The Champions League has been the go-to competition for the some of finest ever players – the crème de la crème – to have played the beautiful game. And these footballers have lived up to the reputation of arguably the greatest tournament in sports, breaking records and etching priceless memories on club’s football showdown event.
Overall, 16 players have scored four or more goals in one Champions League match. Here we look at the UEFA Champions League’s most fascinating one-man performances that will go down in history – four-goal hauls (or five) that blew opposition away.
Note: this list is based partially on three factors – the average goal per minute ratio of all players with four or more goals in a single UCL match, the quality and significance of the performance
- Dada Prso: AS Monaco 8-3 Deportivo La Coruna | 2003/04 UCL season
As virtually an unknown name among the list of greats, birthday boy Dado Prso knocked in 4 goals on his 29th birthday. In of Champions League’s greatest ever nights, Prso scored four in 23 minutes to put Monaco seven goals up in one of the competition’s highest ever scoring matches.
- Serge Gnabry: Tottenham Hotspur 2-7 Bayern Munich | 2019/20 UCL season
Former Arsenal youth product Serge Gnabry returned to London after three years, in 2019, and lit up the stadium of his former North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. The German winger was electric on the night when he scored four stupendous goals in only 35 minutes and gifted Bayern a staggering 7-2 scoreline – a rout in its truest sense.
- Andriy Shevchenko: Fenerbahce 0-4 AC Milan | 2005/06 UCL season
Just months after the heartbreak in Istanbul at the hands of Liverpool, 2004 Ballon d’Or winner Shevchenko got back to scoring ways by bagging four in the space of 60 minutes away at Fenerbahce and became the first ever player to score four in a Champions League away match.
- Lionel Messi: Barcelona 7-1 Bayer Leverkusen | 2011/12 UCL season
As the first player ever to score five goals in one Champions League night, Messi was unstoppable on the night as he battered the German visitors relentlessly and reached the five-goal tally in just 60 minutes, averaging a goal every 12 minutes. A once-in-a-lifetime performance by the Barcelona legend.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Anderlecht 0-5 Paris Saint-Germain | 2013/14 UCL season
Swedish superstar Ibrahimovic knocked in four strikes away at Anderlecht in only 45 minutes. The second one was a wonderful spontaneous backheel tap-in but the successive strike was the night’s highlight – a thunderous 30-yard effort that blasted in the top corner. A truly magnificent display by the big Swede.
- Marco Van Basten: AC Milan 4-0 IFK Göteborg (4-0) | 1992/93 UCL season
The first player ever to score four goals in a Champions League match, Marco Van Basten knocked in four goals in only 30 minutes against Swedish side Göteborg in the inaugural version of the rebranded tournament. The pick of his four-goal lot was his hattrick third goal, a superb overhead bicycle kick from just inside the penalty box.
Italian tactician Fabio Capello famously remarked after the four-goal haul: “I would rate him 9.5, only because I don’t think perfection exists.”
- Lionel Messi: Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal | 2009/10 UCL season
Arguably one of the greatest ever Champions League performances by a player, Messi’s outstanding quartet was simply perfect. Barcelona were at their peak and their main man took full advantage of their form, with each goal being unique in their own right. He scored 4 goals in 67 minutes to put Arsenal to the sword.
- Robert Lewandowski: Borussia Dortmund 4–1 Real Madrid | 2012/13 UCL season
Although he scored 4 goals in 14 minutes against Crvena Zvezda in 2019/20, his terrific four-goal haul against Real Madrid in the 2012/13 Champions League semi-finals was a work of art. Lewandowski was relentless against a Los Blancos side led by Jose Mourinho, single-handedly pushing Dortmund into the final.
Top football betting sites predict Robert Lewandowski to top goalscoring charts once again, after his 15-goal exploits in the 2019/20 treble-winning season. Erling Haaland, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku are forecasted to trail the Polish marksman closely. One can find out the best betting markets and bookmakers to invest in, along with a host of other resources such as where to find the best odds and understanding the basics itself. Players – whether old or new – can access a whole range of bonuses and rewards such as free bets, loyalty schemes, cashbacks etc.
The UEFA Champions League is a one-of-a-kind tournament that pits some of the best in the sport against each other. The 2021/22 season is bound to bring in surprises as any new season does and who knows who will end up as the 17th player to score four goals in the record books.