The top scorers of all time form an elite club of top soccer players. Although there are different scoring methods and rankings, a player must have scored at least 500 goals to be considered one of the top scorers. In fact, the top five goalscorers of all time have all scored more than 700 goals. We introduce you to the top 10 and also list the top scorers in the Bundesliga and at World Cup games.
10 best goal scorers of all time
1. Josef Bican: Austrian and Czech champion
The International Organization of Football Historians has honored Josef Bican as the world’s top scorer of the 20th century. Josef “Pepi” Bican was born in Vienna in 1913 and died in Prague in 2001. As a player for Austria and the Czech Republic, he was one of the best strikers of his time, and his 805 goals in 530 games between 1931 and 1955 made him a legend.
That corresponds to a rate of around one and a half goals per game. This accuracy remains even if you evaluate all of his 918 games and 1,468 goals in total.
Bican was already playing for Rapid Vienna in the first division at the age of 17. In 1935 he moved to Admira Vienna and, in 1937, to the Czech Republic. Towards the end of his playing career and afterward, Josef Bican also worked as a coach.
2. Romário: World Player of the Year 1994
Romário de Souza Faria is one of Brazil’s best-known strikers and has managed to win the top scorer award in eight competitions during his long career as a professional footballer. In addition, Romário was one of the 125 best-living football players in 2004 and received the 1994 World Footballer of the Year award.
Romário de Souza Faria was born in 1996 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His short stature earned him the nickname “Baixinho,” the short one, but he’s also known for his two-footed game. His career began in 1979 with juniors and his professional game in 1985 with CR Vasco de Gama. He played professional football in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia for 23 years. Romário has scored 55 goals in 70 international matches for the Brazilian national team, making him one of the Seleção’s top scorers.
Romário ended his career as a striker in 2008 and then went into politics.
3. Pelé: King and three-time world champion
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé, is also known as the king of football. The forward was born in Três Corações in Brazil in 1940 and has received numerous awards for his professional career, such as the FIFA Ballon d’Or, Sportsman of the Century, World Player of the 20th Century, and World Player of the Century titles.
Pelé has been the top scorer in the Brazilian championship 11 times, scoring 767 goals in official matches. Including all 1,363 matches, he scored a total of 1,281 times, including 1,091 goals for Club FC Santos, with whom he won 26 titles in 17 years.
On November 19, 1969, Pelé scored his 1000th goal for FC Santos, and Brazilians call the day “O Milésimo” (meaning “thousandth”). The state had imposed a transfer ban on him to prevent him from moving abroad.
Pelé was a three-time world champion with the Brazilian national team in 1958, 1962, and 1970. He scored 77 goals in 92 international matches, becoming the all-time leading goalscorer for the Brazilian national team and also one time top scorer in the 1959 Copa America.
4. Ferenc Puskás: Major and top scorer
Hungarian football player and coach Ferenc “Major” Puskás lived from 1928 to 2006. He was captain of the Hungarian national team from 1950 to 1954 and featured in the “Miracle of Bern” and in the 6-3 “Game of the Century” against England in 1953.
From 1956 he played for Real Madrid and won the European Cup three times with the team and the Spanish championship several times. In 1962 he played for Spain in the World Cup. Puskás ended his playing career at the age of 39 and became a coach in a total of nine countries: Spain, the USA, Canada, Greece, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Paraguay, Australia, and his native Hungary.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal’s record goalscorer
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born in Funchal, Portugal in 1985. As a player in wing and attack, the goalscorer has so far set numerous records and successes. After training through Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United signed 18-year-old Ronaldo. He won three domestic championships and the 2008 UEFA Champions League with the club.
Christiano Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid was the most expensive transfer in history at 94 million euros. In 2015, he became Real Madrid’s record goalscorer and won four more Champions League titles with the club. This makes Ronaldo the first player to win five titles. In 2020, Ronaldo passed the 700-goal mark, making him one of the absolute best in the world.
6. Gerd Müller: Bundesliga record goalscorer and “bomber of the nation.”
Gerhard “Gerd” Müller was born in 1945 in Nördlingen, Germany. He played professional football as a forward, and his 365 goals in the Bundesliga earned him the nickname “Bomber of the Nation.”
