Over the years, the UEFA Champions League has been graced by a plethora of world-class players, particularly goal scorers.
Throughout the competition’s three decades, many outstanding players have scored numerous goals, some for multiple clubs. The trend has continued in the 2021-22 edition of Europe’s premier club football competition.
There have already been a number of braces (scoring two goals in a game) in the first four matchdays of the 2021-22 Champions League. On that note, here are the ten players with the most braces in the competition’s history.
Unless otherwise stated, all stats are from Transfermarkt.
Number 5: Raul (Retired) 14
Raul is regarded as one of the greatest strikers in Champions League history. In the competition, the Real Madrid legend scored over 70 goals, with all but five of them coming for Los Blancos.
Former Spain international is one of the youngest players to score a hat-trick in the Champions League, having done so in 1995. Raul did not score another hat-trick in the competition, but he did rack up a slew of braces.
Except one, the three-time Champions League winner scored all but one of his 14 Champions League doubles with Real Madrid. Raul’s only brace in the competition, however, inspired Schalke to a memorable victory over Inter Milan. Raul had his best season in the competition in the 1999-2000 season, scoring ten goals in Madrid’s triumphant campaign.
Number 4: Karim Benzema – 17
Karim Benzema is one of the most prolific scorers in Champions League history.
The four-time champion is one of only two players to have scored in all 17 seasons. In his last 12 Champions League campaigns, he has scored at least once.
Except for two, all of his 17 Champions League doubles have come for Real Madrid. Los Blancos defeated Shakhtar Donetsk on Matchday 4 of the 2021-22 Champions League thanks to Benzema’s latest brace. The outcome aided the team’s ascension to the top of their group.
Benzema has also scored two Champions League hat-tricks, both with Real Madrid.
Number 3: Robert Lewandowski 20
Robert Lewandowski is one of the most prolific strikers in Champions League history.
For quite some time, Bayern Munich’s marksman has been on a roll across all competitions. He scored 15 goals in the 2019-20 Champions League season to win his first title. Lewandowski has been on a tear this season after scoring only five goals last season.
With his hat-trick against Benfica on Matchday 4, Lewandowski became only the sixth player in competition history to score in his 100th game. It was his fourth hat-trick in the Champions League, which only two other players have accomplished.
It’s no surprise that Lewandowski has a habit of scoring a brace in the Champions League. Thirteen of his 20 competition braces have come with Bayern Munich, including two this season.
Number 2: Lionel Messi 34
Lionel Messi is one of the best players in the history of the game. He is one of only two players in Champions League history to have scored over 100 goals and eight hat-tricks.
Throughout his illustrious career. Messi has four Champions League titles, two of which came as part of continental trebles. In the competition, the 34-year-old has scored all but one of his 34 braces for Barcelona.
Messi, now at PSG, scored his first brace for the club against Leipzig on Matchday 3. Messi and Benzema are the only players in Champions League history to have scored in 17 consecutive seasons.
Number 1: Cristiano Ronaldo 38
Cristiano Ronaldo, like Messi, is widely regarded as one of the game’s greatest players.
Ronaldo is a colossus in the Champions League. He is the competition’s all-time leading scorer with 139 goals. Ronaldo is the only player in Champions League history to have won five titles and to have scored more braces than any other player.
Manchester United forced a share of the spoils in the Champions League with a brace from the 36-year-old away at Atalanta.
Ronaldo, like Messi, has eight hat-tricks in the competition, four more than anyone else. Ronaldo scored in this season’s four Champions League games, totaling five goals.