Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo added to his already impressive collection of stats on Tuesday evening, the Portugal international netting his 100th – and then 101st – international goal.
In true CR7 style, the former Real Madrid man netted his centenary goal with a glorious free-kick, before adding another spectacular effort as Portugal ran out 2-0 winners over Sweden.
Not only did Ronaldo secure a valuable Nations League victory for his side, but his second goal also took him to within just eight goals of becoming international football’s highest ever goalscorer.
With that in mind, here’s a look at who else makes up the top five highest scoring international footballers of all-time…
Godfrey Chitalu – 79 Goals
Aside from avid viewers of Zambian football, Godfrey Chitalu may well be an unfamiliar name to football fans.
The striker spent his whole career playing in his native Zambia, turning out for both Kitwe United and Kabwe Warriors during his 18-year playing career. A lethal marksman, in one year in particular – 1972 – Chitula claims to have scored 100 goals in all competitions, exceeding the 91 scored by Lionel Messi in 2012.
While that record may sound good to Pele, the wider footballing world has not recognised it as a proper world record. Luckily for Chitalu, no one can deny his excellent goal scoring record for his country, with his 79 goals in 111 games no mean feat. The majority may have come against fellow African opposition, although he did score in a 3-1 defeat to the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympic games.
Ferenc Puskas – 84 Goals
No disrespect to Chitalu, but the man in fourth place on this list is a much more famous individual and one of the greatest to have played the game.
The Hungarian international was a superstar during the 1950’s and 60’s, winning three European Cups at Real Madrid as well as striking up one football’s most memorable forward partnerships with the equally brilliant Alfred Di Stefano.
A star in Europe, Puskas was a God in Hungary, helping his nation to Olympic glory in 1952 as well as reaching the World Cup final in 1954 – a tournament in which he would be voted best player.
What’s most impressive however about this legendary figure is his strike rate, having scored 84 goals in just 85 games – a truly ridiculous tally.
Mokhtar Dahari – 86 Goals
Just ahead of the great Puskas is former Malaysian footballer Mokhtar Dahari, who bagged his 86 goals in an impressive 131 games.
Another name perhaps unfamiliar to the wider footballing world, yet you don’t find yourself third on the all-time list of international goalscorers without having been an extremely talented footballer.
That talent was on display when Dahari scored against an England B side managed by Bobby Robson back in 1978, “Super Mokh” reportedly scoring from the half way line against ‘keeper Joe Corrigan. An equally as impressive performance against Arsenal in 1975 led to rumours of a move to the Gunners, Dahari also rubbing shoulders with Diego Maradona during his side Selangor FA’s meeting with Boca Juniors.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 101 Goals
The Portugal forward has already cemented his place as one of the finest and most memorable players of all-time regardless of what happens in the future, yet the prospect of becoming international football’s top goalscorer will surely be a motivating factor.
Loved in Lisbon, adored in Manchester, idolised in Madrid and respected in Italy, Ronaldo has had a near on perfect footballing career, winning five Champions League trophies as well as two major trophies with Portugal – including the European Championship in 2016.
He may divide opinion at times, but for the 35-year-old to still be dominating Europe is a testament of both his skill and his hard work. Hey, if he plays for five more years who says he can’t get 150 international goals.
Ali Daei – 109 Goals
The man who Ronaldo will be desperate to catch is none other than Iranian idol Ali Daei.
Daei not only scored goals for fun with Iran, but also took the plunge and tried his hand at European football, turning out for Bundesliga sides Hertha Berlin and Arminia Bielefeld as well as Bavarian giants Bayern Munich – with whom he won the 1998/89 Bundesliga title.
Among some of his career highlights for the man nicknamed ‘Mr Goal’ include firing his country to the 1998 World Cup; finishing as the top scorer as Iran won the 1998 Asian Games as well as scoring four in a 19-0 victory over Guam in 2000. Legend.