Marcus Rashford with the match-ball.

Rashford leads the way ahead of Istanbul clash

Marcus Rashford is joint-leading scorer in the 2020/21 Champions League heading into the fourth round of games, but he obviously has some way to go to match the feats of Manchester United's all-time top marksmen in the competition.

The homegrown forward hit a hat-trick against RB Leipzig after firing the winner at Paris Saint-Germain and is level with Liverpool new boy Diogo Jota, Juventus striker Alvaro Morata and the recently crowned Golden Boy-winner Erling Haaland, on four goals.

Ahead of the home tie with Istanbul Basaksehir, the England international will be seeking to add to his tally, which stands at nine overall in the Champions League - level with George Best in 15th in our overall standings and one adrift of Sir Bobby Charlton, who played when the tournament was called the European Cup.

The man leading the way for United strikes in Europe's premier competition is goal-machine Ruud van Nistelrooy, who hit 38 in 45 starts, with two further substitute appearances. The deadly Dutchman is four clear of his closest rival, Wayne Rooney, with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer making up the top five.

These are impressive figures for Rashford to aim for in the coming seasons and another legend in his sights, Andy Cole, told us about the differences between hunting for goals at home and abroad. The Treble-winner has 19 to his name in the Champions League, including the unforgettable clincher in the 1999 semi-final triumph over Juventus.

“I think the Premier League has become more European, and I think now virtually every team plays in exactly the same way,” said Cole, in an exclusive interview with club media. “The time I was playing, we had quite a few teams who played a sweeper system or three at the back or whatever.

“So everything evolves. But I do look at it now and think: you move from the Premier League to the Champions League and everyone wants to play, everyone wants to play out from the back, and the defending can be a bit lax, but it's still a great experience.”

Champions League/European Cup top scorers:

Pos Name  Goals 
1. Ruud van Nistelrooy  38 
2.  Wayne Rooney  34 
3.  Ryan Giggs  29 
4.  Paul Scholes  25 
5.  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer  20 

When we asked what Rashford needs to improve at Champions League level, in order to continue climbing the table of the club's top scorers in the competition, Cole had a simple answer. “It's maturity,” he explained. “You've got a grown-up experience. Every season that competition gets tougher to win, so you've got to grow, you've got to improve.

“Looking at Marcus, they're all trying to do that. He's joint top-scorer, and long may it continue.”

Victory in Tuesday's game against Istanbul Basaksehir will guarantee United remain in top spot in Group H ahead of fixtures against PSG and RB Leipzig in December.

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