Forwards have always been the general public’s favorite players, probably because they are the most prominent and they are the ones who are acclaimed when they score the goal that qualifies their team.
The purpose of football is simple: to score a goal. These players have cemented their place in history by scoring a large number of goals in all kinds of different situations and angles.
All the players on this list have scored more than 500 goals in their careers. They have all been absolute legends to their country and their clubs.
The goals used for this top are the official goals scored according to the FIFA statistics
15 – Franz Binder – Austria – 546 goals
Binder played his entire career at SK Rapid Vienna, where he played from 1930 to 1949. With this club, he won the Austrian championship four times.
A prolific scorer, he is three times the top scorer in the league. His best performance came in the 1936-1937 season when he scored 29 goals in league 1.
In 1941, he also won the German league with his club, with a 4-3 win over Schalke 04, during which he scored three goals.
14 – Jimmy McGrory – Scotland – 550 goals
James Edward “Jimmy” McGrory, born on 26 April 1904 in the Garngad district of Glasgow and died on 20 October 1982 in Glasgow, is a Scottish football player and coach. He played most of his career with Celtic FC, where he held the club’s record for scoring goals. He is thus considered as one of the legends of the club1 of which after having been one of the players he became the coach for twenty years from 1945 to 1965.
He is nicknamed “the mermaid” for his ability to score with his head when he is only 1.70 meters tall. He scored 550 goals in his entire career, making him the top scorer in British football2. He is a member of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, which was inducted at its inauguration in 2004.
13 – Eusébio – Portugal – 552 goals
Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, known as Eusébio is born on 25 January 1942 in Lourenço-Marquès (former name of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique and former Portuguese colony), in the Mafalala district, and died on 5 January 2014 in Lisbon, is a Portuguese international footballer who played as an attacker from the late 1950s to the late 1970s.
Considered one of the best players in history, he is nicknamed the “A Pantera Negra” (the Black Panther) or “O rei” (The King). Eusébio spent most of his career with SL Benfica, with whom he won the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1962 and eleven Portuguese championship titles. He also helped the Portuguese national team reach third place in the 1966 World Cup, where he finished as top scorer with nine goals. Finally, he won the prestigious Ballon d’Or title in 1965.
12 – Ernst Willimowski – Poland – 554 goals
Wilimowski was born under the name Ernst Otto Pradella and grew up in a German-speaking family in Upper Silesia. After the death of his father Ernst-Roman on the western front of the First World War, his mother Paulina remarried and he was officially adopted at the age of 13 by his Polish stepfather2. He then took the name Wilimowski.
He learned football at 1.FC Kattowitz, the best club of the German minority in Poland. He plays an attacker on the left side. In 1933 he joined the Ruch Wielkie Hajduki club (now Ruch Chorzów). After scoring 33 goals in his first season, he quickly established himself as one of the team’s leaders. Together with Teodor Peterek and Gerard Wodarz, he formed the most effective attack in the history of the Polish league. With them, Chorzow won 5 Polish championship titles in 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1938. In 1934 and 1936, Wilimowski was the top scorer in the league.
Wilimowski played for the Polish team from 1934 to 1939. He has played 22 games and scored 21 goals. He is the first player in history to have scored four goals in a single match in the World Cup finals, in a match against Brazil lost 6-5 in Strasbourg at the 1938 World Cup.
On August 27, 1939, in Warsaw, he made another outstanding performance by scoring 3 goals against Hungary, runners-up in the world championship. Poland wins 4-2. This will be Wilimowski’s last game under the Polish colors. 4 days later, Nazi Germany invaded Poland.
11 – Arthur Friedenreich – Brazil – 567 goals
His father Oscar was a German merchant who arrived in Brazil at the end of the 19th century and his mother Mathilde was a black laundress.
He started his career at the age of 17 with the Germania club, then played for the clubs of Ipiranga, Americão, Santos FC, Paulistano, São Paulo FC, Atletico Mineiro, to finish his career in the Flamengo club at the age of 43. He finished as the top scorer in the Paulista league on 9 occasions.
Friedenreich played 17 times – international matches were rare at the time – with the Brazilian national team between 1914 and 1930, scoring 8 goals(although other sources indicate 22 matches for 10 goals). He won the Copa Roca with the seleçao in 1914 and the Copa América in 1919 (finishing as the top scorer in the edition) and in 1922.
