top-scorer in the competition (35 goals).
5. Always the bridesmaid, it’s been almost a quarter of the century since Juventus last won the Champions League and not even record summer-signing Cristiano Ronaldo could do anything about it. After this season - where they crashed out to a far superior Ajax side in the Quarter-Finals - the Bianconeri have landed on 292 goals in 190 games (154 gpg). Legend Alessando Del Piero stays their highest contributor, with 42 goals.
Both Premier League clubs Arsenal and Chelsea sit just outside a top five berth, having been overtaken by Juventus and missing out a season due to lack of qualification. Both, however, find themselves in 2018/19 in the Semi-Finals of the Europa League.
6. Arsenal: 281 goals in 177 (1.59 gpg)
7. Chelsea: 266 goals in 155 (1.72 gpg)