20 Players Who Scored Most International Goals
We have had this one cooking for a while and here it is. There is a type of football achievement that is recognized on the global level. It is the number of international goals scored, along with the number of appearances in international games.
These stars made football history by scoring the most international goals. Mind you, we may update this list in a couple of years, as a few names are still very much active. So, without further ado, here are the 20 footballers that scored the most international goals.
Ali Daei – 109 goals / 149 caps
The undisputed number one of this list of top international goalscorers is Ali Daei. Daei is a former Iranian striker who made his mark on the world of football between 1993 and 2006. He succeeded in scoring 109 goals in 149 internationals, which is the most anyone has ever scored. The remarkable thing about him is not just his 8 hat-tricks. It lies in two games where he scored four goals each. These were against South Korea and Laos. He scored no goals in the 1998 World Cup against the US. He did set up the final goal that gave Iran the first World Cup victory the country has ever achieved.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 99 goals / 164 caps
Here is the crowd’s favourite that is one of the greatest footballers of all time. What’s more, Ronaldo is still active and just might reach the top of this list pretty soon. Just 10 goals are separating him from Daei. He has already climbed over several big names, surpassing Puskas in 2018. Like Daei, he scored four goals in two different international matches. He also has one hat-trick more than Daei. The whole world is holding its breath for his 100th goal.
Ferenc Puskas – 84 goals / 89 caps
Had Puskas scored a few goals for Spain during the time he played for their national team, this list might have been different. Puskas may have even reached the top. As it stands, the best player in the history of Hungary scored 84 goals in 89 international appearances. He had no luck playing in four matches for Spain. In the unbelievable 12-0 victory over Albania, he scored four goals. It is also one of the two matches where he scored a hat-trick. The Hungarian legend passed away in 2006.
Kunishige Kamamoto – 80 goals / 84 caps
Kamamoto was, arguably, the first football superstar from Japan on the international stage. He is also the first player from Asia to reach 50 international goals. Mexico’s Olympics named him the top scorer in 1968 and that wasn’t even his best year. In 1972, he made 8 appearances and scored 15 goals.
Godfrey Chitalu – 79 goals / 108 caps
Here is another name that scored the most goals in international football. What Kamamoto was to Asia, Chitalu was for Africa. In 108 matches, he scored 79 goals for Zambia. The legend of Kabwe Warriors moved on to coaching after he was done on the field. Chitalu died in 1993 in an air disaster. The tragedy was felt not only in Zambia but the rest of the world as well.
Hussein Saeed – 78 goals / 137 caps
Hussein Saeed is one of Iraq’s best players and all-time international goal scorers the country has ever had to offer. He played at one World Cup and three Olympics. 137 appearances led to 78 international goals.
Pelé – 77 goals / 92 caps
Not many names are as synonymous with football as Pelé. The icon of the 20th century and one of the best there ever was or will be. Some would argue – the best. Pelé scored 77 international goals in 92 appearances. We could credit Pelé as one of the reasons Brazil was so terrifying on the pitch. He is certainly one of the top international goalscorers.
Sandor Kocsis – 75 goals / 68 caps
A real threat to the legacy of Puskas in Hungary, Sandor Kocsis scored 75 goals in 68 appearances. This means that, unlike most entries on this list, he had over 1 goal per international match. His last football years were spent in Barcelona from the late 50s to mid-60s. Some players work hard all their lives to reach this list. Kocsis made it in just eight years.
Bashar Abdullah – 75 goals / 133 caps
Abdullah is one of those players that gained popularity and recognition in the 90s and 00s. This football star was a part of the revival of Kuwaiti football. He was not a one-man team, but a true team player. Bashar Abdullah was in the team that reached the semifinals of the AFC Asian Cup and also played in the Olympics. He comes 9th on our list of people who scored the most international goals.
Sunil Chhetri – 72 goals / 115 caps
No other player in India appeared more times in international matches. Furthermore, Sunil is at the top of the country’s list for most international goals. Sunil Chhetri not only played in 115 international games, but he also scored 72 goals in them. India’s top scorer is also among the best players in the country. He plays for Bengaluru FC at the time of writing as a striker and winger.
Kinnah Phiri – 71 goals / 115 caps
Phiri is higher than Majed Abdullah, Kiatisuk Senamuang, and Miroslav Klose on this list for one simple reason. All of them have 71 international goals to their respective names. However, Kinnah Phiri scored his 71 for Malawi in just 115 appearances. He is no longer playing but is the head coach of Jwaneng Galaxy.
Majed Abdullah – 71 goals / 116 caps
The title of the top scorer of all time in Saudi Arabia goes to Majed Abdullah. He had a remarkable international career that lasted over 17 years. He even led his team in the 1994 World Cup. 71 goals in 116 games.
Kiatisuk Senamuang – 71 goals / 134 caps
Thailand is yet to produce a better striker than Kiatisuk Senamuang. The former police officer turned player, turned football manager, Zico has cemented his spot in football history. He is something young Thai players are going to strive for years to come.
Miroslav Klose – 71 goals / 137 caps
Klose surpassed Muller as Germany’s best goalscorer. However, we have to point out that he scored 3 goals more than Muller in 75 more matches. Klose also holds the record for the most goals scored in FIFA World Cups. Throughout four tournaments, he played in 24 matches and scored 16 goals there. At the time of writing, he is a coach for Bayern Munich.
Piyapong Pue-on – 70 goals / 100 caps
Piyapong Pue-on is just a single goal behind his fellow striker and countryman. Pue-on played for Lucky-Goldstar, a team from South Korea, for a while. One of the best from Thailand, he retired in 1997 and moved on to management. Senamung may be Thailand’s number 1, but Pue-on is so close that it doesn’t matter. The two are icons of Thai football.
Stern John – 70 goals / 115 caps
The southernmost country of the Caribbean can be proud of having Stern John. One could argue that he is the best player in Concacaf. Furthermore, he played for a couple of teams in England. As far as his international achievements are concerned, John scored 70 goals in 115 international matches. At the time of writing, he is managing Central F.C. in the TT Pro League.
Lionel Messi – 70 goals / 138 caps
We could, would, and should expect Lionel Messi higher on this list. In fact, we may need to update things in a year or so. Messi is already on our list of the greatest footballers of all time. 138 appearances and 70 goals are just temporary stats for Leo. After all, we can expect much more from the player that won the record 6 Ballon d’Or awards.
Hossam Hassan – 70 goals / 176 caps
Egypt also made it to the list. Hassan worked very hard over the course of two decades. He made a name for himself on the global stage by playing in 7 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and one World Cup. There is a discrepancy one might find in his international goals and appearances. For this list, we are counting the matches not recognized by FIFA.
Gerd Müller – 68 goals / 62 caps
Gerd Müller is a German legend that went undisputed for a long time. His 68 goals in 62 appearances were the staple of football for about 40 years. For most of his career, he played for Bayern Munich. He has been praised by several football icons, including Pelé. Germany will always have a soft spot in their heart for Der Bomber.
Carlos Ruiz – 68 goals / 133 caps
Last, but not least on our list of top international goalscorers Carlos Ruiz. Originally nicknamed the Little Fish, or El Pescadito, scored 68 goals in 133 appearances. The Guatemalan spent most of his career playing for various US clubs. That doesn’t mean that he did not play for Guatemala when it counted. His 39 goals made him the all-time top goalscorer of FIFA World Cup qualification.