Cristiano Ronaldo is now the highest scorer of all time, say many reports, after the 760th goal of his career, scored in Juventus’ 2-0 Italian Super Cup win over Napoli – but is it true?
Ronaldo has scored five goals for Sporting Lisbon, 118 for Manchester United, 450 for Real Madrid, 85 for Juventus and 102 for Portugal – so there is no doubt about his figure.
But the confusion seems to come from his goalscoring rivals of olden days.
Data from Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF) says Josef Bican is football’s all-time top scorer (excluding players who have never played at the top level) with 805 career goals (from only 530 games), with Romario on 772 and Pele on 767.
Bican, who died in 2001, played for five clubs including Rapid Vienna and Slavia Prague as well as Austria and Czechoslovakia – in a career which lasted from 1931 to 1955. But among the 805 goals were 27 for Rapid’s reserve and amateur teams, as well as strikes which were not in official international games.
Remove those and Bican finished his career on 759 goals in 495 games. Well maybe, because RSSSF says some data is partially missing on the Czech second division in 1952.
So what of Pele and Romario? Again there is some dispute over their goal tallies – with both Brazilian strikers claiming to have netted more than 1,000 goals.