Who are the soccer players with the most international goals? The international goal definition used is the one from IFFHS (international goals in national team + international goals in club) and not the one used by RSSSF who count international goals as those made in the national team only . This is a (incomplete) list that I've been making, but it is probably incomplete because players from Asian and Arabian leagues are hard to track and it could have some mistakes, plus it becomes outdated quickly since players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Ibrahimovic keep scoring international goals. Is there any other players with more than 100 international goals I have not found?

1  Cristiano Ronaldo  POR 158
2  Lionel Messi       ARG 146
3  Gerd Muller        GER 138
4  Puskas             HUN 126
5  Ali Daei           IRN 122
6  Raúl               ESP 119
7  Didier Drogba      CDM 115
   Andriy Shevchenko  UCR 115
9  Zlatan Ibrahimovic SUE 113
10 Ronaldo            BRA 111
11 Thierry Henry      FRA 110
12 Hossam Hassan      ARA 109
13 Romario            BRA 105
14 Samuel Etoo        CAM 104
15 Pelé               BRA 101
   Miroslav Klose     GER 101
  • 2
    Ali Daei is from Iran, also I am not sure what country ARA stands for.. – posdef Jul 13 '16 at 12:05
  • 1
    Sorry, those are acronyms written in spanish :) – Pablo Jul 13 '16 at 12:09
  • Do you count (e.g.) goals for AS Monaco FC against French teams? (and all the other similar situations). – Philip Kendall Jul 14 '16 at 10:46

The difficulty of this classification lies on the fact that you have to figure out how many club level goals have been scored at international matches (and here I am assuming that international match means a match in an inherently international competition, so that it includes e.g., goals scored in a Champions League match against a team of the same country and excludes goals in national league matches against teams from just across the border).

Luckily, some other people have done some of the work for you, but even there you have to work with care. For example, you list Romário as having 105 international goals. When one checks his career statistics on Wikipedia, he gets credit for 55 goals with Brazil plus 50 goals in "continental" competitions at the club level. So far so good. But then, next to the "continental" column, there is an "other" column claiming 44 goals, and a note indicating that these goals correspond to a variety of competitions ("includes UEFA Super Cup 1988, Intercontinental Cup 1988, Dutch Super Cup 1991, 1992, Supercopa de España 1993, FIFA Club World Cup 2000"), only some of which are international. So the 105 figure is, if anything, a lower bound. If you go and investigate the listed competitions, you'll find out that Romário scored at least 4 goals. Bringing the figure up to at least 109. Were all other 40 "other" goals scored in domestic competitions? I don't know, since the relevant note doesn't claim to exhaust all of the relevant competitions. That's something for someone with more time than me to go and figure out.

tl;dr : there is some opacity in the domestic/international distinction at the club level that makes claims of "best international goalscorer" inherently unreliable. The only solution is honest, time-consuming detective work on individual players' careers.

  • yes, the difficult part is the club goals, mainly goals in supercups, recopas, and such minor championships – Pablo Jul 14 '16 at 11:38

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