1. Arthur Friedenreich – 1,329 goals:
Surprisingly the man who tops this list is not Pele, but another Brazilian who went by the name Arthur Friedenreich. The Brazilian striker played for an astonishing 26 years from 1909-1935 scoring an absolutely incredible 1,329 goals in his career. He was the Copa America player of the tournament and the golden boot winner in 1919.
However, he never represented Brazil in a World Cup as there was a serious misunderstanding between the Football Leagues of the States of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Nicknamed the ‘Tiger’, he was the game’s first outstanding black player and he had to face many barriers and widespread racism throughout his career.
He played a starring role in Brazil’s 1919 and 1922 Copa America campaign and he was crowned as the “King of football” in Brazil’s 1925 tour of Europe. The late Arthur Friedenreich with 1,329 goals is the greatest goalscorer in football history.
2. Pele – 1,281 goals:
In the 1958 World Cup, a 17 year and 239-day old Brazilian striker emerged as probably the greatest prodigy of all time.With his pace, effortless grace, immense poise, impressive power and most importantly supreme intelligence, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, fondly known as Pele, is probably one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Winning three World Cups in 1958, 1962 and 1970, the only player in the world to achieve such a feat Pele has also scored a whopping 1281 goals in 1363 games. The striker who made the world believe in this game through his game, a player who brought a whole nation together, surely it is difficult to have found someone who has done it better than the legend Pele.Pele never played in Europe, spending the majority of his career at childhood club Santos. He spent a couple of seasons at New York Cosmos before calling time on his stunning career.
3. Josef Bican – 805 goals :
The player with a most incredible goals to game ratio of 1.52, Josef Bican was the season’s highest scorer in Europe on five separate occasions. Bican had the ability to play with both feet; he also had considerable pace and was able to run 100 metres in 10.8 seconds, which was as fast as many sprinters of the time.
The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) awarded Bican the “Golden Ball” as the greatest goalscorer of the last century.Bican is best known for his time with Rapid Vienna and Slavia Prague.
He is the only person in the history of the game to score 7 goals in a game on three different occasions. His goalscoring exploits with Vienna and Prague are scarcely believable.In 49 games for Vienna he scored 52 times while with Prague, he played 217 times scoring an astonishing 395 goals. With 805 goals in his career, the tall, handsome and speedy Austrian is the third highest goalscorer in the history of the game.
4. Romario – 743 goals :
In a long and successful career which spanned for close to 24 years, Romario cemented his legacy as one of the greatest goal scorers to ever play the game. The Brazilian is best remembered for his times at PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona.
Blessed with supreme dribbling skills and finishing, Romario’s laid back manner and supreme self-confidence made him one of the most dangerous forwards of all time. He scored 165 goals in 167 games for PSV and he also scored a very impressive 39 goals in his two seasons at Barcelona.In a nomadic career where he played for clubs like Flamengo, Vasco Da Gama, PSV, Barcelona and Valencia, Romario scored an amazing 688 goals in his 886 appearances.
He also scored 55 goals for Brazil and with 743 goals in his career, Romario is the fourth greatest goal scorer of all time.
5. Gerd Muller – 711 goals :
Gerd Müller is the most lethal finisher in the history of football. The German was not one to show fancy footwork or waste his time doing some eye-catching stepovers. What he did do was score goals and he scored everytime he played.Müller’s statistics are truly astonishing.
He has scored an amazing 711 goals for club and country and he even held the record for the most goals in a calendar year before it was broken by Lionel Messi. Müller scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches for Bayern Munich, almost 100 goals more than the second most successful Bundesliga scorer, Klaus Fischer.
Famous football author David Winner best epitomized Muller’s game when he said:“He never fitted the conventional idea of a great footballer, but he had lethal acceleration over short distances, a remarkable aerial game, and uncanny goalscoring instincts. His short legs gave him a strangely low center of gravity, so he could turn quickly and with perfect balance in spaces and at speeds that would cause other players to fall over. He also had a knack of scoring in unlikely situations.”Muller is quite simply the best finisher in football history.
