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Cristiano Ronaldo goes past Ali Daei’s 109 goals, sets new record for most goals in international football

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Portugal football team captain Cristiano Ronaldo produced a ‘Fergie time’ heroics to help the Seleção to register a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Republic of Ireland in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The twin strikes took Cristiano Ronaldo’s tally to 111 goals with Portugal, meaning that he surpassed former Iran center-forward Ali Daei, who previously held the title for the most goals in international football. Daei’s record of 109 goals stood untouchable for 15 years, since 2006, until Ronaldo matched the figure at the re-scheduled Euro 2020 earlier this year.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who made his debut for the Portugal national team in the 1–0 win over Kazakhstan, is the highest appearance maker for the Euro 2016 winners. With his 180th cap, Ronaldo matched the European record for most-capped players in men’s international football which former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos held since 2020.

Ronaldo's major rival Lionel Messi has moved up to fifth in the list following his hat-trick against Bolivia. The former Barcelona captain now has 79 goals and surpassed Brazil icon Pele to become the most prolific international goalscorer from South America.

Most international goals in football

No. Player Country Goals
1. Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 111*
2. Ali Daei Iran 109
3. Mokhtar Dahari Malaysia 89
4. Ferenc Puskas Hungary 84
5. Lionel Messi Argentina 79
6. Godfrey Chitalu Zambia 79
7. Hussein Saeed Iraq 78
8. Pele Brazil 77
9. Ali Mabkhout United Arab Emirates 76
10. Kunishige Kamamoto Japan 75

Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri - with 74 goals - sits fourth in the list of highest active goalscorers in international football, behind Cristiano Ronaldo, six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi and UAE's Ali Mabkhout. Chhetri had previously overtaken Messi’s goal tally following his brace against Bangladesh in June, but the Argentinian captain moved up second following his triple strike in the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Bolivia.

Highest active goalscorers in international football

No. Player Country Goals
1. Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 111
2. Lionel Messi Argentina 79
3. Ali Mabkhout United Arab Emirates 76
4. Sunil Chhetri India 74
5. Robert Lewandowski Poland 69

Featured photo: AFP / BERNADETT SZABO

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