The Top 10 Football Goalscorers of All Time - Goatscorers

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 13.4.2024.

Even the biggest defensive maestros will tell you in the end - the sport boils down to putting the ball in the back of the net! None have done it more than these 10 top football goalscorers of all time.

Looking at the entirety of football history, the list is topped by two still active players and eight that have finished playing a long time ago. Only one of the retired players has played into the 21st century. This means that our list of 15 best goalscorers of the modern era is a completely different read.

We are looking at both goals scored for clubs and for national teams! With five players on this list have scored 500 or more goals for a single club!

The top 10 football goalscorers of all time

#10 Abe Lenstra (Heerenveen, Enschede, the Netherlands) - 624 goals

Abe Lenstra (Heerenveen) in het Olympisch Stadion in Amsterdam, enige dagen na d, Bestanddeelnr 191-1062.jpg
By Willem van de Poll -, CC0, Link

A big asterisk needs to be stressed on this 10th placement of Abe Lenstra, as he most likely got replaced by the time you're reading this. As Robert Lewandowski is just a goal behind and still going strong. While Lenstra played between 1937 and 1960. Considering that this timespan engulfs World War II, Lenstra's achievement possesses a different dynamic.

Sporting-wise, it's not as impressive considering that his native Netherlands didn't have its best men focused on football. Spirit-wise, Lenstra is an inspiration for scoring 135 goals during wartime. None in the hot 1945 though.

Playing for a rather long time, he spent nearly two decades at Heerenveen and then played five seasons for Enschede. Scoring 33 goals for the Netherlands team in 47 matches too.

#9 Joe Bambrick (Glentoran, Linfield, Chelsea, Walsall, and Ireland) - 629 goals

The oldest of these top 10 football goalscorers of all time, born in 1905 and enjoying his playing time between 1926 and 1939. The former gas worker became known for his unseen ability to turn a situation into a goal. So much so that he was followed with a catchphrase "Head, heel, or toe, slip it to Joe" as a trademark.

With 260 of his goals scored in cup tournaments, 348 in league games, and 21 in international competition, Bambrick isn't as well known as this achievement might warrant. He still holds the record for most goals scored by a player from the British Isles in a single match - with his six goals scored for Ireland against Wales in 1930.

#8 Gerd Muller ( 1861 Nordlingen, Bayern Munich, Fort Lauderdale Strikers) - 634 goals

Autor, CC BY-SA 3.0, Poveznica

We've reached the first known-by-everyone legend of the game on our list of GOAT goalscorers. Gerd Muller is synonymous with putting the ball into the net in his Germany, with 634 reasons why. With 68 of those goals scored for West Germany, in just 62 matches! Picking up a World Cup and EURO trophies in the process.

Muller, of course, scored most of his goals for Bayern Munich, for which he played 605 games. Nearing a 1:1 ratio of matches and finishes, he scored 563 times for the Bavarians! Overall, between 1964 and 1980, Muller scored 69 times in the continental competitions, 92 in the tournaments, and 405 in the league.

Gerd Muller won the European Golden Shoe twice, and the Ballon d'Or once - in 1970.

#7 Jimmy Jones (Sunnyside, Shankill Young Men, Belfast Celtic, Larne, Fulham, Portadown, Bangor, Newry Town, Northern Ireland)

Photograph of James Jones looking into the camera with his arms crossed over his chest
By Tumijo - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

James Jones, known for his nickname more, was another top goalscoring player born in Northern Ireland after Bambrick. He played from 1947 to 1964 and did most of his scoring for Gleanavon. As the rules were different back then, Jones' goals for the Irish League representative team count for 11 of his total 12 international goals. With the odd one out actually coming in one of his three appearances for his actual national team.

Jones dominated in the Irish League with Glenavon, scoring over 500 goals for them, but also produced an amazing return of 31 goals in 34 matches during his last season with Newry Town.

#6 Josef Bican (Rapid Vienna, Admira Vienna, Slavia Prague, Vitkovice, Hradec Kralove, Dynamo Prague, Slovan Liberec,Zbrojovka Brno, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Bohemia and Moravia) - 722 goals

Josef Bican 1940.jpg
By Unknown author, re-photo by David Sedlecký - Mladý hlasatel, ročník VI, číslo 14 (227), str. 211, 30. listopadu 1940, vyd. Melantrich a. s., Praha, Public Domain, Link

The second-oldest player on this list, with his age best illustrated by his representation of three different national teams - Austria, Bohemia and Moravia, and then Czechoslovakia after the Second World War. In total, he scored 32 goals in the international games. With the bulk of his goals coming in club games, with over 500 goals for Slavia Prague.

Bican bagged 515 league goals, additional 134 cup game goals, and he scored 41 times in continental games. Bican started playing in 1931 and finished his career in 1955 having played mostly in Czechoslovakia and Austria.