He was the German champion four times with FC Bayern Munich, won the DFB Cup four times, the European Cup of Champions three times, and the World Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup once each. As a national player, Gerd Müller became the European champion in 1972 and the world champion in 1974 with the German team. He manages to become the top scorer in 18 different competitions.
7. Lionel Messi: “Leo” is the record world footballer of the year
Argentine attacking player Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini was born in 1987 and had been playing for FC Barcelona since he was 14 years old. Messi’s career is full of records: at the age of 24, he became his club’s all-time leading goalscorer, a year later, the youngest player in La Liga with 200 goals.
He is considered the top scorer and preparer in the first Spanish league and a seven-time record top scorer. Lionel Messi has won the Golden Boot six times and has become the all-time top scorer in the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League.
His record Ballon d’Or wins and his title as FIFA World Player of the Year also include six awards each. In addition, he is the only player in Argentina to have been named best national footballer of the year twelve times. Messi is also the team’s record goalscorer, with 72 goals as Argentina’s captain.
8. Ferenc Deák: Record goalscorer in a European league
Ferenc Deák was born in Budapest in 1922 and died there in 1998. He played early in his career for Szentlőrinci AC from 1935 to 1947. He still holds the record for most goals this season in a European league.
He played for Ferencváros Budapest until 1950 and won the championship with the club in 1948/49. From 1950 to 1954, he played for Újpest Budapest.
From 1946 to 1949, Deák played twenty games for the Hungarian national team, scoring 29 goals. On November 20, 1949, he ended his career in the national team with a 5-0 win over Sweden.
9. Uwe Seeler and Tulio Maravilha
Uwe Seeler was born in Hamburg in 1936 and was considered one of the world’s best center forwards during his career as a professional soccer player. For the duration of his career, he played for Hamburger SV, and he became the Bundesliga’s top scorer in the 1963/64 season.
Uwe Seeler played as captain of the German national team and became vice-world champion in 1966. In 1970 it was enough for third place. In 1972, the DFB appointed Seeler as the honorary captain of the national team.
10. Arthur Friedenreich
Arthur “Fried” Friedenreich was born in São Paulo in July 1892 and died there in 1969. The Brazilian goalscorer is considered one of the best soccer players of all time.
Friedenreich was on the pitch in Rio de Janeiro on 21 July 1914 for Brazil’s national team’s first game against Exeter City FC. The 2-0 win cost him two teeth. After that, he earned three nicknames: “Roi des Rois du Football” in France, roughly King of Kings of Football; The Brazilians called him “Pé de Ouro,” gold foot; the Uruguayans called him “El Tigre,” the tiger.
According to FIFA, Friedenreich scored 1,329 goals during his career and was the first to surpass the 1,000-goal mark. All in all, Friedenreich was the top scorer in the state championship of Sao Paulo nine times.
Túlio Maravilha: Top scorer of the Campeonato Brasileiro
Túlio Humberto Pereira da Costa was born in Goiânia, Brazil, in 1969 and has played professional football with Goiás EC since 1987. With the club, he won the state championship of Goiás three times. He then played for numerous Brazilian and international clubs, as well as for the national team of Brazil.
Túlio is the only footballer to have been a top scorer in both Brazil’s Série A, Série B, and Série C. He scored the most goals in club history for Goiás EC with 187 goals and the most goals in club history for Vila Nova FC with 99 goals. With the national team, he became runners-up in the 1995 Copa América.
Alternative ranking of all goals
If you actually take into account all of a player’s goals, an alternative ranking results in even more impressive numbers. However, unoccupied goals or no longer verifiable historical data are also included here, for example, for Josef Bican.
- Josef Bican: 1,468 goals
- Gerd Muller: 1,461 goals
- Arthur Friedenreich: 1,329 goals
- Pele: 1,284 goals
- Franz Binder: 1,006 goals
- Romario: 923 goals
- Alfredo Di Stefano: 810 goals
- Eusébio: 790 goals
- Ferenc Puskas: 754 goals
- Cristiano Ronaldo: 743 goals
Other successful scorers
Top 10 top scorers in the Bundesliga
Top 10 World Cup Goalscorers
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