Ronaldo, Messi, Romario - who are the top goalscorers in football history?

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With the help of data from IFFHS, Goal runs down a list of the top goalscorers in all official competitions in the history of the beautiful game.

  1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic | 570 goals
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    #15 Zlatan Ibrahimovic | 570 goals

    Arguably the greatest Swedish footballer of all time, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is certainly one of football’s most renowned goal scorers and most lethal strikers.

    A towering figure, both mentally and physically, Ibrahimovic has bagged goals wherever he has gone, starring for some of Europe's best clubs.

    His unique brand of playful arrogance earned him plenty of detractors during his career, but none can take away from his prowess as a goalscorer.

  2. Tulio Maravilha | 575 goals
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    #14 Tulio Maravilha | 575 goals

    During his peripatetic, 24-year career, Tulio claims to have scored more than 1,000 goals. However, his personal figure included friendlies and games at amateur level. 

    Still, his final haul of 575 goals is nonetheless impressive, particularly when one considers that 13 of those strikes came in just 15 appearances for the Brazilian national team.

  3. Uwe Seeler | 575 goals
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    #13 Uwe Seeler | 575 goals

    Renowned for his aerial prowess and spectacular scissors-kicks, Hamburg icon Uwe Seeler is one of the finest forwards Germany has ever produced and an incredibly reliable source of goals for both club and country.

    He hit 575 in total - and in just 649 appearances too, giving him an amazing 0.89 goals-to-game ratio. 

  4. Ferenc Deak | 576 goals

    #12 Ferenc Deak | 576 goals

    Ferenc Deak's achievements may have been overshadowed by his compatriot Ferenc Puskas but the Hungarian striker was an outstanding goalscorer in his own right. 

    Deak averaged more than three goals a game for first club Szentlorinci AC (220 in 72 appearances) before joining Ferencvaros, where he struck 200 times in just 140 outings.

    He also racked up 29 goals for his country and, though it is not known just how many matches he played at the highest level, he ended his career with a grand total of 576. 

  5. #11 Joe Brambick | 616 goals

    Joe Brambick is the second Northern Ireland international on this list, the other being Jimmy Jones. Bramick plied his trade two decades before Jones, but they shared a common trait of scoring goals for fun. It's no wonder, Brambick scored a total of 616 goals throughout his career.

    The centre-forward played for Chelsea between 1935 to 1938, netting 34 goals. However, He spent his best career years at Linfield, where he fired a phenomenal 286 league goals from just 183 games, 50 of these arrived in the 1930–31 campaign, which was the highest in the world that year.

    He earned a reputation for scoring spectacular goals with rasping shots and old time piledrivers from incredible distances.

  6. Eusebio | 619 goals
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    #10 Eusebio | 619 goals

    Known as O Rei in Portugal, Eusebio was one of the most prolific goalscorers of the 1960s and 1970s, spearheading a Benfica side which dominated domestically and conquered Europe.

    An iconic figure in Lisbon, fondly remember by fans across the world, Eusebio boasted an incredible goals-per-game ratio, with 619 goals in 639 games.

  7. Robert Lewandowski | 629 goals

    #9 Robert Lewandowski | 629 goals

    Many footballers have been braded as goal machines, but few strikers in the modern era have justified the tag more comprehensively than Polish hitman Robert Lewandowski.

    Named the best player in the world in 2020 and 2021 by FIFA, Lewandowski made his name in Dortmund before cementing his legend at Bayern Munich, shattering numerous goal-scoring records in Bundesliga. He's currently plying his trade for another iconic club in the form of Barcelona.

    The 34-year-old has also enjoyed a stellar international career, and is the all-time top scorer for Poland and the third overall men's international goalscorer in Europe, only behind Ferenc Puskás and Cristiano Ronaldo.

  8. Gerd Muller | 634 goals
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    #8 Gerd Muller | 634 goals

    The supreme poacher, Gerd Muller was renowned for his predatory instincts in the penalty area.

    The Bayern Munich icon, who scored the winner for West Germany in the 1974 World Cup final, averaged more than a goal a game at international level (68 in just 62 matches).

