Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele, Drogba & the top 20 international goalscorers of all-time; Goal takes a look at the most prolific attackers in international football, which includes a wide variety of players from across the globe
#1 Ali Daei | Iran | 109 goals / 149 caps
The record for most international goals belongs to Ali Daei, who hit 109 goals for Iran in 149 appearances between 1993 and 2006. The striker’s career saw him line out for the likes of Bayern Munich, but he enjoyed much of his success on the international stage.
#2 Ferenc Puskas | Hungary & Spain | 84 goals / 89 caps
Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas was one of Hungary’s ‘Magical Magyars’ during the 1950s and his exploits for his country have ensured his status as an icon in Budapest and beyond. Puskas scored 84 goals in 85 games for Hungary and subsequently played for Spain in the early 1960s. However, his Spanish experience impacted his goals-to-games ratio as he failed to score in four appearances for La Roja.
#3 Cristiano Ronaldo | Portugal | 81 goals /149 caps
Undoubtedly one of the best players of his generation, Cristiano Ronaldo has broken record after record during his career and, with 81 goals for Portugal, he is, by some distance, the country’s top scorer of all-time. The Real Madrid talisman has reached that tally – which means he is the top scoring international footballer who is still playing – in 149 appearances, which is also a national team record.
#4 Kunishige Kamamoto | Japan | 80 goals / 84 caps
One-club man Kunishige Kamamoto was one of the best strikers in Japanese football and, with 80 goals in 84 appearances for his country, he is one of the most prolific international scorers of all time. Kamamoto played for Samurai Blue from 1964 to 1977 and his best year was 1972 when he scored 15 in eight games.
#5 Godfrey Chitalu | Zambia | 79 goals / 108 caps
Godfrey Chitalu is the most prolific African international footballer of all time, having struck 79 goals in 108 games for Zambia. The Kabwe Warriors star transitioned into coaching after hanging up his boots, but met a tragic end along with the rest of the Zambia team in the 1993 Zambian air disaster.
#6 Hussein Saeed | Iraq | 78 goals / 137 caps
With 78 goals, Hussein Saeed is Iraq’s top goalscorer of all time and he reached that figure in 137 games for his country. Saeed spent his entire career with Al-Talaba and played at the 1986 World Cup as well as three Olympics (1980, 1984 and 1988).
#7 Pele | Brazil | 77 goals / 91 caps
Widely considered to one of the best footballers to ever play the game, Pele has an impressive haul of 77 goals in 91 appearances for Brazil. He played at four World Cups, winning three and remains the Selecao’s top scorer to this day.
#8 Sandor Kocsis | Hungary | 75 goals / 68 caps
While Ferenc Puskas may have been the talisman for Hungary during the 1950s, Sandor Kocsis was their chief goalscorer. The former Barcelona man hit an amazing 75 goals in 68 games for the Magyars in an international career that spanned just eight years.
#9 Bashar Abdullah | Kuwait | 75 goals / 133 caps
Bashar Abdullah emerged as one of Kuwait’s key players during the late 1990s and early 2000s, writing his name into the record books by scoring a record 75 goals for his country. He featured at three Asian Cups for Kuwait and even played at the 2000 Olympics.
#10 Kinnah Phiri | Malawi | 71 goals / 115 caps
Kinnah Phiri scored a record 71 goals for Malawi during his playing career, reaching that total in 115 appearances – which is also a record – for the Flames.
#11 Majed Abdullah | Saudi Arabia | 71 goals / 116 caps
Saudi Arabia’s top scorer of all time is Majed Abdullah, who hit 71 goals in 116 caps for his country during the course of a remarkable 17-year international career. A one-club man with Al Nassr, Abdullah captained his country to the 1994 World Cup.
#12 Kiatisuk Senamuang | Thailand | 71 goals / 134 caps
The greatest striker in Thailand’s history, Kiatisuk Senamuang holds the record for both goals scored and appearances with 71 goals in 134 games. Senamuang brought the curtain down on his playing career in 2007 and later moved into management, steering the fortunes of his country from 2014 to 2017.
#13 Miroslav Klose | Germany | 71 goals / 137 caps
Miroslav Klose will go down in history as Germany’s top goalscorer of all time, surpassing Gerd Muller, with 71 goals during his international career. The former Bayern Munich star helped Die Mannschaft to a World Cup title in 2014 and also holds the record for most World Cup goals.
#14 Stern John | Trinidad & Tobago | 70 goals / 115 caps
The top scorer of any CONCACAF nation in history, Stern John’s 70 goals for Trinidad & Tobago see him rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s best players. John spent the bulk of his career playing in England and spent a number of seasons in the Premier League with Birmingham City and later Sunderland. He competed at the 2006 World Cup with his country but failed to register a goal at the tournament.
#15 Piyapong Pue-on | Thailand | 70 goals / 100 caps
Just a goal behind compatriot Kiatisuk Senamuang, Piyapong Pue-on’s 70 goals make him one of the best goalscorers in the history of international football. Pue-on spent the majority of his playing career with the Royal Thai Air Force and replicated his club form for his country over the course of 16 years.
#16 Hossam Hassan | Egypt | 70 goals / 169 caps
Egypt’s Hossam Hassan’s international career spanned two decades and he amassed plenty of goals during that period – 70 to be exact. The striker played at the 1990 World Cup and competed in seven Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, bringing the curtain down on his time with the national team after winning the latter in 2006.
#17 Gerd Muller | West Germany | 68 goals / 62 caps
Widely regarded as one of the best centre-forwards of all time, Gerd Muller’s international goal tally of 68 is made all the more impressive by the fact that he achieved that number in just 62 games. Known as ‘Der Bomber’, the former Bayern Munich star was a key player for West Germany, hitting 10 goals as they finished third at the 1970 World Cup and scoring four as they won the 1974 World Cup.
#18 Carlos Ruiz | Guatemala | 68 goals / 133 caps
Carlos Ruiz is perhaps most remembered for his goalscoring exploits in Major League Soccer, where he shone for the likes of LA Galaxy and FC Dallas, but he is also undoubtedly one of Guatemala’s best-ever players. Ruiz recently retired but hung up his boots having set the national record for both goals scored (68) and appearances (133).
#19 Robbie Keane | Republic of Ireland | 68 goals / 146 caps
Former Liverpool, Tottenham and Inter striker Robbie Keane will go down in history as one of the best players to hail from the Republic of Ireland. Keane holds the Irish record for both goals scored (68) and caps (146), and he competed at three major tournaments with the Boys in Green, including the 2002 World Cup.
#20 Didier Drogba | Ivory Coast | 65 goals / 104 caps
Chelsea legend Didier Drogba left a lasting legacy with Ivory Coast during his career and set a goalscoring record that will take some beating. Drogba hit the back of the net 65 times during his 104 appearances for Les Elephants and appeared at three World Cups as well as five Africa Cups of Nations.