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One of the favorite talking points for most soccer fans revolves around who’s the best player in the beautiful game’s history. Many will say Diego Maradona, some will mention Pelé, others Lionel Messi, and maybe more names will come up. But let's settle this: here we take a look at soccer's all-time top scorers. 

Who Is the Top Goalscorer in Soccer History?

When it comes to who’s the leading goalscorer of all time, the answer is simple: Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star, who rose to stardom at Manchester United before making a sensational move to Real Madrid, has constantly found ways to put the ball in the back of the net.

Cristiano Ronaldo has 819 career goals, more than any other player in football history. While his goalscoring production on the club level is pretty impressive, his stats at the international level are even more astonishing.

How Many Club Goals Does Cristiano Ronaldo Have?

Ronaldo has recorded 701 club goals in 949 appearances playing for four different teams: Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus. His production will probably increase when he starts playing for his new team, Al-Nassr.

How Many International Goals Does Cristiano Ronaldo Have?

With Portugal, Ronaldo has become the all-time top scorer in international football with a fascinating 118 goals to his name. He also became the first player to score in five different World Cups at Qatar 2022.

Top 9 Players with the Most Goals, After Cristiano Ronaldo

The following players complete the top 10 best goalscorers in the history of the game:

9. Uwe Seeler (575 goals)

One of the most prolific strikers in German soccer history, Uwe Seeler went down as one of the greatest players who didn’t win many titles. He is one of the few players who scored in four different World Cups, though the trophy was quite elusive to him.

Seeler captained West Germany to the 1966 World Cup final, where his side fell short and lost to England. At the club level, his efforts weren’t enough to succeed with Hamburg either. However, he still managed to make history on his own.

8. Ferenc Deak (576 goals)

Back in the day, Hungary international Ferenc Deak was one of the most lethal strikers alive. His goalscoring record remains pretty impressive to date, as it boasts more goals scored (GS) than games played (GP) (576 goals in nearly 400 appearances). 

Born on January 16, 1922, Deak shone between the ‘40s and ‘60s playing for different Budapest-based clubs. He was also part of the Hungarian national team on 20 occasions, in which his goalscoring production was also higher than games played (29GS/20GP).

7. Eusebio (622 goals)

A pivotal contributor in cementing Benfica’s reputation as one of the most storied clubs in European soccer, Eusebio helped The Eagles win 11 league titles and a European Cup in 15 years. Winner of the 1965 Ballon d’Or, the Portuguese striker shone in the 1966 World Cup, finishing as the leading goalscorer with nine goals.

6. Gerd Muller (735 goals)

Germany has produced a number of talents, but it’s hard to think of a better striker than Gerd Muller. A true goalscorer both at the club and international level, Muller remains the Bundesliga’s all-time top scorer with 365 goals, and held the record for most goals in a single season (40) until Robert Lewandowski overtook him in 2021. Muller is still a Bayern Munich legend, having scored 566 goals in 16 years at the club. 

Winner of the 1970 Ballon d’Or—first German to receive the award—Muller was also a predator in the box for his country, recording 68 goals in 62 caps for Germany. Though there are countless goals and accolades to his name, it’s safe to say Muller’s most important one was the game-winning effort in the 1974 World Cup final against the Netherlands.

5. Ferenc Puskas (746 goals)

Ferenc Puskas’ legacy was so important that FIFA named the award for the best goal of the year after him. During Hungary’s golden years, it was Puskas who took much of the limelight as he found the net 84 times in just 85 appearances. 

Puskas almost led Hungary’s ‘Golden Team’ to a major success in the 1954 World Cup, putting his side in front in the final, but West Germany turned things around to run away with the trophy. Even so, his 746 goals in nearly 760 games still make him a legend of the game.

4. Pelé (767 goals)

The Brazilian phenom—the only three-time World Cup winner in history—cemented a legacy in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. At only 17, Pelé was already finding incredible ways to score for the Brazilian national team. One of the best players the game has ever seen, he was a natural when it came to scoring. Regardless of the distance, position or rival, Pelé always managed to find the net.

Throughout the years, Pelé had constantly spread the word that he had over 1,000 goals in his career. In fact, he holds a Guinness World Record of 1,279 goals scored, including friendlies and unofficial matches. 

What we do know is that Pelé was extremely prolific for Santos (643 goals in 659 games) and Brazil, being the team’s all-time top scorer with 77 international goals to his name. Moreover, Pelé scored more hat-tricks than any other player (92).

3. Romario (772 goals)

With 772 goals in 994 games, it’s hard to find a more prolific scorer than Romario over such a long period (1990-2000). In a country where many talents have emerged throughout the years, Romario made a name for himself by winning the Golden Boot in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, when his nation won the trophy. 

Word around Brazil is that Romario has even surpassed the 1000th goal mark between unofficial games, including friendlies and youth fixtures. The official record isn’t that high, but it’s still impressive enough to place him among the all-time top scorers.

2. Lionel Messi (793 goals)

Lionel Messi has made a strong case to be considered the greatest soccer player of all time—at Barcelona, at PSG, or with Argentina. In the Champions League, La Liga, Ligue 1, FIFA World Cup or Copa America. With his left or right foot, in or outside the box, free kicks, penalties, headers, and even a handball. Messi has been able to score in every possible way, no matter the club or competition.

People got so used to Messi’s brilliance that his ability as a goalscorer is sometimes underrated. He’s a true playmaker, but Messi is also a great finisher. Unlike other great scorers, the Argentine doesn’t need to be close to the goal to find the net.

1. Josef Bican (805 goals)

Josef Bican was one of the greatest strikers the game has ever seen. A natural scorer between the ‘30s and ‘40s, Bican’s goals scored at Slavia Prague doubled his appearances (427 goals in 221 games played). He represented Austria, with whom he reached the 1934 World Cup semifinals, before switching to Czechoslovakia. Later, he also played a game for Bohemia and Moravia. 

Rumor has it that Bican actually has over 1,500 goals under his belt, because stats back then weren’t as clear as today. Either way, FIFA recognizes 805 official goals by Bican. He had been the game’s highest goalscorer for a long time, until Ronaldo took center stage.

When soccer fans debate who’s the best player on Earth, the conversation will probably revolve in the same few names over and over again. However, the top scorer conversation is not only a completely different question, but also one that cannot be discussed. These are just facts.


When soccer fans debate who’s the best player on Earth, the conversation will probably revolve in the same few names over and over again. However, the top scorer conversation is not only a completely different question, but also one that cannot be discussed. These are just facts.

Find out about more assists, goals and everything related to the world's biggest soccer stories in the The Highlights App’s Blog. And catch the best moments with our Highlights app. Sign up for the waitlist to be the first to know when it’s available!

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Written by
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Daniel Benchimol
Co-Founder & CEO
Jee Lee
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Kelvin Loyola
Editor Blog
Daniela Bardales
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Martin O' Donnell
Editor Blog
Bianca Schinca
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