List of footballers with 500 or more goals

Last updated

Josef Bican 1940.jpg
Josef Bican, credited by FIFA with over 800 goals
Cristiano Ronaldo 2018.jpg
Cristiano Ronaldo is widely believed to be the top goalscorer of all time

In top-level football competitions only, 23 players have scored 500 or more goals over the course of their career in both club and international football, according to research by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), [1] published originally in 2007. [2] Taking into account competitions of all levels, 57 players have reached the milestone, according to research by the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF), [3] an organisation described by German newspaper Der Spiegel as a "Wikipedia of football statistics." [4] Eight players have accomplished the feat at a single club; Josef Bican (Slavia Prague), Jimmy Jones (Glenavon), Jimmy McGrory (Celtic), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gerd Müller (Bayern Munich), Pelé (Santos), Fernando Peyroteo (Sporting CP), and Uwe Seeler (Hamburg). [5]

Contents

FIFA, the international governing body of football, have never released a list detailing the highest goalscorers and do not keep official records; [6] [7] in 2020, they recognised Bican, an Austrian-Czech dual international who played between the 1930s and the 1950s, [8] as the record scorer with an estimated 805 goals, [9] [10] while CNN, the BBC, France 24, and O Jogo all acknowledge that Bican's tally of 805 includes goals scored for reserve teams and in unofficial international matches. [7] [11] [12] [13] UEFA, the governing body for European football, rank him as the top all-time top goalscorer in European leagues with 518 goals, being narrowly ahead of Hungarian Ferenc Puskás. [14] The RSSSF credit Bican with 948 goals, a tally which includes goals scored in winter tournaments, as well as when selected to represent regional and city teams, [15] and the Football Association of the Czech Republic claim a total of 821. [16] [17] Spanish newspaper Marca 's self-described "meticulous records" state both Bican and Pelé scored 762 goals. [18] Such is the difficulty for statisticians and media outlets to know which goals to include that it causes confusion and controversy; [19] [20] Bican once walked out of a gala held in his honour by the IFFHS after they had excluded war-time goals from his tally, although they later recognised 229 goals he had scored during the period. [21]

Media outlets around the world such as Sky Sports, ESPN, and Globo Esporte argue that for Brazilian forward Pelé and players of his era friendly matches were highly important fixtures and held more resonance, and the tallies accumulated should therefore be included, [22] [23] [24] while journalist Hugh McIlvanney once described them as mere "profit-making excursions" that bore little "relevance to Pelé's reality as a great player", [25] and Jonathan Liew stated that many of the friendlies were "against up-country teams or down-at-heel invitational sides." [26] When Argentinian forward Messi was reported to have broken the record for most goals for a single club (644 for Spanish club Barcelona), Pelé's former club Santos denied the claim, releasing a statement saying 448 goals scored in friendlies had been uncounted, [27] arguing that many of the goals came against "the best teams of all time", [28] statements Pelé agreed with by publicly changing his overall tally to 1,283 on Instagram. [29] When reporting the statistics of Messi, Barcelona argued that because Bican and Pelé, as well as Erwin Helmchen and Abe Lenstra among others, scored the majority of their goals in leagues which were not played at a national level, their tallies should be questioned and potentially not counted. [30]

In 2021, Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo was reported to have broken the record when he scored his 760th goal, [31] [32] [33] although it was widely acknowledged it was impossible to quantify with certainty as stats from previous generations are often disputed, [17] [34] [35] [36] [37] as highlighted by football journalist Jonathan Wilson and Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport's editor Ivan Zazzaroni, who recognised the possibility that German striker Helmchen had scored a purported 981 goals. [15] [38] Ronaldo himself addressed the issue, saying that "the world has changed since then and football has changed as well, but this doesn't mean that we can just erase history according to our interests." [39] There are other claims to the record; the Guinness World Records credits Pelé as the scorer of the "most career goals", with 1,279, [40] and in 2007, Brazilian striker Romário celebrated scoring what he claimed was his 1,000th goal but later admitted his tally included friendly matches; [41] they are reported to have scored 767 and 772 goals, respectively, [17] [42] [43] [44] with Pelé's total including one goal for the military team and nine goals for the state team of São Paulo for the State Team Championship. [45] [46] The Encyclopædia Britannica notes that Brazilian Arthur Friedenreich is "officially recognised" by FIFA to have scored 1,329 goals, [47] although there is little evidence and no documentation for this claim. [40] [48]

