News

As Kane and Lewandowski chase records, who are the top international scorers of all-time?


England’s Harry Kane and Poland’s Robert Lewandowksi both netted for their respective nations over the international break, and both hit personal landmarks in doing so.

The Bayern Munich forward scored his 75th goal for Poland, while Harry Kane's strike from the spot saw him draw level with Bobby Charlton as the joint second-highest goalscorer in England's history, with 49 goals.

The Tottenham striker sits just four off the Three Lions all-time record, currently held by Wayne Rooney. But, as Kane and Lewandowski both chase records, who sits atop the international goalscoring charts, and how many more do both need to score to make it into the top 10?

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Goals: 115

Games: 186

Goals per game: 0.62

Leading the charts and still operating on the international scene, it will be a hard task for anyone to catch Cristiano Ronaldo on the international scene. The Portuguese star will have plenty of opportunities to continue adding to his lead over second-place at the upcoming World Cup, and potentially beyond.

2. Ali Daei (Iran)

Goals: 109

Games: 148

Goals per game: 0.74

The Iranian striker was leading the charts until September last year, and his tally of 109 is well clear of third place. Retiring in 2006, he will have no chance to add to his haul, but 109 goals in 148 games is a record that even the world's most in-form marksmen would be proud of.

3. Mokhtar Dahari (Malaysia)

Goals: 89

Games: 142

Goals per game: 0.62

Malaysian legend Mokhtar Dahari was only recognised by FIFA in 2021, but takes third place on this list with a brilliant 89 goals in 142 games. Playing through the 1970s and 1980s, he helped his country to a historical high of 61st in the world, but died in 1991 at just 37 years old.

4. Ferenc Puskas (Hungary/Spain)

Goals: 84

Games: 89

Goals per game: 0.94

An icon of the European game, Ferenc Puskas has the highest goals per game tally on this list, and is the only player to have represented two nations. 84 goals in 85 games for Hungary, as well as over 500 goals at club level, make him one of the most feared forwards of his generation.

5. Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Goals: 81

Games: 160

Goals per game: 0.51

In this area of the Messi vs Ronaldo debate, it is Messi that has to play second fiddle to CR7, boasting 'just' 81 goals on the international stage. His 160 caps mean that his goals per game rate is lower, too, although of course the sheer volume of both games and goals is nothing to be sniffed at.

6. Sunil Chhetri (India)

Goals: 80

Games: 125

Goals per game: 0.64

One of four players still operating for their country on this list, Sunil Chhetri has racked up a weighty 80 goals for India in just 125 games for The Blue Tigers. Chhetri has played all of his domestic career in his home country, and has helped the Indian national team, which he captains, to success in the SAFF Championship in 2011, 2015 and 2021.

7. Ali Mabkhout (UAE)

Goals: 79

Games: 105

Goals per game: 0.75

The youngest man on this list at just 31 years old, Ali Mabkhout is well on his way to a century of goals for UAE, having just passed the 100 game mark. He has spent his whole career with Al Jazira, where he has racked up 176 goals in 245 appearances.

8. Godfrey Chitalu (Zambia)

Goals: 79

Games: 111

Goals per game: 0.71

The greatest Zambian footballer of all-time, Chitalu scored 79 goals in 111 games for his country, and was voted Zambian Footballer of the Year a record five times. Becoming Zambia national team manager upon retirement, he tragically perished with the entire national team in a plane crash in 1993.

9. Hussein Saeed (Iraq)

Goals: 78

Games: 137

Goals per game: 0.57

78 goals in a 14-year international career has cemented Hussein Saeed's legacy in Iraqi football history, while he also helped his country to lift two Arabian Gulf cups, a World Military cup, and a gold medal at the Asian Games. Retiring in 1990, he tried his hand at management before becoming President of the Iraqi Football Association between 2004 and 2011.

10. Pele (Brazil)

Goals: 77

Games: 92

Goals per game: 0.84

There is still plenty of discourse about just how many goals Pele managed in his senior career, with more seemingly crawling out of the woodwork every year. However, his international record cannot be doubted, scoring 77 goals in 92 games for Brazil to help them to three World Cup wins.

Read more:

World Cup 2022: Every team that has qualified for Qatar so far


Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.



Related Content