Every Player to Have Scored Four Champions League Goals in a Single Game

Grey Whitebloom
Robert Lewandowski lets everyone know how many goals he got against Real Madrid in a sensational performance
Robert Lewandowski lets everyone know how many goals he got against Real Madrid in a sensational performance / JOHN MACDOUGALL/Getty Images

To score three goals in a game is the stuff of dreams. To score three in the Champions League, arguably the most prestigious club competition in the world, is pretty ridiculous. Only a select group of players can boast such a feat yet even fewer have gone one better.

In a sport as low-scoring as football - even in the relatively goal-laden post-pandemic pocket - for a team to score four goals is noteworthy in and of itself, but for a single player to rack up that gluttonous figure is sensational.

Here are the smattering of players to have enjoyed the most prolific of games on the biggest club stage.

1. Marco van Basten - Milan (1992)

Having already won two European Cups at the turn of the decade with Milan, Marco van Basten was hardly new to the continental elite.

However, in what was technically his first Champions League appearance since the competition's rebranding in 1992, the mythical Dutch striker netted all four against IFK Gothenberg, sealing his hat-trick with a bicycle kick.

Van Basten remains the only player to score four on their Champions League debut.

2. Simone Inzaghi - Lazio (2000)

Pippo Inzaghi's often-forgotten younger brother Simone may not have been as prolific as his sibling. However, before working wonders as head coach of Lazio, Simone enjoyed a superb scoring start to life among the elite with the Eagles, capped by a haul against Marseille; a feat his brother never replicated.

Surprisingly, only one player in the history of the competition has scored more goals in their opening 12 Champions League than Simone Inzaghi with ten.

3. Dado Prso - Monaco (2003)

Turning 29 isn't a particularly noteworthy birthday in the life of most humans, a date which primarily serves as a reminder that it's only 12 months until the big three-oh.

However, Dado Prso made sure to remember his as he rattled in a quartet of strikes for Monaco in a helter-skelter 8-3 group stage clash with Deportivo La Coruna in 2004.

4. Ruud van Nistelrooy - Manchester United (2004)

For a player so obsessed with scoring goals, few footballers will have appreciated the satisfaction of ripping four in a single game as much as Ruud van Nistelrooy, who grabbed Manchester United's (and his) fourth against Sparta Prague in 2004 on the stroke of full time.

5. Andriy Shevchenko - Milan (2005)

In a match where Andriy Shevchenko was solely responsible for Milan's goals in a 4-0 win away to Fenerbahce, four different players provided the final pass for the ruthless Ukrainian frontman that night.

6. Lionel Messi - Barcelona (2010, 2012)

As this is Lionel Messi, he has not only scored four goals on just one occasion - memorably tearing Arsenal apart in 2010. But the great man is one of just two players to ever score five in a single Champions League game, as he did against Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 as part of a mesmeric 7-1 win.

7. Bafetimbi Gomis - Lyon (2011)

Going into first half stoppage time Dinamo Zagreb were a man down but leading Lyon 1-0 at home. Bafetimbi Gomis found the net for the visitors on the cusp of the interval and proceeded to score another two by the 52nd minute to ensure he completed the fastest hat-trick in Champions League history.

Consequently, Gomis had time to score a fourth and Lyon went on to win 7-1.

8. Mario Gomez - Bayern Munich (2012)

Bayern Munich managed to overturn the 1-0 deficit from their first leg against Basel, and then some, in 2012, as the Bavarian behemoths ripped seven past the then Swiss champions; Mario Gomez hogging four for himself.

9. Robert Lewandowski - Borussia Dortmund & Bayern Munich (2013, 2019)

Robert Lewandowski's quartet in the 2019/20 group stage against Crvena Zvezda may be the fastest ever four goal haul in the competition, netted in 16 minutes.

However, the Pole's first poker was vastly more significant, as it came on the day Jurgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund taught Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid a lesson in high-energy pressing with a 4-1 win in Germany on their way to the 2013 final.

10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Paris Saint-Germain (2013)

Despite the fact that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has appeared in the Champions League in the colours of some of the continent's biggest clubs (a record seven different sides) the imposing Swede has never got his hands on the big-eared trophy and only once scored more than twice in a game (but to compensate, he did belt in four against Anderlecht in 2013).

11. Luiz Adriano - Shakhtar Donetsk (2014)

In the autumn of 2014, Luiz Adriano was in the midst of a purple patch scarcely seen in Champions League history. The Brazilian striker hit five for Shakhtar Donetsk away to BATE Borisov at the end of October before netting just the three when the two sides met again in their next European outing.

12. Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid (2015)

Cristiano Ronaldo's inclusion in any goalscoring-based list is of little surprise. However, the fact that the Champions League's all-time top scorer has only netted four in a game once in the competition, is not entirely expected.

13. Serge Gnabry - Bayern Munich (2019)

Ahead of Bayern Munich's trip to Tottenham in October 2019, Serge Gnabry's father was straightforward with his advice: "I had told him that he should play well today."

Four goals and 7-2 win later, it's fair to say Gnabry junior adhered to his instructions.

14. Josip Ilicic - Atalanta (2020)

Josip Ilicic lived up to his affectionate nickname of 'Nonna' - Grandma, earned for his regular moaning about fatigue - when he wearily signalled to be substituted after scoring his third goal against Valencia.

However, Gian Piero Gaspirini ignored his forward's complaints and ten minutes later Ilicic was celebrating his fourth of the night.

15. Olivier Giroud - Chelsea (2020)

At the ripe old age of 34 years and 63 days, Olivier Giroud not only became the oldest player to net four in a Champions League game, but the oldest in the competition's history to hit as many as three.

C'est magnifique.