Footballers with 500 or more goals

Imre Schlosser-Lakatos.jpg
Imre Schlosser - the first footballer to score 500 goals
PA-480954.jpg
Alfredo Di Stefano - the first South American to score 500
Lionel Messi 20180626.jpg
Lionel Messi - scored the most goals for one club
Robert Lewandowski 2018.jpg
Robert Lewandowski - the most player to score 500

According to the IFFHS and other media outlets, 23 players are credited with scoring 500 or more goals in top-level football competitions.

As of 13 July 2021 (UTC) [1]
Bold indicates players currently active.
"" indicates they achieved the feat for one club. [49]
RankPlayerLeague [lower-alpha 1] Cup [lower-alpha 2] Continental [lower-alpha 3] Selections [lower-alpha 4] GoalsYears
1 Flag of Portugal.svg Cristiano Ronaldo [50] 47951144 109 7832002–present
2 Flag of Brazil.svg Pelé [51] 6064927 83 7651957–1977
3 Flag of Brazil.svg Romário 5449154 64 7531985–2007
4 Flag of Argentina.svg Lionel Messi [52] 47470128 76 7482004–present
5 Flag of Hungary (1896-1915; angels).svg Flag of Spain (1945-1977).svg Ferenc Puskás 5147655 84 7291943–1966
6 Flag of Austria.svg Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Josef Bican 51812941 32 7201931–1955
7 Ulster Banner.svg Jimmy Jones 3323012126471947–1964
8 Flag of Germany.svg Gerd Müller 4059269 68 6341964–1981
9 Flag of Portugal.svg Eusébio 4259759 41 6221958–1981
10 Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg Joe Bambrick 3482470 21 6161926–1943
11 Ulster Banner.svg Glenn Ferguson 311245605621987–2011
12 Flag of Portugal.svg Fernando Peyroteo 463723 14 5521937–1949
Flag of Sweden.svg Zlatan Ibrahimović [53] 3854857 62 1999–present
14 Flag of Germany.svg Uwe Seeler 4464121 43 5511954–1978
15 Flag of Scotland.svg Jimmy McGrory 4081300 12 5501922–1937
16 Flag of Argentina.svg Flag of Spain (1945-1977).svg Alfredo Di Stéfano 3765570 29 5301945–1966
17 Flag of Hungary (1896-1915; angels).svg György Sárosi 35131102 42 5261930–1948
18 Flag of Brazil.svg Roberto Dinamite 47685 22 5111971–1992
19 Flag of Mexico.svg Hugo Sánchez 3904938 30 5071976–1997
Flag of Poland.svg Robert Lewandowski [54] 3094782 69 2008–present
21 Flag of Hungary (1896-1915; angels).svg Imre Schlosser 4171810 59 5041905–1928
22 Flag of Uruguay.svg Luis Suárez [55] 3454252 64 5032005–present
23 Flag of Austria.svg Franz Binder 2969387 26 5021930–1949

Notes

  1. Includes national league (top divisions) and regional league (taken into account only those having the strength comparable to national league).
  2. Includes (main) national cup and other (relevant) national cups.
  3. Includes continental tournaments and intercontinental (world) tournaments (of relevant level).
  4. Includes national team and other selections (state or league selections, final tournaments of Olympic Games until 1988).

