Darwin Nunez is ahead of some big names

8 surprising players with a superior UCL goal-per-minute ratio to Messi & Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are two of the greatest players to have ever graced the Champions League, but several surprising names boast a superior goal-per-minute ratio in the competition.

Scoring goals is deemed to be the hardest thing in football, but players like Ronaldo and Messi have made it look easy over the years, especially in the Champions League.

Both players are the highest scorers in the history of the competition, but you’d be surprised by just how many forwards have managed to score at a greater rate than them in Europe.

Surprisingly, eight players rank ahead of both Ronaldo and Messi when it comes to their goal-per-minute ratio in the Champions League. We’ve taken a closer look at those eight names and have compared their stats.

Note: this data only takes into consideration goals after the year 2000. It’s also worth noting that players such as Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ciro Immobile and Robert Lewandowski rank between Ronaldo and Messi, but haven’t been included on this list.

10. Cristiano Ronaldo – 114 minutes per goal

Ronaldo’s name is synonymous with the Champions League. A five-time winner and the competition’s all-time top scorer, his name is etched into European history.

In total, he’s scored 140 Champions League goals in 15,914 minutes of football. That means he averages a goal every 114 minutes in Europe. While that return is very impressive, it’s not good enough to earn him the top spot on this list.

=8. Lionel Messi – 105 minutes per goal

While Messi has scored fewer goals than Ronaldo in Europe, he does boast a slightly better goals-per-minute ratio. In 13,566 minutes of UCL football, Messi has managed to stick the ball in the back of the net 129 times.

Champions League nights these days just don’t hit the same without Messi and Ronaldo.

Messi has bagged against a wide variety of opponents.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every club Lionel Messi has scored against in the UCL?

=8. Gabriel Jesus – 105 minutes per goal

Amazingly, Jesus has the exact same minutes-per-goal ratio as Messi in the Champions League. We were just as surprised to learn this fact as you no doubt are.

The Brazilian forward is aided by the fact that a lot of his Champions League appearances for Manchester City came from the bench. He’s managed to score nine UCL goals in just 931 minutes, giving him an impressive 105 minutes-per-goal average.

=6. Roberto Soldado – 102 minutes per goal

Considering he couldn’t hit a barn door during his time with Tottenham, it’s quite surprising that Soldado has such a good Champions League record.

The Spanish striker scored the bulk of his European goals during his stint with Valencia, before his move to the Premier League.

In 1,627 minutes of Champions League football, Soldado managed to score 16 goals which is a more than respectable return. It’s a shame Premier League fans never saw the best of him.

=6. Mario Gomez – 102 minutes per goal

Given that the German forward made 44 UCL appearances throughout his career, it’s impressive that he managed to maintain such a consistent scoring record.

Predominantly playing for Bayern Munich, Gomez scored 26 Champions League goals in 2,640 minutes. That gives him a slightly superior goals-per-minute ratio than both Ronaldo and Messi.

5. Darwin Nunez – 101 minutes per goal

It seems utterly bonkers on the surface, but Nunez does indeed boast a tremendously good UCL record – it was his prolific spell in Europe with Benfica that first alerted Liverpool to his talents.

Nunez has scored 10 Champions League goals from just 1,006 minutes of football which is some effort. If he was to never play in the competition again, he’d retire with a better goal ratio than Messi and Ronaldo.

You can’t help but love him.

READ: 10 of Darwin Nunez’s funniest moments from fighting thin air to absurd finishes…

4. Julian Alvarez – 89 minutes per goal

The Argentine forward has already managed to complete football at the tender age of 24. Already a World Cup, Premier League and Champions League winner, he’s won almost every big trophy on offer.

His goal record is aided by the fact that he’s only made 15 UCL appearances, but his output is still impressive nonetheless.

It’s worth remembering that he was on the scoresheet in last year’s Champions League semi-final as Manchester City disassembled Real Madrid. In total, he’s got eight goals in 713 minutes.

3. Wissam Ben Yedder – 87 minutes per goal

The Monaco forward hasn’t played in the Champions League since 2017-18, but boy was he prolific when he last got his chance in the competition.

In just 873 minutes of UCL football, the French forward has scored 10 goals, meaning he averages a strike every 87 minutes. That’s some return.

2. Sebastien Haller – 75 minutes per goal

Haller’s European record is massively boosted thanks to his unbelievably prolific campaign with Ajax in 2021-22. During that campaign, he scored 11 goals and was only outscored by Lewandowski and Karim Benzema.

Taking his full UCL record into consideration, the former West Ham striker has averaged a goal every 75 minutes in the competition which earns him the second spot.

1. Erling Haaland – 71 minutes per goal

We’ve almost run out of superlatives to describe Haaland’s goalscoring greatness. Having played 2,894 minutes and scored 41 goals, he’s scoring at a rate that has never been seen in the modern era of the competition.

If Haaland were to play as many minutes in the Champions League as Ronaldo throughout his career while maintaining his current strike rate, he would end his career with a record 224 UCL goals. God help us all.

Players with the best minutes per goal ratio in the Champions League since 2000

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TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the 35 top goalscorers in Champions League history?