Cristiano Ronaldo started 2021 as he means to go on – with goals.

The Juventus forward scored twice against Udinese to move him ever closer to legendary Brazil duo Romario and Pele, while Lionel Messi is not far behind either.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are among the leading scorers in football history


Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are among the leading scorers in football history

In 2020, Ronaldo became only the second player ever to score a century of goals for his country, taking his tally to 102 for Portugal, while Messi surpassed Pele’s club record of 643 goals.

And in the first week of December, Ronaldo scored his 750th career goal for club and country by netting against Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League.

Messi, meanwhile, brought up his own piece of history recently when he became the seventh player to score 700 goals for club and country.

They are among the best to have ever played the game and certainly have the statistics to back that up.

The debate over which superstar is superior has raged on for several years and world football is eagerly awaiting their head-to-head clash in the Champions League this week.

Both men have helped reshape modern football but who else is on the all time top goalscorers list and where do the current stars sit?

Ronaldo and Messi still have a few years left before they hang up their boots and both will be looking to climb this list.

However, they’ll have to continue their prolific form for a number of seasons yet if they are to surpass the legendary Josef Bican.

Josef Bican is the leading goalscorer of all-time

Josef Bican is the leading goalscorer of all-time

10. Tulio Maravilha

575 goals (total games unknown) – 1988-2019

A Brazilian journeyman who certainly had the eye for goal.

Only recently retired, Tulio played for nearly 40 clubs in his career.

9, Uwe Seeler

575+ goals (total games unknown) – 1953-1978

The German great was prolific for Hamburger but struggled to turn his goals into silverware.

He scored twice in his one and only appearance for Ireland’s Cork Celtic in 1978.

8. Ferenc Deak

576+ goals (total games unknown) – 1940-1957

One of Hungary’s best during their heyday and a legend in his home country if not as much elsewhere in the world.

Incredibly, Deak scored over three goals per game during his career at Szentlorinci AC.

Barcelona and Argentina legend Lionel Messi celebrates yet another goal

Barcelona and Argentina legend Lionel Messi celebrates yet another goal

7. Lionel Messi 

715 goals in 892 games – 2003-present

A true one club legend, Messi has won countless awards to go along with his goals at Barcelona.

The Argentine is still going strong and will be looking to overtake a few more names on this list before he retires.

6. Gerd Muller

734 goals in 793 games – 1962-1981

The striker’s most important goal was the winner in the 1974 World Cup final as Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 in Munich.

Muller is also Bayern Munich’s record goalscorer and has well over double the second best.

5. Ferenc Puskas

746+ goals in 754+ games – 1943-1966 

Another Hungarian icon, Puskas now lends his name to the award for the most beautiful goal of each year.

He made his name in Budapest before cementing his legend at Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo is still firing in the goals

getty images

Cristiano Ronaldo is still firing in the goals

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

758 goals in 1034 games – 2001-present

A modern great for Manchester United, Real Madrid and now Juventus.

‘CR7’ has won everything in the game but still has his eyes set on more as he closes in on Pele.

3. Pele

767 goals in 831 games – 1957-1977

One of the greatest ever and a three-time World Cup winner.

Pele scored nearly a goal-per-game during his 656 competitive games for Santos, though claims to have scored 1000 in his career.

Is he all that? Jason Cundy insists Pele ‘wasn’t as good as Messi and Ronaldo’

2. Romario

772 goals 994 games – 1985-2007

Romario lead Brazil to World Cup glory in 1994, scoring five goals in the tournament.

He enjoyed a stellar career at a number of top clubs around the world.

1. Josef Bican

805+ goals in 530+ games – 1931-1956

Scoring 395 in 217 games for Slavia Prague, Bican claims the honour as football’s leading goalscorer of all-time.

It is said he scored close to 1,500 goals in total during his playing days.

All data courtesy of Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF) and correct as of 04/01/21


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