RSSSF statistics

As the RSSSF use different methodology from that of the IFFHS and other media outlets, [56] 56 players are credited with scoring 500 or more goals in matches, taking into account competitions at all levels. [3] [ needs update ]

As of 12 July 2021 [3]
Bold indicates players currently active.
"+" indicates some matches are unnacounted for and therefore the amount of goals and matches could be higher.
RankPlayerBirthYearsGoalsMatchesRatio
1 Flag of Germany.svg Erwin Helmchen 19071924–1951982+5751.71
2 Flag of Austria.svg Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Josef Bican 19131931–1957948+6211.53
3 Flag of Hungary.svg Ferenc Puskás 19271943–19678087941.02
4 Flag of Portugal.svg Cristiano Ronaldo 19852001–80111090.72
5 Flag of Hungary.svg Ferenc Deak 19221939–1959794+510+1.56
6 Flag of Brazil.svg Romário 19661984–200978010000.78
7 Flag of Brazil.svg Pelé 19401956–19777758410.92
8 Flag of Argentina.svg Lionel Messi 19872003–7759840.79
9 Flag of Germany.svg Gerd Müller 19451963–19817357930.93
10 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Abe Lenstra 19201936–1963710+7520.94
11 Ulster Banner.svg Joe Bambrick 19051925–1943678+5651.2
12 Ulster Banner.svg Jimmy Jones 19281946–1965673+6351.06
13 Flag of Poland.svg Flag of Germany.svg Ernst Wilimowski 19161932–1957663+4741.4
14 Flag of England.svg Tommy Lawton 19191935–1956657+7420.89
15 Flag of Hungary.svg Ferenc Bene 19441959–19856309460.67
16 Flag of Hungary.svg Gyula Zsengellér 19151931–19536116410.95
17 Flag of Portugal.svg Fernando Peyroteo 19181937–19495973691.62
18 Flag of Portugal.svg Eusébio 19421961–1978591+6310.94
19 Flag of Germany.svg Uwe Seeler 19361954–19725826860.85
20 Flag of Brazil.svg Túlio Maravilha 19691987–20145758380.69
21 Flag of Germany.svg Fritz Walter 19201938–1959574+5721
22 Flag of Sweden.svg Zlatan Ibrahimović 19811999–5739660.59
23 Flag of Austria.svg Franz Binder 19111927–1949569+4301.32
24 Flag of Hungary.svg Imre Schlosser 18891906–1928569+4581.24
25 Flag of England.svg Jimmy Greaves 19401956–19795678120.7
26 Ulster Banner.svg Glenn Ferguson 19691987–201156310580.53
27 Flag of Mexico.svg Hugo Sánchez 19581976–19975629560.59
28 Flag of Portugal.svg José Torres 19381958–19805616150.91
29 Flag of Hungary.svg Sándor Kocsis 19291946–19665565371.04
30 Flag of Poland.svg Robert Lewandowski 19882005–5558240.67
31 Ulster Banner.svg Frederick Roberts 19051923–1937554+4271.3
32 Flag of Scotland.svg Jimmy McGrory 19041922–19385495451.01
33 Flag of Brazil.svg Zico 19541971–19945457970.68
34 Ulster Banner.svg Boy Martin 19141930–1947541+4791.13
35 Flag of Hungary.svg Ferenc Szusza 19231940–19615415940.91
36 Ulster Banner.svg Jimmy Kelly 19111926–1956538+9510.57
37 Flag of Spain.svg Isidro Lángara 19121930–1948534+4331.23
38 Flag of England.svg Dixie Dean 19071923–19405315770.92
39 Flag of Hungary.svg Nándor Hidegkuti 19221938–19585266780.78
40 Flag of Hungary.svg József Takács 19041920–19425185051.03
41 Flag of Austria.svg Hans Krankl 19531970–19895187250.71
42 Flag of Brazil.svg Roberto Dinamite 19541971–19925178520.61
43 Flag of Argentina.svg Flag of Spain.svg Alfredo Di Stéfano 19261945–19665137030.73
44 Flag of Sweden.svg Gunnar Nordahl 19211936–1961510+5870.87
45 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Joseph Mermans 19221937–19605096340.8
46 Flag of Uruguay.svg Luis Suárez 19872005–5098200.62
47 Flag of Hungary.svg György Sárosi 19121929–19485075920.86
48 Flag of Scotland.svg Hughie Gallacher 19031920–1940507+6570.77
49 Flag of England.svg Steve Bloomer 18741890–1914505+7530.67
50 Flag of Cameroon.svg Roger Milla 19521968–1996503+9050.56
51 Flag of Hungary.svg Lajos Tichy 19361952–19715006100.82

See also

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