During the Seleção’s European tour in 1925, he was celebrated as the “King of Football”.
He almost participated – he was officially injured shortly before – in the 1930 Football World Cup – the first in history – played in Uruguay.
He retired from his Flamengo club in 1935 at the age of 43 and died in 1969 at the age of 77.
10 – Tulio Maravilha – Brazil – 575 goals
At first, everyone thought Túlio was just a striker and that with a little luck he would score a few goals at most. Túlio was not a dream come true, his style of play was that of the sleeping striker who scored a few goals as a good surface fox.
That’s how the young Túlio played until the 1988 season when he was promoted to the first team at Goiás EC. A year later, Túlio was the top scorer in the Brazilian league, and within a few months, he had completely transformed himself.
In 1994, Túlio joined Botafogo with great mistrust from the fans. Botafogo was in crisis and Túlio was their only hope. He did not disappoint, Túlio exploded definitively in 1994 to become the top scorer in the Brazilian league and the Rio State championship.
But it was in 1995 that Túlio entered one of the most difficult to access lists, that of Botafogo FR’s emblematic players. Túlio was once again Brazil’s top scorer and gave the Brazilian club their first Brazilian league title, and after five lost finals, Botafogo finally won the Brazilian league, thanks to the fantastic Túlio Maravilha, as the Botafogo fans called him. At the end of the 1995 season, Tulio was called up for the Brazilian team, where he even started for a few matches.
He left Botafogo in 1996 for Corinthians where he was considered the best player in Brazil along with Romário. He disappointed again. After Corinthians, he went on to play for a few major Brazilian clubs without much success.
9 – Uwe Seeler – Germany – 575 goals
He played his first (friendly) match for the HSV pennant team in 1953 at the age of 161, then regularly since 1954 in the league with the exceptional permission of the German FA.
He won the Northern League championship in Germany nine times (1955-1963), scoring 267 goals in 237 games.
Seeler then played 239 Bundesliga matches with Hamburg SV, scoring 137 goals. With this team, he won a German championship (victory in 1960 against FC Cologne by 3-2 with two goals from Seeler) and a German cup (DFB-Pokal), victory in 1963 by 3-0, with a hat trick from Seeler. However, he did not win any European trophies, his best result being a finalist place at the 1968 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Despite offers from major foreign clubs, including Inter Milan, he remained loyal to the Hamburg club1, a decision that contributed significantly to the popularity of Uwe. With Hamburg, he played a total of 29 European matches, scoring 21 goals.
He finished as Germany’s top scorer four times and was also the Bundesliga’s first ever top scorer when it was founded in 1963-1964. In all competitions combined, he has scored more than 400 goals in his career.
He was voted “Best German Player” in 1960, 1964 and 1970.
In 1978, he made a very brief return to competition by playing a match in the Irish league.
8 – Ferenc Deàk – Hungary – 576 goals
He plays in teams at Szentlőrinci AC (Pestszentlőrinc, attached to Budapest in 1950), Ferencváros and Bp. Dózsa.
During the seasons 1945-46, 1946-1947, and 1948-1949, he was the top scorer in the league and in all of Europe.
Deák was also top scorer at the 1947 Balkan Nations Cup, which Hungary won.
7 – Lionel Messi – Argentina – 671 goals
Lionel Messi, the first footballer to win the Golden Ball five times, is an absolute phenomenon. Since 2008, the Argentinian has been the most important man in Barcelona’s squad and has produced exceptional performances for Barcelona and Argentina.
The 31-year-old Argentine maestro has scored 603 goals in 687 games for the Catalans. Messi is certainly one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Messi is also the national team’s top scorer with 68 goals in 134 games. As one of only two active players on this list, Messi can still climb up the rankings until he ends his illustrious career.
6 – Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal – 689 goals
One of the two best players of this generation. Cristiano Ronaldo is clearly one of the greatest players of all time. He joined Real Madrid for a record €94 million before recently signing for Juventus in Turin.
During his years at Real Madrid, his scoring exploits were breathtaking. In 438 appearances, Ronaldo has scored 451 goals and has been at the scorer of Real Madrid’s three Champions League wins over the past four years. He has also been prolific with Manchester United, scoring 118 times in 292 matches. Ronaldo has scored 601 club goals, making him the greatest scorer in the history of current football.
