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AFC Champions League

Top 5 goal-scorers in AFC Champions League history

Published at :May 13, 2024 at 6:35 PM
Modified at :May 13, 2024 at 6:35 PM
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(Courtesy : K League United/Reuters)

Bishal Deb

Some of these players have retired in the recent years.

Spanning over half a century, the AFC Champions League has been the cornerstone of Asian club football, showcasing the continent’s finest talents and clubs. Established in 1967, the tournament has undergone several transformations, evolving from the Asian Champion Club tournament to the revered competition it is today.

As we stand on the cusp of another significant change, with the tournament set to be rebranded as the AFC Champions League Elite from the 2024-25 season and with the number of participants reduced from 40 to 24, we reflect on some of the milestones achieved by the top goal-scorers of the competition.

 Let’s find out who are the top five goal-scorers in the competition and look into some of their career highlights.

5. Abderrazak Hamdallah (28 goals)

Moroccan striker Abderrazak Hamdallah is ranked fifth among the top goal-scorers in the AFC Champions League history, netting 28 goals. He had a remarkable season with Al Nassr in the 2020 edition which saw him clinch the top scorer award, courtesy of seven goals – a feat that crowned him the first from his club and nation to earn this accolade.

Notably, Hamdallah’s achievements also include the top scorer titles in both the Saudi Pro League and the Qatar Stars League, showcasing his consistent scoring touch.

4. Nasser Al-Shamrani (30 goals)

With an impressive 30 goals tally, Nasser Al-Shamrani is the fourth highest goal-scorer in AFC Champions League history. Often considered as one of Saudi Arabia’s most versatile and lethal strikers, Al-Shamrani was crowned with Asian Footballer of the Year in 2014.

His standout 2014 AFC Champions League season saw him net a staggering 10 goals. However, despite his heroics, his team faced a narrow and heart-wrenching 1-0 defeat in the finals over two legs against Australia’s Western Sydney Wanderers

3. Elkeson (30 goals)

Elkeson, the formidable Chinese International, ranks third with 30 goals in the AFC Champions League. Overcoming initial squad exclusions at Guangzhou Evergrande due to foreign player limits, he made a stunning impact in the 2013 edition, scoring six goals in six matches, including a brace in the finals against FC Seoul, propelling his team to their maiden continental championship.

His heroics continued in the 2015 AFC Champions League, where he played a pivotal role in helping Guangzhou lift their second title in three years, scoring the decisive goal in a 1-0 victory over UAE’s Al Ahli in the final.

2. Lee Dong-gook (37 goals)

Lee Dong-gook, the South Korean legend, is the second-highest goal scorer in the AFC Champions League’s storied history, with a remarkable 37 goals. His tenure with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors from 2009 to 2020 was punctuated with consistent excellence, culminating in a stellar 2011 AFC Champions League season where he not only topped the scoring charts with nine goals but also earned the coveted Most Valuable Player award.

Despite his individual accolades, the 2011 season ended in heartbreak as Jeonbuk succumbed to Al Sadd in the final. He finally won the AFC Champions League in 2016 when Jeonbuk defeated Al Ain in the grand finale.

1. Dejan Damjanovic (42 goals)

Dejan Damjanovic etched his name in history as the all-time top goal-scorer of the AFC Champions League with 42 goals. His journey to the summit was marked by a remarkable stint at Seoul FC, where he netted 25 of them. His initial campaigns in 2009 and 2011 saw him score five goals each season, culminating in a memorable run to the 2013 final.

He surpassed the AFC Champions League’s scoring record previously held by South Korea’s Lee Dong-gook when he scored against Cerezo Osaka in a 2-1 loss in June 2021. The legendary striker scored his final AFC Champions League goal for Kitchee FC in a draw against Vissel Kobe in the 2022 season and helped them reach knockout stages for the first time in their history.

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