Which footballer has the most goals in the history of the sport?

Which footballer has the most goals in the history of the sport?

Helix Odhiambo
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:13 PM

The Journey of football has been remarkable, with the rising of many outstanding strikers capable of scoring goals at will. Pele, Ferenc Puskas, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi are the players who come to mind when talking about the greatest scorers globally. But which footballer has the most goals in history?

Which footballer has the most goals?
Leading football scorers have found the net over 500 times in their careers. Photo: Hugo Amaral, Antonio Borga, Focus on Sport, Picture Alliance, Bob Thomas, Denis Doyle (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

In football, the scoring department is traditionally assigned to strikers or forwards. In modern football, some midfielders and defenders have also stepped up to become good scorers. So, which footballer has the most goals ever? Unfortunately, only two of the top 10 greatest scorers in history are still playing football. The rest have retired and pursuing different things, while others died.

Which footballer has the most goals in history?




Cristiano Ronaldo



Josef Bican



Lionel Messi









Ferenc Puskas



Gerd Muller



Ferenc Deak



Uwe Seeler



Tulio Maravilha



According to FIFA stats, no one has scored more goals in soccer than Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo. He is ahead of Josef Bican and Lionel Messi. In this article, you'll find details of the top 10 goal scorers in history as of 7th October 2022.

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10. Tulio Maravilha (1988-2019)

Which footballer has the most goals in history?
T. Maravilha celebrates after scoring during the Jogo das Estrelas Charity game between CR Flamengo Stars and Friends of Brazilian icon Zico at Engenhao Stadium on 26 December 2010. Photo: Buda Mendes
Source: Getty Images

Tenth on the list is Brazilian legend Tulio Maravilha. He scored around 575 times in about 794 matches. Maravilha played his career for nearly 20 clubs, including Botafogo, Corinthians, Cruzeiro and Goiás Esporte Clube.

9. Uwe Seeler (1953-1978)

Uwe Seeler is a former German striker who had the best phase of his career at Hamburger. He scored slightly over 575 goals, becoming Hamburg's all-time leading scorer.

8. Ferenc Deak (1940-1957)

The Hungarian legend was a scoring machine in his prime. He began his professional career in 1940 and retired in 1957 with over 576 goals. Deak is one of the few Hungarian players who found the back of the net over 25 times in 20 games.

7. Gerd Muller (1962-1981)

Which footballer has the most goals in the world?
Gerd Mueller raises his right fist celebrating their 2-1 win over the Dutch in the World Cup final on 7 July 1974 in Munich. Photo: Picture Alliance
Source: Getty Images

Many people remember Muller for his winning strike in the 1974 World Cup final as West Germany crashed the Netherlands 2-1 to win the title. Gerd Muller scored 734 goals in 793 games for Bayern Munich and his national team.

6. Ferenc Puskas (1943-1966)

Which footballer has the most goals ever?
Ferenc Puskas of Real Madrid throwing flowers to fans before their game against AEK Athens in Athens. The match finished in a 3-3 draw. Photo: Popperfoto
Source: Getty Images

Puskas left behind an incredible legacy, including scoring arguably the most attractive goals in soccer. He found the back of the net 746 times in about 754 matches. The legendary striker had an incredible performance in Budapest before displaying an electrifying career at Real Madrid.

5. Pele (1957-1977)

Has any footballer scored 1000 goals?
Pele of the New York Cosmos celebrates after scoring during an NASL Soccer game, circa 1977, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo: Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

Has any footballer scored 1000 goals? Over the years, the Brazilian legend has often claimed to have scored more than 1,000 times in his career. However, some of his strikes are believed to come in amateur and unofficial matches. According to reports, Pele managed around 757 goals in about 831 games.

4. Romario (1985-2007)

Top 10 goal scorers in soccer history
Brazil's Romario celebrates after opening the scorers in a 3-0 win over Cameroon in the 1994 World Cup in Stanford, USA, on 24 June 1994. Photo: Bob Thomas Sports
Source: Getty Images

Romario is one of the most accomplished forwards in Brazilian history. One of his best performances was in 2000 when he scored four times in a 6-0 win against Venezuela. Romario played for several clubs, including Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven, Flamengo and Valencia, scoring 772 goals in 994 matches.

3. Lionel Messi (2003-present)

Most goals in international football
Lionel Messi of Paris Saint Germain celebrates after scoring against OGC Nice during their Ligue 1 match at Parc des Princes on 1st October 2022 in Paris, France. Photo: Antonio Borga
Source: Getty Images

The seven times Ballon D'or winner ranks as the third-highest scorer in football history with 778 goals in 984 matches. Messi spent most of his career at Barcelona before moving to Paris Saint-Germain in August 2021. He recently won two international titles with his country, Argentina.

2. Josef Bica (1931-1956)

Josef Bican is the second most prolific scorer in soccer. Although he is not a popular figure compared to the others on the list, his numbers prove he was a scoring machine. He helped the Austrian national team reach the semi-finals of the 1934 World Cup.

Bican needed around 530 matches to score slightly over 805 times in his career. So which footballer has scored the most goals?

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (2001-present)

Footballer with the most goals ever
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal celebrates after scoring during a UEFA Nations League match against Switzerland at Alvalade stadium. Portugal won 4-0. Photo: Hugo Amaral
Source: Getty Images

Ronaldo is the footballer with the most goals ever but does not seem to slow down. The Portuguese forward has broken numerous records in soccer, and he is among the most successful footballers ever. Besides, he has played for four clubs in his professional career, Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus. CR7 has scored 815 times in 1,128 games.

Most goals in international football

Which footballer has the most goals in the world on the international front? Cristiano still leads in men's international football, with 117 goals in 189 caps for Portugal as of 7th October 2022. Iranian Ali Daei comes second with 109, followed by Messi with 90 for Argentina.




Cristiano Ronaldo



Ali Daei



Lionel Messi



Mokhtar Dahari



Ferenc Puskas

Hungary & Spain


Sunil Chhetri



Ali Mabkhout



Godfrey Chitalu



Hussein Saeed






Most goals in a football match

Algerian legend Hacene Lalmas holds the record for the most strikes in a single men's game. Lalmas scored 14 times in an Algerian professional league match between OM Ruisseau and JS Birtouta in 1962-63. His contribution helped his club, OM Ruisseau, beat their opponents 18-0.

Lalmas was an outstanding forward who retired after finding the back of the net 131 times in the Algerian professional league. The Confederation of African Football also voted him as the 14th best African player of all time.

Most goals in a football match
Archie Thompson of the Melbourne Victory celebrates his scoring against the Melbourne Heart during the round 19 A-League game at Etihad Stadium on 2 February 2013. Photo: Robert Cianflone
Source: Getty Images

Former Australian forward Archie Thompson is the player with the most goals in a single international match. He netted 13 times for his nation in a 31-0 victory over American Samoa during the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Knowing which footballer has the most goals in soccer could shape your opinion on who is the greatest player of all time. Some people believe having many goals is enough, but others understand that there are many other ways of proving greatness besides getting into the score sheet.

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Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.