Scoring a goal for your country is a proud achievement for any footballer. Like warriors on a battlefield, your skill and goalscoring abilities are instrumental in defeating the enemy. However, some players have proven themselves as reliable sources of goals in national team colors. One of such individuals is Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who has just become the highest goalscorer in men’s football.
Interestingly, age has done little to limit the 36-year old’s impact on a game in Portuguese colors. A little over three years ago, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hattrick against Spain at the World Cup, including a free kick in the game’s dying moments. Since then, the five-time Ballon D’or winner has scored 27 goals to take his tally to 111 goals in 180 matches. This tally also makes him the highest goalscorer for his country.
Join us as expert football analyst Kate Richardson (you can view her profile here) takes us through the list of the most fearsome goalscorers in history.
1 Cristiano Ronaldo
Playing against Cristiano makes you understand the saying, “cometh the hour, cometh the man.” The Portuguese talisman recently broke Ali Daei’s fifteen-year record with a brace against the Republic of Ireland. Interestingly, Ronaldo played and scored against Daei’s Iran back at the 2006 World Cup to reach the 12 goal mark for Portugal.
An immutable talent, Ronaldo has excelled just about in every league he’s played in, backing it up with a more than impressive international performance. Of his 111 goals, 14 have been penalties while he’s scored 10 free kicks. Ronaldo’s reputation as a prolific goalscorer is undeniable as he is also the highest goalscorer in the UEFA European Championship and Champions League competitions.
Appreciating Ronaldo’s stellar displays in front of goal, FIFA President Giannis Infantino had the following words, “In the process of breaking the record for the number of goals in men’s international football, you have become not only a national hero but an international icon and a role model for aspiring players all around the world. Your skills and consistent drive for improvement deserve global acclaim and admiration. Parabéns, Cristiano!”
Ronaldo has also received a Guinness World Record Plaque, which he shared on his Instagram page. The Portuguese captain is suspended for his team’s World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan, having stripped his shirt when he broke the record. CR7 has recently signed for Manchester United, and punters will be lurking on betting bonuses in Canada to see if he continues his blistering form.
2 Ali Daei
Iranian football legend Ali Daei previously held the record for the most goals in men’s international football until Cristiano broke the record in 2021. In a career that spanned 13 years, the former Bayern Munich striker netted 109 times in 149 games, including eight hat tricks.
The former national team captain correctly score his last goal in Iranian colors in a 3-2 friendly-match win against Costa Rica in March 2006. Daei famously surpassed Hungarian Legend Ferenc Puskas in November 2003, and he sure won’t be too glad Ronaldo has done the same to him.
The majority of Daei’s goals came in qualification matches, 36 of which were scored in World Cup qualification games alone. Additionally, Daei also loved lining up at the Azadi Stadium, where he bagged 44 goals – most of his career at a single ground.
3 Mokhtar Dahari
Malaysian goal-scoring legend Mokhtar Dahari’s career was an enigmatic one. From making his national team debut at the age of 19 to refusing a transfer move to Real Madrid, his choices and performances were one of a kind. Dahari represented his country 143 times, finding the net on 89 occasions to become the third-highest goalscorer of all time and the best frontman his country has ever produced.
Unfortunately, injuries frustrated Supermokh into retirement after thirteen years of football. Mokhtar passed away a few years after bagging his coaching license due to a motor neuron disease.
Alongside Gerd Muller, Puskas is one of the most famous European forwards of all time. If you have been hearing or watching footballers bag the Puskas Award (given to whoever scores the most beautiful goal each season), it is time to know the name behind it. Ferenc Puskas is one of the few footballers who played for more than one country (Hungary & Spain).
Puskas has one of the best goal ratios in men’s international football, finding the net on 84 occasions in a total of 89 games. His 84 goals all came in Hungarian colors, a team he played for 85 times before switching allegiance to Spain. Puskas made four appearances for La Roja but was unable to find the net in those games.
5 Godfrey Chitalu
Zambia’s Godfrey Chitalu scored 79 goals in 108 games and is on the list of Top 20 African Players of the last decade released by the Confederation of African Football. Chitalu starred for Zambia between 1968 and 1980, becoming his country’s highest goalscorer and eventually the national team coach by 1993. Chitalu was the national team coach when the plane carrying the team to its 1993 World Cup Qualifier game crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.
Iraq’s Hussein Saeed comes in 6th place with 78 goals, one ahead of Brazilian legend Pele. Of the players in the top ten, only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are still active players. Ronaldo currently has 33 goals in FIFA World Cup Qualifying and offers value goal-scoring odds to punters on betting sites that accept Skrill. With several games to go and a World Cup on the horizon, CR7 will likely set the bar even higher.
Whether you are a punter or football lover, the thrill and excitement of seeing players bang in the goals are unforgettable and worthy of reliving. This is our way of appreciating the players who have made us smile through their goal-scoring prowess.