Phenomenal Ronaldo, Messi and top 10 highest goal scorers in football’s history

FOOTBALL Phenomenal Ronaldo, Messi and top 10 highest goal scorers in football’s history

Kiplagat Sang • 11:52 - 26.03.2023

The two outstanding stars stole headlines once again with goals for Portugal and Argentina.

After Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo made history during the international break, Pulse Sports brings you the highest goal scorers in football’s history.

The two stars have been compared in various respects, and even at their advanced ages, they continue to write more history into their stellar careers.

Ronaldo and Messi are considered two of the greatest players to walk on the football landscape and are also in the top three on the list of the highest goal scorers in football history.

Top 10 highest goal scorers in football’s history

10. Joe Brambick [616 goals] 

Former Ireland and Chelsea striker Joseph Bambrick.

The North Ireland striker is considered one of the greatest players in the country for what he achieved during his generation. 

From 1935 to 1938, Brambick scored 34 goals at Chelsea, but his best time was spent at Linefield. 

At the North Irish club, he scored a whopping 286 goals from 183 matches. 50 of the 286 goals came during the 1930/31 season, and this was the highest total in the world that year.

The star also spent time with Walsall and was with the club for a season before the outbreak of World War II led to his retirement.

He scored 12 goals in 11 games for the national team, including six in one game against their arch-rivals, Wales, and proudly enjoys his spot in the top 10 highest goal scorers in football’s history.

9. Eusebio [619] 

Former Benfica and Portugal striker Eusebio.

Considered one of the greatest strikers in the 1960s and 1970s, the Benfica legend is ranked ninth on the top 10 scorers list in football history.

Eusebio played for 10 clubs during his active time and was a vital part of the Portuguese national team, Selecao.

O Rei, as he is known in Portugal, scored 619 goals in 639 games and is ranked ninth in the all-time top 10 list of goal scorers in football.

He became the Portuguese First Division's top scorer seven times and helped Benfica win 11 La Liga titles. 

The club also lifted five Portuguese Cups and reached three European Cup finals while Eusebio was still in their ranks.

8. Gerd Muller [634 goals] 

Former Bayern Munich and West Germany star Gerd Muller.

Despite his rather short height, Muller was a reliable goal-scorer for both West Germany and Bayern Munich.

Nicknamed Der Bomber, Muller was a serial title-winning footballer across the 1960s and 1970s. 

He won the German Championship four times, the DFB-Pokal four times, the European Champions Cup three times, the Intercontinental Cup as well as European Cup Winners' Cup once.

The Nordlingen-born star became the German top scorer seven times and the European top scorer twice, and he also held the single-season Bundesliga record with 40 goals in the season 1971/72. This record was broken by Robert Lewandowski, who scored 41 goals during the 2020/21 season.

Muller held the record for most goals scored in a calendar year after scoring 85 goals in 1972. This record stood until Muller’s total was surpassed by Lionel Messi in 2012.

Outstanding German goal machine who will always be mentioned proudly during discussions on the top 10 highest-scoring footballers.

7. Jimmy Jones [647 goals]

Former North Ireland striker Jimmy Jones.

Jones is the leading goalscorer in the history of Irish League football with a total of 647 goals.

A Glenavon legend, Jones scored 517 goals for the club and topped their goal charts for 10 consecutive seasons.

Other clubs he played for are Belfast Celtic, Lame, Fulham, Portadown, Bangor, and Newry Town.

6. Ferenc Puskas [729 goals]

Former real Madrid and Hungary striker Ferenc Puskas.

Puskas, a name that remains as popular as during the footballer’s active days, was a deadly forward during his generation.

In the list of the highest goal scorers in football, the Austrian who made his name at Real Madrid, is sixth. He was a star during his career, which started in 1943 and ended in 1969.

He became a naturalized Spanish citizen and played for La Roja in four games, of which three were in the 1960 World Cup final.

A transfer target for AC Milan, Juventus, and Manchester United, Puskas ended up signing for Real Madrid, and in his first La Liga season, he scored four hat-tricks.

The forward scored 20 or more goals in each of his first six seasons in La Liga, and became the Pichichi – an award given to the top goalscorer of each La Liga season – winner four times.

5. Pele [762 goals]

Brazil and Santos legend Pele.
The great Pele

The discussion on the highest goal scorers in football history cannot end without Pele’s name popping out several times.

The striker, who was declared a national treasure to prevent his transfer to any club outside Brazil, made his name while playing for Santos and the national side, Selecao.

Pele could play as an inside forward, a second striker, or out wide, and this helped him score as many goals as he could.

4. Romario [775 goals]

Brazil and Barcelona legend Romario.

Unlike Pele, who spent most of his time inside Brazil, Romario became a global football star, especially when he played for Barcelona.

In Spain, he was part of Johan Cruyff's Dream Team, and one of his outstanding moments was a hat-trick against Real Madrid in a 5-0 El Classico win.

After becoming the runner-up in 1993, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1994.

Lionel Messi [800 goals]

Messi reached a new milestone against Panama
Messi reached a new milestone against Panama

A 21st-century sporting phenomenon, the 2022 World Cup-winning captain is considered one of the greatest-ever footballers.

The 35-year-old registered his 99th international goal from a free-kick when Argentina beat Panama 2-0 on March 23.

This was Messi’s 800th career goal, as he continues to torment goalkeepers even in his advanced age.

2. Josef Bican [805 goals]

Former Austrian-Czech striker Josef Bican.

Ironically, Bican is not as famous as the other players featured on the list of the highest goal scorers in football history.

He is second on the list, yes, second, ahead of Messi with five goals.

The Austrian-Czech footballer made his  debut for Austria in a 2–2 draw against Scotland and played in the 1934 World Cup, where they reached the semi-finals.

He died at the age of 88 in 2001, and his former club, Slavia Prague, commemorated what would have been Bican's 100th birthday by wearing shirts that featured a replica of his signature.

Cristiano Ronaldo [830 goals]

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Al Nassr.
Portugal and football icon Cristiano Ronaldo is the most capped international men's football player in history | Photo Credit: Courtesy


The Portuguese star has continued to add goals to his tally even at the age of 38.

Ronaldo has enjoyed a trophy-laden career, especially during his time at Real Madrid – a club he joined for a world record transfer fee of £80 million at the time.

On March 23, the Al Nassr star scored a brace as Portugal's Euro 2024 qualifying campaign started on a perfect note with a 4-0 win over Liechtenstein.

This match was Ronaldo’s 197th senior game for Portugal, and he became the most capped player in men's international football. 

The former Porto, Manchester United, and Juventus forward also became the first player to score 100 competitive international goals.

He rightfully occupies the first slot in the list of the highest goal scorers in football’s history.