UEFA Champions League Trophy
Wembley Stadium in London will host its eight European Cup/Champions League final and the first since 2013 Via @wembleystadium on X/Twitter

SEATTLE - Since its inception in 1955 as Europe's premiere club competition, the European Cup -now known as the UEFA Champions League- has seen the best soccer players from all around the world have moved to Europe for a chance to conquer the trophy with the big ol' ears.

This year, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund will determine the newest champion of a competition that is almost 60 years old. As a way to remember past and present legends, we take a look at some of the achievements and records set by Latinos throughout the history of the competition.

Most goals in European Cup/Champions League finals

Before Pelé and Diego Maradona took the pitch, Alfredo Di Stéfano was arguably the best player in the world. Born in Buenos Aires, Di Stéfano played for River Plate, Huracán and Colombian team Millonarios before making the move to the other side of the Atlantic.

He signed with Real Madrid in 1953 and the rest is history. Di Stéfano, alongside his then teammate Ferenc Puskás, are the players with the most goals ever scored in the history of the competition's final with seven.

His seven goals came in five different finals, a record. Out of those seven goals, three of them came in the 1960 final against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Alfredo Di Stéfano tribute video by Real Madrid's official YouTube channel

Most Champions League titles

Two Latinos are at the top of the leaderboards when it comes to titles in the Champions League era (since 1992). The Brazilian duo of Casemiro and Marcelo have won the trophy a record five times since the change of format. Despite being part of all five Real Madrid triumphs, the Brazilians saw action in four of the finals.

The all-time record belongs to Paco Gento, who won six titles with Real Madrid between 1955 and 1966. Luka Modric and Dani Carvajal (both 5) could tie Gento's record with a Madrid win over Dortmund on June 1.

Marcelo, Real Madrid
After Real Madrid's win over Liverpool in the 2022 UCL final, both Marcelo and Casemiro won their fifth UCL title (T-most all-time) Via realmadrid.com

Most goals by a Latino in a single season

The most goals scored by a player of Latin American descent in the history of the competition is 14 goals, done by Brazilian-Italian José Altafini with Milan in 1962-63 and most recently by Lionel Messi in 2011-12.

Out of Messi's 14 goals that season, five of them came against Bayer Leverkusen in the quarterfinals (tied for the record in the competition).

Messi scores 5 goals against Bayer Leverkusen (7-1) Season 2011/12

Players with goals in European Cup/World Cup finals

Messi is one of two Latinos to have ever scored a goal in each of the two most prestigious finals in the world of soccer: the European Cup/Champions League and World Cup finals.

The first one to accomplish such feat was the Uruguayan Juan Alberto Schiaffino scoring for Milan in the 1958 European Cup final and the opening goal of the 1950 World Cup final known as the "Maracanazo."

With his goal against France in the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Messi joined Schiaffino in the prestigious club having already scored at the 2009 and 2011 UCL finals for Barcelona.

Hat trick in an European Cup final

Di Stéfano is one of only three players with a hat trick in an European Cup final. The Argentine and fellow Real Madrid teammate Puskás joined the list in 1960 after they demolished Eintracht Frankfurt to win their fifth consecutive title.

European Cup final 1960 | Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt

Most goals and appearances by a Latino in the UCL era

Just as you probably guessed, Lionel Messi is the holder of this distinction. The Argentine scored 129 goals in the competition and appeared in 177 games before moving to the United States. He is the only Latino in the history of the competition to rank in the top 10 for both goals and appearances.

Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona
Lionel Messi scored two goals in two UCL finals for Barcelona (2009, 2011), both against Manchester United Via cnn.com/AFP/Getty Images

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