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Football History: Top 10 International Scorers in History

International football is thought by many to be one of the biggest stages in football with many players regarding it as the highest honour to represent their country. Throughout history, we have seen some incredible goal scorers on the international stage.

In this article, we will look at the top 10 goal scorers of all time in international football.

10. Godfrey Chitalu – 79 goals (Zambia)


Godfrey Chitalu is remembered as Zambia’s greatest ever player. The forward is the highest scoring African ever in international football.

Chitalu helped Zambia finish second in the 1974 African Cup of Nations and also  represented his country at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

After a successful international career, Chitalu became manager of the Zambian national side. Unfortunately Chitalu and his Zambia team died in a plane crash in 1993 on the way to a FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Senegal.  

9. Robert Lewandowski – 82 goals (Poland)

Robert Lewandowski made his senior Poland debut in 2008, scoring his first goal for his country three weeks later in a 2-0 victory against San Marino. The striker also scored the opening goal of the Euro 2012 tournament which Poland co-hosted with Ukraine.

Since then, the former Bayern Munich striker has helped guide his country to multiple World Cup and European Championship tournaments, although for the majority the nation has failed to surpass the group phase. On 5 October 2017, Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in a 6–1 win over Armenia to take his tally to 50 goals for Poland, surpassing the previous record of 48 goals set by Włodzimierz Lubański to become the all-time top scorer for Poland.

Despite now being 35 years old, the forward continues to lead his country and score vital goals for Poland.

8. Ferenc Puskás – 84 goals (Hungary)

Ferenc Puskás is regarded as one of the most legendary goal scorers of all-time. The forward spent eight years at Real Madrid and was a part of the Hungarian national side’s golden generation.

Puskás won the 1952 Summer Olympic games with Hungary and helped the country reach the 1954 World Cup final, which they lost 3-2 to West Germany.

 In 1962, Puskás gained Spanish citizenship and made four appearances for Spain. Three of these games were at the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile. 

7. Romelu Lukaku – 85 goals (Belgium)

Romelu Lukaku has always been known for his incredible strength and goal scoring abilities throughout his club career. With Belgium there is no exception. Ever since making his debut for the Red Devils in 2010 aged just 17, the former Manchester United and Everton star has been finding the back of the net on the international stage.

His goals have often helped Belgium to great success at the World Cup and European Championships. On 6 June 2018, Lukaku officially became Belgium’s all-time leading scorer with 31 goals, after scoring a goal in a 3–0 win over Egypt. He also broke a three-way tie with the previous record goalscorers, Bernard Voorhoof and Paul Van Himst.

The Chelsea man continues to lead the line for Belgium at the 2024 European Championships.

6. Ali Mabkhout – 85 goals (United Arab Emirates)

Ali Mabkhout is the first player on this list that is still currently playing. The striker has been a part of the United Arab Emirates team since 2009, scoring 85 goals in over 100 games.

Throughout his international career, Mabkhout has won the Arabian Gulf Cup and finished in third place at the 2015 Asian Games . Mabkhout also played for UAE at the 2012 London Olympics.

5. Mokhtar Dahari – 89 goals (Malaysia)

Mokhtar Dahari is one of the greatest Asian footballers in history. In his 13 year long international career, he scored 89 goals in 142 games.

Playing mostly as a forward, Dahari was nicknamed “Supermokh” due to his playing skills and strength. Dahari won the SEA Games and the King’s Cup two times each during his international career.

Tragically, Dahari died aged 37 after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND). 

4. Sunil Chhetri – 94 goals (India)


Known as one of the greatest Indian footballers in history, Sunil Chhetri is number six on the all-time international goal scoring list.

Chhetri made his India debut in 2005 and has remained in the side ever since. Until recently, he captained the national team and has scored 94 goals for his country. 

In 2021, Chhetri received the “Khel Ratna Award”, India’s highest sporting honour and became the first footballer to receive the award.

On May 16, 2024, Chhetri announced that he would retire from international football after his last match against Kuwait on June 6 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, which eventually ended in a 0–0 draw.

3. Lionel Messi – 108 goals (Argentina)


Argentinian legend Lionel Messi is one of the most iconic footballers in history. The former Barcelona forward made his debut for Argentina in 2005 against Hungary.

Ever since his debut, Messi has been the key player for Argentina, often being compared to Diego Maradona. Messi has appeared at countless international tournaments with Argentina including five FIFA World Cups.

In 2021, Messi won his first international trophy after Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 in the Copa América final. The Inter Miami star also made history at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as he finally got his hands on the illustrious trophy as Argentina beat France on penalty kicks.

2. Ali Daei – 109 goals (Iran)

Known for his incredible ability in the air, accurate heading and goalscoring, Ali Daei is fondly remembered as one of the great strikers in football.

At club level, Daei played for clubs such as Bayern Munich, Al Sadd, Hertha Berlin and Saipa. For Iran, Daei scored an impressive 109 goals in 149 games.

Daei won the 1998 Asian Games with Iran and helped the country reach the 1998 and 2006 FIFA World Cup finals. Since retiring from football in 2007, Daei has managed multiple teams, including the Iran national side in 2008.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – 130 goals (Portugal)

Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the greatest footballers and goal scorers of all time. The 39 year old continues to break records despite his age.

The forward made his debut for Portugal in 2003 against Kazakhstan. Ronaldo has appeared at five FIFA World Cups and six European Championships.

In 2016, Ronaldo helped guide Portugal to the European Championship trophy, the country’s first ever major honour. Three years later he also captained Portugal to the UEFA Nations League trophy.

In September 2021, Ronaldo surpassed Ali Daei in the all-time international goal scoring list when he scored a brace against the Republic of Ireland in a 2-1 victory.


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