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10 Highest Goal Scorer in International Football

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Scoring goals is the pinnacle of football, the defining moment that can change the fate of a game and the destiny of teams. Over the decades, several players have distinguished themselves as prolific goal scorers on the international stage.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest goal scorer in international football, while Lionel Messi occupies the third spot. India’s very own Sunil Chhetri, set to retire from international football on June 6, is fourth on the list with 94 goals in 150 appearances. In this article, take a look at the list of the top 10 highest goal scorers in football.

Top 10 Highest Goal Scorer in International Football History

1Cristiano RonaldoPortugal128206
2Ali DaeiIran108148
3Lionel MessiArgentina106180
4Sunil ChhetriIndia94150
5Mokhtar DahariMalaysia89142
6Ali MabkhoutUnited Arab Emirates85114
7Ferenc PuskasHungary8485
8Romelu LukakuBelgium83114
9Robert LewandowskiPoland82148
10Godfrey ChitaluZambia79111

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 128 Goals in 206 Appearances

Cristiano Ronaldo stands at the summit of international goal scoring. His journey began in 2003 when he debuted for Portugal. Known for his incredible work ethic, athleticism, and versatility, Ronaldo has consistently performed at the highest level.

He has participated in multiple European Championships and World Cups, often carrying Portugal on his shoulders. Ronaldo has won five Ballon d’Or awards, which is one of the highest honours in football. Additionally, he has won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award three times and claimed the European Golden Shoe four times, more than any other European player. 

Read More: Cristiano Ronaldo Net Worth and Expensive Possessions

2. Ali Daei (Iran) – 108 Goals in 148 Appearances

Before Ronaldo broke his record in 2021, Ali Daei was the all-time top scorer in international football. The Iranian forward was renowned for his aerial prowess and precise finishing. Daei’s international career spanned from 1993 to 2006, during which he became a national hero in Iran.

He played a crucial role in Iran’s qualification for the 1998 World Cup, marking their return to the tournament after a 20-year absence. In 2004, during a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Laos, he became the first male footballer to reach 100 international goals by scoring four times in that match.

3. Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 106 Goals in 180 Appearances

Lionel Messi, often hailed as one of the greatest footballers of all time, has amazed fans worldwide with his extraordinary dribbling, vision, and goal-scoring.

Messi’s international career, which began in 2005, has seen him score crucial goals in World Cups and Copa America tournaments. Messi has won a record eight Ballon d’Or awards and six European Golden Shoes. In 2022, Argentina won the FIFA World Cup under the captaincy of Messi.

Suggested Read: Lionel Messi Net Worth and Sources of Income 2024

4. Sunil Chhetri (India) – 94 Goals in 150 Appearances

Sunil Chhetri, often referred to as the “Captain, Leader, Legend” of Indian football, has been a beacon of hope and inspiration for football in India. Making his international debut in 2005, Chhetri’s consistency and dedication have been pivotal in India’s football resurgence.

played a crucial role in India’s victories in the Nehru Cup in 2007, 2009, and 2012, as well as in the SAFF Championship in 2011, 2015, 2021, and 2023. Additionally, he led India to win the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, securing their first AFC Asian Cup qualification in 27 years. He retired from international football on June 6, 2024. 

Suggested Read: Net Worth of Sunil Chhetri 2024

5. Mokhtar Dahari (Malaysia) – 89 Goals in 142 Appearances

Mokhtar Dahari is a legend of Malaysian football. Playing from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, Dahari is fifth on the list of highest goal scorer in football history with 89 goals in 142 games. He played a significant role in Malaysia’s successes in the Southeast Asian Games and the Merdeka Tournament.

Due to his exceptional playing skills, he caught the eye of international football clubs, including Real Madrid but he turned them all down because of his loyalty to his country and his club, Selangor.

6. Ali Mabkhout (United Arab Emirates) – 85 Goals in 114 Appearances

Ali Mabkhout has emerged as one of the most prolific goal scorers in Asian football. Since his debut in 2009, Mabkhout has been a consistent performer for the United Arab Emirates, known for his clinical finishing and intelligent positioning.

In October 2019, Mabkhout scored a hat-trick in a 5–0 victory against Indonesia, making him the UAE’s all-time leading goalscorer. His contributions have been crucial in the UAE’s performances in the AFC Asian Cup.

Suggested Read: Who is the God of Football – Records, Famous Quotes

7. Ferenc Puskás (Hungary) – 84 Goals in 85 Appearances

Ferenc Puskás was a Hungarian footballing icon. His career in the 1950s and early 1960s saw him become a central figure in the legendary Hungarian team known as the “Mighty Magyars.” Puskás was known for his powerful left foot and exceptional goal-scoring instinct.

His record of 84 goals in just 85 appearances remains one of the most impressive strike rates in international football. Puskás’ legacy is immortalized in the annual FIFA Puskás Award, given to the best goal of the year.

8. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) – 83 Goals in 114 Appearances

Romelu Lukaku, one of Belgium’s golden generation, has scored 83 goals in 114 games. Since his debut in 2010, Lukaku’s physicality, speed, and finishing have made him a nightmare for defenders.

He has been instrumental in Belgium’s strong performances in recent major tournaments, including their third-place finish in the 2018 World Cup when he won the Bronze Foot. He has represented his country at the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups as well. 

9. Robert Lewandowski (Poland) – 82 Goals in 148 Appearances

Robert Lewandowski is widely regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation. The Polish forward has been a consistent goal-scoring machine for his national team since his debut in 2008.

His ability to score from almost any position on the field and his leadership on and off the pitch have been crucial for Poland’s international campaigns. He shares the record for the most top scorer awards in Europe’s top five leagues along with Messi, having won the honour eight times.

Further Read: Who is the GOAT of football?

10. Godfrey Chitalu (Zambia) – 79 Goals in 111 Appearances

Godfrey Chitalu, a Zambian football legend, scored 79 goals in 111 games. Playing from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, Chitalu’s prolific scoring helped Zambia achieve significant success in African football. After retiring, Chitalu transitioned to coaching and was leading the Zambia national team when the entire squad tragically passed away in a plane crash off the coast of Gabon in 1993.


The remarkable achievements of these top 10 footballers have shaped the history of football and continue to inspire players and fans worldwide. 

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