With 88 goals for Portugal, he is their all-time leading scorer. He has scored a total of 689 goals in his career. If Ronaldo continues his scoring exploits, he will surely be ranked much higher by the end of his career.
5 – Gerd Müller – Germany – 735 goals
Gerhard Müller, better known as Gerd Müller, born on 3 November 1945 in Nördlingen, is a former German international footballer.
A famous scorer, he set many world records. The Bayern Munich and German striker scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches and 68 goals in 62 appearances for the Mannschaft1. He is one of the top scorers in the history of the World Cup, scoring a total of 14 goals in two editions (1970 and 1974).
At the end of his career, Müller left behind a collection of important goals, such as the one that gave Germany the lead in the 1974 World Cup final in Munich. For his former partner Franz Beckenbauer, there is no doubt about it: “All Bayern Munich has been able to achieve is thanks to Gerd Müller and his goals.
4 – Ferenc Puskas – Hungary – 746 goals
With a thundering left foot and excellent positioning, Ferenc Puskás is undoubtedly one of the best players in history. He was the pillar of the Magical Magyars and led the Hungarian team to unprecedented success.
During his career, Puskás teamed up with the great Alfredo Di Stefano during his time at Real Madrid, where he tore defences and led the Blancos to five consecutive titles and three European Cups.
The legendary Hungarian striker has been Liga’s top scorer for four consecutive seasons. He scored 746 goals in 754 games, which speaks volumes about his scoring skills. He is also the top scorer in the Hungarian national team with 84 goals in 85 appearances.
With 746 goals in his career, Puskás is the third highest scorer of all time.
3 – Pélé – Brazil – 767 goals
At the 1958 World Cup, a 17-year-old Brazilian striker proved to be probably the greatest prodigy of all time.
With his rhythm, effortless grace, ease, balance, impressive power and above all intelligence, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, affectionately nicknamed Pele, is probably one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Pele, who won three World Cups in 1958, 1962 and 1970, is the only player in the world to have achieved such a feat. He also scored an impressive 767 goals throughout his career.
Pele has never played in Europe and has spent most of his career with Santos. He spent a few seasons at the New York Cosmos before ending his career.
2 – Romario – Brazil – 772 goals
Over a long and successful career spanning nearly 24 years, Romario has consolidated his legacy by becoming one of the top scorers in the history of football. The Brazilian is best known for his visits to PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona.
With his dribbling skills and outstanding finishing, Romario is one of the most dangerous strikers of all time, thanks to his relaxed attitude and absolute self-confidence. He scored 165 goals in 167 games for PSV and also scored 39 goals in two seasons in Barcelona.
In a nomadic career where he has played for clubs such as Flamengo, Vasco Da Gama, PSV, Barcelona, and Valencia, Romario scored 772 goals in 994 games, including 55 for Brazil. Romario is, therefore, the second-highest scorer in history.
1 – Josef Bican – Austria – 802 goals
Josef “Pepi” Bican (born 25 September 1913 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, now Austria, and died 27 September 2001 in Prague, Czech Republic) was an Austrian and then Czechoslovak international footballer who played as an attacker before becoming a coach.
He is the greatest scorer in the history of world football with 802 goals in official matches. It would have actually marked a little over 1400, but only 802 are recorded because Fifa considers the information for this period to be unreliable.
Josef Bican was the top scorer of the season in Europe on 5 occasions, with an average of 1.52 goals per game. Bican had the ability to play with both feet. He also had a considerable pace and could run 100 metres in 10.8 seconds, which was as fast as many sprinters of the time. The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) has awarded Bican the “Ballon d’Or” for the top scorer of the last century.
Bican is best known for his appearances at Rapid Vienna and Slavia Prague. He is the only person in the history of football to have scored 7 goals in a single match on three different occasions. His goalscoring exploits with Vienna and Prague are unbelievable.
In 49 games for Vienna, he scored 52 times, while with Prague, he played 217 times and scored 395 goals. With 805 goals in his career, the Austrian is the top scorer in the history of football.
There is unfortunately no-footage of the scorer in football history, such a shame.