We all love watching goalscorers do what they do best – putting the ball in the back of the net. But who is the top goalscorer of all-time? The answer might surprise you.
7th – Lionel Messi – 672 goals
It’s no shock to see the little Argentinian grace this list, and for once, he can point to consistent goalscoring as an exploit he has over Diego Maradona in the history books. Of course, Maradona may well point to his almost-single-handed World Cup win in 1986, but then, Lionel Messi’s career for his country – or for Barcelona – isn’t over yet. Whether he’ll still be playing in 2022 might be in doubt, but if he is still in action, no-one would rule out one final hurrah in Qatar.
6th – Cristiano Ronaldo – 697 goals
The preening Portuguese wonder of the football world will be delighted to be running slightly ahead of his age-old rival Messi. Cristiano Ronaldo sits just shy of 700 career goals, with his boast of being able to play until he’s in his 40’s – which originally sounded ridiculous – looking possible if not probable given his move to the slightly slower league of Serie A. Starring for Juventus and Portugal for the next five or six years would see Ronaldo threaten the top of this list, and he needs just 21 goals for his country to become the greatest International goalscorer of all time.
5th – Gerd Müller – 735 goals
The German powerhouse starred for both Bayenr Munich and Germany, becoming known as ‘Der Bomber’, always delivering in the six-yard box, and incredibly reliable. Scoring the winning goal in the 1974 World Cup final, Müller’s story isn’t wholly a positive one, as he suffered from alcoholism after his exploits on the football field. But his legend on it will live forever, and his record for Germany in World Cups in particular is revered across the globe.
4th – Ferenc Puskás – 746 goals
The Hungarian player who starred for Real Madrid for nine seasons between 1958 and 1966 also played 350 games for Budapest Honved, where he scored even more prolifically, at a rate of more than a goal per game, netting 358 times. But it was his International record that stood him out for greatness. Scoring 84 goals in 85 games, Puskás was a legend on the world stage, adored by his won fans, but always respected by supporters of his rivals too, in a way very few players ever manage.
3rd – Pelé – 767 goals
To some, Pelé may be the greatest ever footballer who ever played, but to the record books, he’s not even the highest-scoring Brazilian player of all-time. Scoring many goals against teams in non-competitive games, once those added goals – that rumours put over 1,000 – were subtracted, Pelé had 767 goals to his name. His legend is assured, and his part in football history may be more spectacular than anyone else’s – he won the World Cup aged just 18 for Brazil in 1962 for example – but he’s not quite the best goalscorer from his country.
2nd – Romário – 772 goals
Romário, however, is the best Brazlian goalscorer of all-time. The Barcelona player hit the headlines as much for exiting nightclubs as he did for almost bursting the goal-nets in his day, but he still racked up an incredible number of goals. Again, like Pelé, his rumour mill constantly churned out figures above 1,000 for official career goals, but many of those were in friendlies. Despite that, the Brazilian striker notched so many in his career that goalkeepers across Europe were glad when he finally retired.
1st – Josef Bican – 805 goals
Having played for clubs such as Salvia Prague (395 goals in 217 appearances) and Rapid Vienna (52 in 49) and scoring goals for both Austria and Czechoslovakia, Josef Bican is the surprise name at the top of the official list for top goalscorers. After a career than spanned 30 years from youth team to retirement, Bican managed no less than eight sides between 1954 and 1977, contributing half a century of his life to the game he loved. Known as ‘Pepi’, he died aged 88 in 2001.