Football is a game of goals and the simple aim is to score as many of them as possible. Here are the highest goalscorers in football.
Top 10 highest goalscorers in the history of football
Football, in simple terms, is a sport where eleven players try scoring more goals than their opposition.
Considering how low-scoring football matches are compared to a sport like basketball, it is simple to understand how hard goalscoring is.
As scoring goals is vital to a team’s success and failure, it is no surprise that most of the best players of all time have been forwards. Players like Pele, Eusebio, and Gerd Muller were lethal predators in front of goal.
Here are the top highest goalscorers in the history of football :
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (801 goals)
Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer in football history when it comes to official top-level goals. Ronaldo overtook Pele a while ago and could easily reach the 900-goal mark given his fitness levels and poaching ability.
|2002–2003||Sporting CP B||2||(0)|
Ronaldo scored his 800th career goal against Arsenal a few days ago and added another goal under his belt when he scored the winner.
The Manchester United forward is the highest goal scorer in UEFA Champions League, in international football, for Portugal and Real Madrid.
2. Pele (765 goals)
A few sources state that Pele has broken the four-digit barrier when it comes to scoring goals. However, the three-time World Cup winner has scored 765 goals according to IFFHS, which is why he ranks second on this list.
|1975–1977||New York Cosmos||64||(37)|
Pele is highly regarded as one of the best players of all time, and along with Maradona, is the best player of the 20th century.
Pele was a serial goal scorer for both club and country. The Santos stalwart scored 643 goals during a nearly two-decade-long stay at the Brazilian club. He is also Brazil’s top scorer with 77 goals in 92 matches.
3. Lionel Messi (756 goals)
Lionel Messi is arguably the best player of all time. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is a brilliant passer, slick dribbler, and, most importantly, a great finisher.
Messi has scored 756 goals so far and should at least end up in second place by the time he calls it a day in his playing career.
Messi recently went past Romario’s 753 goals and shows no signs of slowing down, despite being in his mid-30s.
4. Romario (753 goals)
Romario is part of the quartet who have scored over 750 official goals. The Brazilian marksman seldom features in the conversation of Brazil’s greatest footballers.
|1985–1988||Vasco da Gama||47||(17)|
|1997||→ Flamengo (loan)||4||(3)|
|2000–2002||Vasco da Gama||46||(41)|
|2003||→ Al Sadd (loan)||3||(0)|
|2005–2006||Vasco da Gama||30||(22)|
|2006||→ Adelaide United (loan)||4||(1)|
|2007||Vasco da Gama||6||(3)|
|2009||America Football Club||0||(0)|
However, his goal tally speaks for himself. Romario is one of just three players on the list who have played or are playing in the 21st century.
He was the main protagonist in Brazil’s 1994 FIFA World Cup triumph and was awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year for his contributions.
5. Ferenc Puskas (729 goals)
Having outscored Josef Bican by nine goals, Ferenc Puskas finds a place in the top five.
Puskas was a terrific goal scorer and had one of the most dangerous left feet in the game’s history.
He most notably played for Budapest Honved, Real Madrid and Hungary, scoring 729 goals in the process.
One of Real Madrid’s greatest players of all time, Puskas formed a solid partnership with Alfredo di Stefano and won five La Liga titles and three European Cups.
Despite being on top of the world during the early 1960s, he could never win the Ballon d’Or award.
6. Josef Bican (720 goals)
Josef Bican’s goal tally is often a topic of hot debate. A few sources suggest that Bican scored over 1000 goals.
|1951–1952||FC Hradec Králové||26||(53)|
|1957||TJ Slovan Liberec||1||(0)|
|1957||Spartak Brno ZJŠ||4||(2)|
However, only 720 of those came in official top-level games and are recognized by FIFA. The goal machine was the top scorer in his domestic league 12 times!
Bican was born in Vienna, which was then a part of Austria-Hungary. He has represented Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Bohemia and Moravia at the international level.
7. Jimmy Jones (647 goals)
Jimmy Jones is the second Northern Ireland international on this list, the other being Joe Brambick.
|1945–1946||Shankill Young Men||22||(40)|
Jones plied his trade two decades after Brambick, but they shared a common trait of scoring goals for fun. Jones scored a total of 647 goals. Unlike most players on this list, he didn’t have a memorable international career.
Jones spent 11 years at Glenavon and earned legendary status by scoring over 500 goals for the Lurgan Blues.
He won the Irish League and Irish Cup three times each and was a central figure in Glenavon’s most successful period.
8. Gerd Muller (634 goals)
Gerd Muller was a generational talent who redefined the art of goal scoring. He was a fox in the box, and opposition defenders could never leave him unmarked. “Der Bomber” scored 634 goals for club and country.
|1979–1981||Fort Lauderdale Strikers||71||(38)|
He won the Ballon d’Or in 1970 for his marvelous performances for Bayern Munich and in the FIFA World Cup for West Germany.
He scored 68 goals in just 62 appearances for West Germany, including 14 at FIFA World Cups.
Most goals at World Cup tournaments (Ronaldo), most goals in a calendar year (Messi), most goals in a Bundesliga season (Lewandowski).
9. Eusebio (622 goals)
Portuguese legend Eusebio scored 622 goals during an illustrious career that spanned two decades.
|1957–1960||Sporting Lourenço Marques||42||(77)|
|1976–1977||Las Vegas Quicksilvers||17||(2)|
|1977–1978||União de Tomar||12||(3)|
|1978–1979||New Jersey Americans||9||(2)|
|1979–1980||Buffalo Stalions (indoor)||5||(1)|
“Black Panther” was not only a clinical striker but was also adored for his pace, work rate, and technique. He was equally adept with both feet and was a serial goalscorer.
Eusebio is fondly remembered for his time at Benfica, for whom he scored 473 goals in 440 games. The Mozambique-born Portuguese footballer was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 1965.
10. Joe Brambick (616 goals)
Northern Irishman Joe Brambick starts the countdown in 10th place. Born in 1905, he is also the oldest player on this list.
Brambick’s most notable contribution came for Linfield, a club based in his hometown of Belfast. He scored 286 league goals in 183 matches for Linfield.
Overall, the centre-forward scored 616 goals, 54 more than fellow countryman Glenn Ferguson, who just missed out on the top 10.
During his playing days, there was a time when Brambick was the top scorer in all of football. However, he was overtaken by Joseph Bican.