The Champions League star strikers profiled

The Champions League star strikers may have a drawn a blank last night at the Etihad but ahead of tonight’s second semi-final – and next week’s much anticipated return of Real’s Ronaldo – we take a timely look at the competition’s deadliest hit-men.

Who has scored the most and made the most assists, who has the best goals-per-game strike rate and how well do this year’s top strikers match up with the all-time greats?

THE DEADLY DOZEN*

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*The very best online football tipsters will point to the above in respect to Manchester City and question whether a club without a player among the top twelve can beat Real to make it to the final never mind claim the crown.

CRISTIANO RONALDO – SIMPLY THE BEST

Cristiano Ronaldo is simply the best when it comes to the Champions League. Real Madrid missed him last night-  in the bore draw at the Etihad where defence triumphed over attack and neither Real or hosts Manchester City could break the deadlock – almost as much as the legions of fans, online bettors and football tipsters who back him week-in-week-out to hit the net.

Ronaldo has again been brilliantly prolific again this season but a thigh injury kept him on the bench last night meaning he was unable to add to the sixteen goals he has scored in the Champions League this campaign.

Not only is he the competition’s all time leading scorer with 93 goals from just 125 games, he is one goal away of equalling the record for the most goals scored in the CL by a single player in a single season.

The fact that Ronaldo already holds that record himself won’t make the slightest difference in his pursuit to prove he is the best and with at least one more game to play – next week’s return semi against City at the Bernabeu – the top online football tipsters will be backing him to repeat the feat and set himself up to become a record breaker in the showpiece final.

City have an almost impossible task ahead given Real’s record at home in the Bernabeu and Ronaldo’s return will give punters and fans further confidence in the Spanish giants taking another step to claiming their 11th European crown.

Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the Champions League this season:

Ronaldo is so good that he had scored twice as many as his nearest challengers to the title of Champions League deadliest hit-men.

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI

Robert Lewandowski is on such a hot goal scoring streak that Bayern follow their tweets about their star striker with flame emojis.

Lewandowski has scored 31 in 50 Champions League games through his career and the 27-year-old has bagged eight goals in his ten CL games this season.

His last was against Juventus in Bayern’s 4-2 extra time win and Lewy – whose prolific form has seen the Pole linked to a summer move to a host of Europe’s elite clubs – has the chance tonight to add to his tally against Atletico.

THOMAS MULLER

Thomas Muller has scored the same number as Lewy from the same number of games (10) in the Champions League this season.

Muller has failed to score in just three of those matches and the Atletico defence will have their hands full contending with the challenge posed by the Bayern partnership – and though they’ll know all about the German, Simeone’s men may just be checking YouTube to see how they might negate Muller.

The 26-year-old has a total 36 goals in 80 Champions League matches and three assists.

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN – PIVOTAL TO ATLETI’S PROGRESS

Antoine Griezmann has hit five in the Champions League games this season to help Atletico Madrid progress to the semi-finals and tonight’s first leg against Bayern Munich.

The France striker got both to knock out Barcelona in the quarter finals and the 25-year-old will be looking to take his team into the final with a similar display against the German champions.

“He’s an absolutely pivotal player for the side,” said Atlético full-back Filipe Luís after the win against Barca. “It’s an honour to have such a great player in the group, above all because he’s also down-to-earth.”

LUIS SUAREZ, NEYMAR AND MESSI

Luis Suarez scored eight for Barcelona before Atletico knocked the reigning title holders out of the Champions League making him the Catalan’s top scorer in the competition this season.

Neymar scored three goals while Messi – second on the all-time goal scorers list with 83 from 106 games – struck six times in his seven CL matches.

ARTEM DZYUBA

Artem Dzyuba has six Champions League goals for Zenit this season – all coming in the group stages of the competition.

The 27-year-old Russian striker is one of Zenit’s prize assets and should he manage to replicate his goal scoring exploits and impressive displays in the CL, Europe’s top clubs will no doubt come calling for his signature.

OLIVIER GIROUD

Olivier Giroud has his critics but managed to silence many earlier this year by scoring five in seven Champions League games for Arsenal.

The Gunners fell again at the last 16 stage – and once again to Barcelona – and Giroud’s failure to replicate his promising displays in Europe in the Premier League has once again led many online football tipsters and pundits to question manager Arsene Wenger’s failure to add to his attack with another big name striker.

CL KING OF THE ASSISTS

‘CL King of the assists’ is a far more closely fought race for the crown with a host of players in line. Bayern’s young sensation Kingsley Coman is best in line given his team are still in the competition and he therefore has opportunities to add to his assists. He leads the table with five so far, level with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Barca’s Neymar Jr with five assist, while Man City’s Wilfried Bony and of course Ronaldo have the chance to displace him at the top, with both on four assists – the same feat as PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Zenit’s Hulk.

By: Joe Cahal

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