#5 Ferenc Puskas (Budapest Honved, Real Madrid, Hungary, Spain) - 724 goals

Ferenc Puskás.jpg
Autor Anefo -, CC0, Poveznica

Such a goalscorer that the award for the best goal of the year bears his name! Ferenc Puskas, known also as the "Galloping Major" was one of the best strikers the world has ever seen.

Puskas only represented two clubs in his career, Budapest Honved and Real Madrid, becoming a legend for both. His international record is also stellar, as he scored 84 goals in 85 matches for Hungary. While he also played four goalless games for Spain, at at time when switching international allegiance was allowed.

Puskas scored 56 goals in continental games, 69 in cup games, and 515 in league matches. The French magazine L'Equipe named Puskas the European Player of the 20th Century. Puskas started his gallop in 1943 and did the final lap in 1966.

#4 Romario (Vasco da Gama, PSV, Barcelona, Flamengo, Valencia, Fluminense, Al Sadd, Miami FC, Adelaide United, America RJ, Brazil) - 755 goals

Senadores da 57? Legislatura (52689451805).jpg
Autor Ag?ncia Senado from Brasilia, Brazil - Senadores da 57? Legislatura, CC BY 2.0, Poveznica

The one retired player on this list of greatest goalscorers of all time that has actually played into the 21st century. Starting in 1985 and playing for over 20 years, finishing in 2007. Romario had a truly nomadic career, switching clubs 15 times, with three stints at Vasco da Gama. Doing most of his scoring for the Brazilian side, 251 to be exact. In the national team, the Brazilian scored 64 goals when looking at the U23 side matches as well. For the A team, the ratio was 55 goals in 70 matches, winning one World Cup in 1994.

A Champions League top goalscorer, Romario scored 54 continental goals across Europe and South America. He bagged 93 cup goals and 544 league match goals.

#3 Pele (Santos, New York Cosmos, Brazil) - 762 goals


For Brazilians, Pele is still the best player ever. While his final goal tally changed in his own counting several times - much to the bemusement of some current players - Pele's official record is impressive enough. While many are not aware, Pele never played in Europe and only represented Santos in Brazil - scoring over 500 goals for them - and New York Cosmos in the USA.

Of the 10 top goalscorers of all time, he is the leading goalscorer in league competitions, with 604 goals. His Brazil record stands at 83 goals, while he scored 26 goals in club continental matches, and 49 in cup games. Pele played for 20 years, between 1957 and 1977 during which he famously won three World Cups.

#2 Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Miami, Argentina) - 827 goals

Lionel Messi

The best assist-maker of the 21st century is also the second-best goalscorer of all time. That alone are strong argument for making Leo Messi the best player of all time. With his trophy haul making it truly hard for anyone to argue otherwise. The Argentinian was often criticized due to his results for the national team, yet he delivered late in his career with the World Cup and the Copa America. But he was consistently goalscoring, counting to 106 goals in international waters.

Messi scored 672 goals for Barcelona, 32 for Paris Saint-Germain, and 17 for Inter Miami. Broken down according to competitions, it boils down to 501 MLS, Ligue 1, and La Liga goals. Then 149 continental goals, of which 129 in the Champions League, and 71 in the cup tournaments. He won eight Ballon d'Ors and six European Golden Shoe awards.

Messi graced the senior football pitch for the first time in 2004 and the 36-year-old has time on his side in regard to possibly making a run for the throne itself.

#1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Al-Nassr, Portugal) - 885 goals

Cristiano Ronaldo

The goal machine itself. Many believe that CR7 has the vision of reaching 1,000 goals and it might not be as ludicrous as it sounds. Despite his age (39), as CR7 is as productive as ever. In a lesser league, yet 50 goals in 56 games for Al-Nassr would be unattainable for players 10 years younger.

Cristiano started his obsession professionally in 2002, scoring five times for Sporting, then representing Manchester United where he scored 145 goals in both stints. The bulk of his goals came at Real Madrid, where he bagged 450 goals in 438 games, with the Juventus return better than remembered - 101 goals in 134 games.

Of course, Ronaldo was always especially inspired after hearing the Champions League anthem and is the competition's leading goalscorer with 140 goals. Overall in continental games he has 164 goals, 52 in cup matches, and 541 in league games.

While he always reserved the greatest passion for Portugal and he scored 128 goals so far and is the best international goalscorer. Besides his five Ballon d'Ors, CR7 won the European Golden Shoe on four different occasions.

The top 10 football goalscorers of all time are the statistical mountains of sorts. Some men on this list have held their places for decades and will continue to do so. Others have their placements in imminent danger. When watching your Mbappes and Haalands, this is who they are competing with as well.


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