UEFA Champions League Trophy
UEFA Champions League Trophy Via uefa.com/Getty Images

SEATTLE - When it comes to shining at the biggest stage, Latin American soccer players are, more often than not, second to none. This is especially the case when it comes to Europe's premiere club competition.

Ever since the creation of the European Cup, Latinos have always been part of its history. Alfredo Di Stéfano, Héctor Rial and José Altafini were some of the first pioneers before the Bosman ruling in 1995 facilitated the freedom of movement among European Union workers, a measure that allowed more Latin American players to cross the Atlantic to further their careers.

Past and present, we take a look at the players of Latin American descent with the most goals in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League.

Lionel Messi - 129 goals

Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona
Messi scored 120 UCL goals for Barcelona and nine for PSG Via fcbarcelona.com

All but nine of Messi's UCL goals came for the same club, which is a record in the competition. The Argentine's 120 goals for Barcelona surpass Cristiano Ronaldo's 105 scored during his decade-long career with Real Madrid.

He was the top scorer in the competition in six different seasons, the second-most only behind Ronaldo's seven. During his career-high 14-goal season in 2011-12, eight goals came in the knockout rounds.

Overall, out of Messi's 129 goals in the Champions League, 49 of them came in the knockout stages, second only to Cristiano's 67.

Lionel Messi holds the record for the most UCL goals scored in a single game (5)

Alfredo Di Stéfano - 49 goals

Alfredo Di Stéfano, Real Madrid
Alfredo Di Stéfano played in seven European Cup finals and scored seven goals (tied with Ferenc Puskas for the record) Via @RealMadrid on X/Twitter

Argentine by birth, Alfredo Di Stéfano was the competition's first superstar during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was the top scorer of the competition twice in a period in which Real Madrid ruled over Europe.

He scored in five consecutive finals between 1956 and 1960, including a hat-trick in the 1959-60 final against Eintracht Frankfurt. To this date, only three other players in history have managed to score three goals at an European Cup final (Ferenc Puskas also in 1959-60 and Pierino Prati in 1968-69.

The late Di Stéfano managed to score 49 goals in the European Cup throughout his career in just 31 games played.

Neymar - 43 goals

Neymar celebrating the only UCL title he won in his career (2015) Via @ChampionsLeague on X/Twitter

The highest ranked Brazilian on this list. The Brazilian scored 43 goals during his European adventure with Barcelona and PSG. Just two seasons after leaving his boyhood team Santos, Neymar's 10 UCL goals helped Barcelona conquer its last Champions League trophy to this date.

After going scoreless in its Round of 16 tie against Manchester City, Neymar really came alive in the KO rounds, scoring three goals in the quarters, another three in the semifinal vs Bayern Munich and he topped it off with a strike against Juventus in the final.

Neymar all but finished his career in Europe with 13 goals in the Champions League knockout stages.

Sergio Agüero - 41 goals

Sergio Aguero
"El Kun" is the only Latino on this list to have never won the UCL Gareth Copley/Via CNN/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

A constant goal threat in European soccer, Sergio "Kun" Agüero finished his career with 41 UCL goals, 5 with Atlético Madrid and the rest with Manchester City. The Argentine managed to score in 12 different Champions League seasons and, after arriving to England, he never went a single UCL season without at least one goal.

Although "El Kun" ranks among the top five Latinos in terms of total goals in the competition, he only managed to score eight goals in KO rounds and only one in the quarterfinals or later on.

Edinson Cavani - 35 goals

Edinson Cavani, PSG
Edinson Cavani has four more goal than any other Uruguayan in the history of the competition Via @ChampionsLeague on X/Twitter

Uruguay's top scorer in the history of the competition is Edinson Cavani, who managed to score 35 goals, 30 of them with the PSG jersey.

Six of his UCL goals came after the group stages, all of them scored in the Round of 16. His best season came in 2016-17, scoring eight goals in eight UCL appearances.

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