Who has scored the most goals in international football? Lionel Messi chasing Cristiano Ronaldo all-time record


Cristiano Ronaldo might be playing in Saudi Arabia these days, but he’s still racking up records.

The 38-year-old set the record for most international appearances in men’s football history with 200 appearances.

Not only does he hold the record for most appearances by a male player, but he also has the most goals of all time, with four more during the March 2023 international window.

Argentina and PSG star Lionel Messi, who is three years younger, can potentially still catch Ronaldo for both records if he continues to play at the 2026 World Cup.

Sporting News regularly updates the list of most international goals in men’s soccer history below.

Who has scored the most goals in men’s international football?

Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for the most goals scored in men’s international football. The Manchester United and Portugal star has 122 goals in 198 senior appearances for his country.

Ronaldo broke the long-standing goal record held by Iran’s Ali Daei when he scored twice against the Republic of Ireland in September 2021.

Those two were later joined by Lionel Messi as the only three men’s players who have reached a century of international goals, with Messi reaching the mark after a hat-trick against Curacao on March 28.

Most international goals: Men’s all-time top 10

Table below is updated as of March 28, 2023.

*Denotes active player

Player Country Goals Caps Years active
1. Cristiano Ronaldo* Portugal 122* 198 2003 —
2. Ali Daei Iran 109 148 1993-2006
3. Lionel Messi* Argentina 102* 174 2005 —
4. Mokhtar Dahari Malaysia 89 142 1972-1985
5. Ferenc Puskas Hungary 84 89 1945-1956
6. Sunil Chhetri* India 84* 131 2005 —
7. Ali Mabkhout* UAE 80* 105 2009 —
8. Godfrey Chitalu Zambia 79 111 1968-1980
9. Hussein Saeed Iraq 78 137 1976-1990
10. Pele Brazil 77 92 1957-1971

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