A look at 10 highest goalscorers in football history


First Published Mar 13, 2022, 12:39 PM IST

Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has etched his name in the record books as professional football’s all-time leading scorer with 807 goals.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

The Portugal international’s 12th-minute opener at Old Trafford was a superb strike from a distance that helped him equal the record. Ronaldo then went past Bican with a tap in from Jadon Sancho’s neat pass to put United 2-1 in front before powerfully heading home his third to spark wild celebrations in the stands as the home side won 3-2. It was also the 59th hat-trick of Ronaldo’s career and his first for the Old Trafford side since 2008 following his return.

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Ronaldo’s goals have been scored for Sporting, United, Real Madrid, Juventus, and the Portugal national team. Here’s a look at the top 10 goalscorers in men’s football history:

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10. Tulio Maravilha – 575 goals (total games unknown) – 1988-2019: The legendary forward played for several clubs such as Goiás, Botafogo, Corinthians, Vitória, Fluminense, Cruzeiro and Vila Nova and several lower-division teams in Brazil. In Europe, he had a short-lived career, playing for Sion and Újpest. His best years were at Botafogo, where he was three times the Brazilian top scorer (1989, 1994 and 1995) and won the 1995 Campeonato Brasileiro.

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9. Uwe Seeler – 575 goals (total games unknown) – 1953-1978: As a striker, he was a prolific scorer for Hamburger SV and made 72 appearances for the West Germany national team. He scored twice in his only appearance for Ireland’s Cork Celtic in 1978. Seeler was named one of FIFA’s 125 greatest living players by Pelé in 2004. He was the first football player to be awarded the Great Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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8. Ferenc Deak – 647 goals in 435 games – 1939-1959: Deak was a Hungarian footballer who played as a striker for teams such as Szentlőrinci AC, Ferencváros and Budapesti Dózsa. Incredibly, he averaged over three goals per game at Szentlorinci AC.

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7. Gerd Muller – 734 goals in 793 games – 1962-1981: A striker renowned for his clinical finishing, especially in and around the six-yard box, Gerd Muller is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalscorers in the history of the sport. His most iconic goal was the winner in the 1974 World Cup final as Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 in Munich. In 15 years with Bayern Munich, he scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches to become the league’s record holder.

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6. Ferenc Puskas – 746 goals in 754 games – 1943-1966: Puskas was a Hungarian football player and manager, widely regarded as one of the greatest forwards of all time. Puskás started his career in Hungary playing for Kispest and Budapest Honvéd. He became an Olympic champion in 1952 and led his nation to the final of the 1954 World Cup. In 1958, two years after the Hungarian Revolution, he emigrated to Spain, where he played for Real Madrid. 

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5. Pele – 757 goals in 831 games – 1957-1977: Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and labelled “the greatest” by FIFA, he was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century. In 1999, the three-time World Cup winner was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee and was included in the Time list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century. In 2000, Pelé was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century.

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4. Lionel Messi – 759 goals in 961 games – 2003-present: A true legend, the Argentine has won countless awards to go along with his goals for his national team and former club Barcelona, including seven Ballon d’Or awards. Now with Paris Saint-Germain, Messi has a few years left to add to his remarkable tally. The legendary striker will be eager to prove his few doubters wrong and produce the goods in a different league.

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3. Romario – 772 goals 994 games – 1985-2007: A prolific striker renowned for his clinical finishing, the Brazilian is considered one of the greatest players of all time. Romário starred for Brazil in their 1994 FIFA World Cup triumph, receiving the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year the same year. After playing five seasons with Netherland’s PSV Eindhoven, Romario moved to FC Barcelona in 1993 and became part of Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team”, forming an exceptional strike partnership with Hristo Stoichkov. During the second half of his career, Romário played for clubs within the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

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2. Josef Bican – 805 goals in 624 games – 1931-1956: The Austrian-Czech striker began his professional career at Rapid Vienna in 1931. After four years at Rapid, he moved to local rivals, Admira Wien. Bican won four league titles during his time in Austria, then moved to Slavia Praha in 1937, where he stayed until 1948, and became the club’s all-time top goalscorer. He later played for FC Vitkovice, FC Hradec Králové, and Dynamo Praha, retiring in 1955 as the all-time top goalscorer in the Czechoslovak First League with 447 goals.

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1. Cristiano Ronaldo – 807 goals in 1,110 games – 2001-present: A legendary Portuguese striker, Ronaldo has had successful stints with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and now the Red Devils again. The legendary 37-year-old footballer has won everything in the game and is still going strong today, and has now added the biggest record yet to his historic career by overtaking Bican. His goal record now stands at an insane 807 goals, and he is far from being done.





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