Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo is now the official record holder for most goals in football history, with 827 goals in 1,151 games for club and country.

The Portugal captain went past legendary Austria-Czech forward Josef Bican with the first of his three goals against Tottenham Hotspur in a Premier League match on Saturday, March 12.

Furthermore, the MUFC icon consolidated his record for most hat-tricks by an active footballer to 59 with his hat-trick.

If we break down the Ronaldo total goals tally, the 37-year-old has 506 league goals, 51 in domestic cup competitions, 152 in continental tournaments at the club level. With 117 goals, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is the leading goalscorer in international football history.

Bican, who is recognised by FIFA to have scored 805 career goals, held the title for most goals in football history for over 60 years. The late striker is best remembered for his exploits for Slavia Prague, where he netted 395 goals in 217 games.

There have been many contradictory reports about Josef Bican’s official tally of goals, but following a 2020 tribute by FIFA on his birth anniversary, it was finally confirmed that he amassed 805 goals in a career that spanned between 1931 to 1955.

Lionel Messi, who is third on the list, has scored 804 goals in 1,012 games across club and country. The Argentine legend, whose rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo has dominated news headlines for almost two decades, has also shone as a playmaker apart from his goalscoring accomplishments.

On the goalscoring front, the Argentina captain is the leading South American goalscorer in international football and the all-time scorer for Barcelona (672 goals in 778 games).

Romario and legendary Brazil icon Pele complete the top five list of players with the most goals in football history.

Romario is fourth on the list for most goals in football history. The former PSV Eindhoven and FC Barcelona striker aggregated 772 goals in 994 games and is best remembered for guiding Brazil to the 1994 FIFA World Cup title.

Three-time World Cup winner Pele is celebrated as one of the finest goalscorers in the history of the sport, with 757 goals in 831 games. During his celebrated career, the Brazil star notched a multitude of records with the most notable ones being the youngest player to score a World Cup hat-trick (17 years and 244 days at the 1958 FIFA World Cup).

Most goals in football history

Player Games Goals Career span
Cristiano Ronaldo* 1,151 827 2002-present
Josef Bican 530+ 805 1931–1955
Lionel Messi* 1,012 804 2004-present
Romario 994 772 1985–2007
Pele 831 757 1957–1977

Active players*


Featured photo: AFP / LINDSEY PARNABY