6. Ferenc Puskas – 700 goals:
Blessed with a thunderous left foot and superb positioning skills, Ferenc Puskas is easily one of the greatest players to ever play the game. He was the lynchpin of the all-conquering “Magical Magyars” and led the Hungary team to unprecedented success.
During the second half of his career, Puskas formed a deadly combination with the great Alfredo Di Stefano during his stint at Real Madrid as they the duo tore up defences and guided the Los Blancos to five straight league titles and three European Cups. The legendary Hungarian striker was La Liga’s top scorer for 4 seasons in a row. His phenomenal goal scoring prowess can be seen from the fact that he scored an astonishing 616 goals in 620 appearances for his club sides.
He is also Hungary’s record scorer having scored 84 times in 85 appearances. With 700 goals in his amazing career, Puskas is the sixth highest goalscorer of all time.
7. Eusebio – 621 Goals
Statistics in football are often overrated, but 621 goals in 637 appearances, makes the Portuguese ‘black panther’ Eusebio one of the greatest goalscorers of all time. For many, including the great Pele, Eusebio was the undisputed king of football.
That he had a god given talent, was clear to everyone who was fortunate enough to watch him play. Blessed with an athletic physique and an incredible eye for goal, Eusebio is best remembered for his time with Benfica, where he won a European Cup and 11 Premiere Ligas.
In 440 matches for the Portuguese giants, he scored an incredible 473 times and he is still considered by many to be the greatest Portuguese footballer of all time.Eusebio won various personal accolades in those years, winning the Ballon d’Or in 1965 and coming second the following year where he lost to Bobby Charlton by a single vote. In 1968, he was awarded the Golden Boot for most number of goals in Europe, and achieved that feat again five years later.
‘The black panther’ definitely one of the greatest strikers to ever play the beautiful game.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo – 593 goals :
One of the two standout players of this generation, Cristiano Ronaldo is easily one of the greatest players of all time. Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Manchester United for a then world record fee of £80 million and he has been worth every single penny so far. Ever since his move to Real Madrid, his goalscoring exploits have been simply mind boggling. In 389 appearances, Ronaldo has scored an astonishing 399 goals and has been at the forefront of Real Madrid’s two Champions League triumphs in the last 3 years. He was also prolific with Manchester United where he scored 118 times in 292 games. Ronaldo has now scored an incredible 522 goals for his club sides making him the greatest goalscorer among the current footballers.
With 71 goals for Portugal, he is their all-time record goalscorer. He has scored a total of 593 goals in his career, and if he continues his incredible goalscoring exploits, he is sure to be ranked much higher than #9 by the time his career is over.
9. Ferenc Deak – 576 goals:
With 576 goals recorded for club and country, legendary Hungarian footballer Ferenc Deak takes the #8 position on this list. Deak was a supreme goalscorer who had an astonishing 1.15 goals to game ratio throughout his career.He played for several clubs in his active career which includes Szentlrinci SE, Ferencváros and Budapesti Dózsa.
He also represented the Hungary national team 20 times where he netted a phenomenal 29 goals.For his astonishing goalscoring efforts, Ferenc Deak was named the Hungarian footballer of the year in 1946. The second world war prevented Deak from playing more for Hungary, otherwise, this legendary goalscorer might have well been higher up on this list.
10. Lionel Messi – 571 goals :
The only footballer ever to win the Ballon d’Or five times, Lionel Messi is an absolute phenomenon. The diminutive Argentine has been Barcelona’s main man since 2008 and has put in some spell bounding performances for both Barcelona and Argentina. The Argentine maestro who is still only 29 has scored an incredible 513 goals in 621 matches for the Catalan giants. A player who has defined a generation along with Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi is definitely one of the greatest footballers of all time. Also, Messi is the highest scorer for his national side as well with 58 goals in 117 appearances. One of only two active players on this list, Messi’s position will definitely be much closer to the top when he calls time on his illustrious career.