The Players With The Most Career Goals In Soccer History
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This list for the players with the most career goals in the history of soccer stretches from players who played in the early 1900s to the present day. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi score at an unprecedented rate in today’s game, but there are those from history whose rate of scoring was even more impressive.
The Guinness World Record for the most goals scored in a specified period is 1,281 by the Brazilian great Pele, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
Pele scored these goals between September 7th, 1956, and October 1st, 1977 — a period of 1,363 matches. Pele scored the majority of his goals with Santos FC in Brazil, but his record also includes matches with the Brazilian national team and the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League (NASL).
While this is the total officially recognized by Guinness, the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF), which documents only official games, puts his match total at 767 from 831 matches — a rate of 0.92 goals per game.
And, if you like this list, check out our list of El Clasico top scorers of all time.
The players with the most career goals in soccer history:
The RSSSF’s ranking of the top 10 scorers in the history of soccer is as follows:
#1: Erwin Helmchen (Germany) - 982 goals from 575 matches (1.71 per match)
#2: Josef Bican (Czech Republic) - 948 goals from 621 matches (1.53 per match)
#3. Ronnie Rooke (England) - 886 goals from 955 matches (0.93 per match)
#4: Ferenc Puskas (Hungary) - 806 goals from 793 matches (1.02 per match)
#5: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) - 803 goals from 1109 matches (0.72 per match)
#6. Ferenc Deak (Hungary) - 795 goals from 511 matches (1.56 per match)
#7: Romario (Brazil) - 780 goals from 1000 matches (0.78 per match)
#8: Lionel Messi (Argentina) - 777 goals from 986 matches (0.79 per match)
#9: Pele (Brazil) - 775 goals from 840 matches (0.92 per match)
#9. Abe Lenstra (Netherlands) - 775 goals from 826 matches (0.94 per match)
#11. Tommy Lawton (England) - 736 goals from 820 matches (0.90 per match)
#12: Gerd Muller (Germany) - 735 goals from 793 matches (0.92 per match)
#13: Joe Bambric (Northern Ireland) - 678 goals in 566 matches
#14: Jimmy Jones (Northern Ireland) - 674 goals in 637 matches
#15: Ernst Wilimowski (Germany) - 663 goals in 474 matches
(All facts and numbers courtesy of the RSSSF)
Arthur Friedenreich, who scored 557 goals in official matches, is cited by the Guinness World Records as having scored an undocumented 1,329 goals over 26 years of playing.