The Argentina national football team has been one of the powerhouses of the sport since the early 1900s.

Some of the all-time greats have been behind Argentina’s reign at the top, with the God of football Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, who has the most assists in football history, contributing immensely to the two-time World Cup champions’ reputation.

Lionel Messi, who is on course to become his country’s all-time leading scorer in World Cups, is also Argentina’s top goal-scorer across all competitions with 98 goals.

The playmaker debuted in a friendly match against Hungary in August 2005. Interestingly, he was sent off within two minutes of his substitute appearance. 

Since then, Messi has guided Argentina to four Copa America finals, winning the title in 2021, and the 2022 World Cup final in addition to a runners-up finish at the 2014 World Cup. 

Former striker Gabriel Batistuta held the record till 2016, scoring 55 goals in 78 appearances for Argentina.

Revered as one of the most prolific goal-scorers in the 1990s, Batistuta made his debut in 1991 and guided his team to two consecutive Copa America triumphs, finishing as the top scorer in the 1991 edition.

Former Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero is next on the list of Argentina’s top goal-scorers, netting 41 goals in 101 appearances.

Aguero made his debut in a friendly match against rivals Brazil at the age of 18 and went on to represent La Albiceleste in three World Cups and five Copa Americas, forming a lethal partnership with his countryman Lionel Messi during their time together.

Unfortunately, his career ended prematurely due to an unstable heart condition, forcing him to retire in 2021.

Hernan Crespo and Gonzalo Higuain complete the top-five list of the top goal-scorers for Argentina.

Hernan Crespo’s slow start to his international career saw him make only three appearances in the first two years (1995 and 1996), but that did not deter him from becoming one of the leading goal-scorers, netting 35 goals in 64 appearances.

Meanwhile, Higuain came into the national side at the age of 21 and marked his debut with a goal in a 2-1 win over Peru in October 2009. Since then, he went on to net 31 goals in 75 appearances.

Moreover, Higuain made his debut under Diego Maradona, who himself features in the list of Argentina top goal-scorers with 29 goals in 80 appearances. 

Maradona is best remembered for captaining Argentina to their second World Cup title in 1986, finishing as the second-highest top-scorer behind Englishman Gary Lineker with five goals. 

Argentina’s top goal-scorers

Player Appearances Goals
Lionel Messi* 172 98
Gabriel Batistuta 78 55
Sergio Aguero 101 41
Hernan Crespo 64 35
Gonzalo Higuain 75 31
Diego Maradona 80 29
Angel Di Maria* 129 28
Lautaro Martinez* 46 21
Daniel Passarella 60 20
Jose Sanfilippo 21 18

(*) Active players


Photo credit: Alamy