Cristiano Ronaldo goal scoring record: List of all-time top scorers though totals are up for debate

By | March 23, 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo’s career has been built on achieving the seemingly impossible with an ever-present ruthless efficiency in front of goal.

The 37-year-old has sent goalscoring records tumbling throughout his trophy-laden career, becoming the top marksman in the history of both Real Madrid and the Portugal national team.

And thanks to a career of goal scoring, Ronaldo has the all-time record for most goals in the history of men’s football, as recognized by FIFA. He set the new mark on March 12, 2022 after a hat-trick for Manchester United.

He hasn’t looked back since, and now bagging goals for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia to pad his lead atop the list of best-ever male scorers. He’s still on senior duty for the Portuguese national team as well, scoring a brace in Euro qualification action against Lichtenstein in late March. 

The Sporting News reached out to FIFA to confirm the list, but the world governing body said it does not keep an official list of the statistics of the goals scored by individual players. That hasn’t stopped other outlets, including, from listing the following top 10 “FIFA-recognized goals” totals:

Ranking Player Goals
1. Cristiano Ronaldo 830
2. Josef Bican 805
3. Lionel Messi 799
4. Romario 772
5. Pele 757
6. Ferenc Puskas 746
7. Gerd Muller 734
8. Ferenc Deak 576
9. Uwe Seeler 575
9. Tulio Maravilha 575

*Goals only in official matches, not including friendlies and exhibition

Stats correct as of March 23, 2023

MORE: Updated list of Premier League top scorers

Ronaldo FIFA goals record

Ronaldo’s goal-scoring exploits have his fans — and some teammates — naming him the sport’s ultimate ‘GOAT’.

However, the record itself is open to interpretation, with some football historians claiming it is impossible to know for certain due to the lack of accurate recording keeping in pre-20th century football.

Ronaldo beat out previous record holder Josef Bican, who scored an incredible 805 goals in the 24 years between 1931 and 1955. Ronaldo is in the 20th season of his career having played his first season as a pro in 2002/03.

But there is still plenty of dispute over Bican’s actual numbers, with the late Brazilian icon Pele also claiming to have scored over 1,000 career goals — though that has not been confirmed.

MORE: Top Champions League goal scorers

No consensus on goals world record for men

In terms of accepted recognition, Ronaldo has now established himself as the ‘top goal scorer in recognized FIFA games’, but the argument will rage on.

The Czech FA have regularly disputed Bican’s figure of 805 with claims that he actually scored 821 when the final tallies were recorded.

Ronaldo has also surpassed that total, and he has record keepers on his side, with his own figures indisputable and not connected with amateur football, as some of Pele’s goals are.

Bican’s numbers illustrate the information gap between national federations and world-governing body FIFA, with his domestic supporters claiming the higher number is accurate. FIFA stated they could both be wrong with a possible total of 823, as per reports from ESPN.

Pele long claimed that his goal-scoring total was a whopping 1,283, significantly higher than the ‘official number’ placed at 757. But there was never any clear proof to back Pele’s number.

FIFA and South American body CONMEBOL have previously registered Pele with 1,281 goals in 1,363 games, but these include youth, friendly, and non-official games, which Ronaldo’s figure does not include.

According to the authoritative and widely cited RSSSF organization (Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation), their totals and rankings are also different.

The situation is made even more complicated by the Guinness Book of World Records, who hold Pele as the record setter, but with 1,279 goals, as exhibition goals are not prohibited by their count.

One way to interpret this jumble of information: Ronaldo is the new leader as far as ‘goals in official games’ with Pele’s disputed numbers giving him an edge in ‘overall games’.

Where has Ronaldo scored his 828 goals?

Ronaldo has scored more than half of his goals at Real Madrid with 450.

He’s bagged 145 at Manchester United, as well as 120 with the Portugal national team, 101 with Juventus and five with first club Sporting CP. He has 9 goals for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia.

In 2021/22 his 18 Premier League goals were good for third in England’s top division behind only Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min (23 goals). The previous campaign, he finished as top scorer at Euro 2021 and in the Italian Serie A season with Juventus (29 goals).

There may be plenty more goals coming to add to that grand total given Ronaldo is showing he can still score in his latest spell at Al Nassr.

Team Goals
Real Madrid 450
Manchester United 145
Portugal national team 120
Juventus 101
Sporting CP 5
Al Nassr 9