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How Many Goals Is Lionel Messi Behind Cristiano Ronaldo in Race to Become All-Time Top Scorer?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Lionel Messi scored a double against New England and once again closed the gap with CR7, who is going through a bit of a dry spell.

Who has more Ballon d’Ors? And Golden Boots? Who has lifted more Champions League trophies? Who has celebrated more World Cup victories? The questions are endless.

More and more boxes are being ticked off to determine who is the greatest footballer of all time between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. And although Leo is in Miami and CR7 is in Saudi Arabia, both are still competing for a crucial factor: being the all-time top scorer.

Cristiano leads the way, having left an indelible mark on world football thanks to his remarkable scoring ability. From his beginnings at Sporting Lisbon to his current phase at Al-Nassr, he has amassed an impressive total of 885 goals in 1,217 matches over 21 years of professional career, according to Olé.

This extraordinary record positions him as the leader in the race to become the all-time top scorer. Cristiano’s most recent achievement was scoring his second consecutive hat-trick on Tuesday, April 2, in his team’s 8-0 win against Abha in the Saudi league, bringing his career hat-trick total to 65. However, he has not scored since that day.

And what about Messi in 2024? The latest performance from Leo was against Nashville in the MLS, where the Argentine star scored twice in the 4-1 victory at Chase Stadium. Number 10 has accumulated 833 goals in 1,058 matches with stints at Barcelona, PSG, Miami, and the Argentine National Team.

Cristiano has a lead of 52 goals, but Messi has played 159 fewer matches. During their time in Europe, both wearing jersey numbers 7 and 10, they played a similar number of matches per season, between 50 and 60, but the captain of the Portuguese national team has had two more years in his career.

Before setting their own records, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi surpassed the goal record of Josef Bican, the Czech forward who scored 805 goals between the 1930s and 1950s.

In the list of the top goal scorers in the history of football, Romario holds the fourth position with 772 goals, followed by Pelé in fifth place with 757 goals, according to FIFA records. Additionally, Ferenc Puskas and Gerd Müller also belong to this legendary group, completing the top 7 with 746 and 734 goals, respectively.

All-time top goal scorers:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal): 885 goals
  • Lionel Messi (Argentina): 833 goals
  • Josef Bican (Austria): 805 goals
  • Romario (Brazil): 772 goals
  • Pelé (Brazil): 757 goals

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