    A short and stocky striker blessed with explosive power, 'Der Bomber' bowed out with an overall record of 634 goals.

  9. Jimmy Jones | 647 goals

    #7 Jimmy Jones | 647 goals

    Jones spent most of his career in his homeland, where he was next to unstoppable and made a notorious habit of finding the back of the net at an alarming rate.

    The leading goalscorer in the history Irish League football, he netted a whopping 517 times for Glenavon, topping their goal charts for 10 consecutive seasons between 1952-53 and 1961-62, and returned a career tally of 647 for his various clubs.

    His shooting technique was neither sophisticated or convoluted, and he was the archetypal muscular, bratty centre-forward, capable of hammering the ball with either foot and score from any position.

  10. Ferenc Puskas | 729 goals
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    #6 Ferenc Puskas | 729 goals

    Ferenc Puskas was known as 'The Galloping Major', a key man in two of the greatest sides in football history: Hungary's 'Magnificent Magyars' and Real Madrid's 1960 European Cup winners.

    He was small, portly and his right foot wasn't particularly strong; his left, however, was a cannon and, with it, he scored the majority of his 729 goals in a career that spanned between 1943 to 1966.

  11. Pele | 762 goals

    #5 Pele | 762 goals

    Regarded by Franz Beckenbauer as the greatest player of all time, Pele was also one of the most prolific forwards the game has ever known.

    A three-time World Cup winner with Brazil, 'The King' is still, for many, the greatest player ever to grace the beautiful, having netted 762 goals throughout his glittering, trophy-laden career.

  12. Romario | 775 goals
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    #4 Romario | 775 goals

    Brazil legend Ronaldo says he learned about the art of goalscoring from Romario, a man described by former Barcelona coach Johann Cruyff as "a genius" in the penalty area.

    Indeed, Romario was one of the most clinical finishers the game has ever seen, as underlined by his record of 775 goals.

  13. Lionel Messi | 803 goals

    #3 Lionel Messi | 803 goals

    Regarded by many as the greatest player in history, Lionel Messi is as exceptional at taking chances as he is at creating them. Indeed, to date, the diminutive Argentine has racked up over 800 goals in just over 1000 competitive outings.

    Furthermore, while he has now entered his thirties, Messi is arguably more complete than ever before, meaning the sky remains the limit for a player considered "an alien" by goalkeeping great Gigi Buffon.

  14. Josef Bican | 805 goals

    #2 Josef Bican | 805 goals

    The second most prolific goalscorer in football history, yet few know the name of Josef Bican. 

    A star in Austria in the 1930s, he was a member of the side that reached the 1934 World Cup semi-finals, but he actually continued playing until 1955, eventually retiring at the age of 42.

    By that point, Bican, a two-footed forward blessed with sprinter-like pace, had racked up 805 goals. There have been numerous contradictory reports about Bican’s official tally of goals, but following a 2020 tribute by FIFA on his birth anniversary, it was revealed that he racked up 805 goals in a career that ranged between 1931 to 1955.

    Some team-mates even claimed he'd actually scored more than 5,000 - something that Bican never denied, simply saying "Who'd have believed me if I said I'd scored five times as many goals as Pele?..."

  15. Cristiano Ronaldo | 832 goals
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    #1 Cristiano Ronaldo | 832 goals

    We are unlikely to see another striker as exceptional as Cristiano Ronaldo, whose goal-scoring mentality has made him the master of marksmen in sporting history.

    After starting out as fleet-footed winger, the Portuguese star dominated the goalscoring charts for the bulk of the 21st century, and has broken one record after another, posting tallies in the Champions League that may never be surpassed.

    A modern-day Real Madrid legend, he remarkably showed no signs of slowing down in his 30s and continued to hit the back of the net at an impressive rate for the likes of Juventus and Manchester United.

    Ronaldo is also the leading the goal-scoring charts in International football and also the highest goalscorer in the history of football. And he's not done yet as he embarks a new challenge to plunder Asian football after conquering Europe.