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Football’s greatest goalscorer

Football’s greatest goalscorer


Cristiano Ronaldo has broken the record for the most goals scored in football history. But some say his competitors have scored more than have been recorded.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has been far from ideal.

Ahead of the Manchester derby on the 6th of March, rumours were swirling about why he wasn’t included in the squad.

The official reason? A hip flexor injury.

But reports also suggested that Cristiano Ronaldo had taken an unapproved trip back to Portugal. 

His boss, Ralf Rangnick, has been asked constant questions by the media.

“Issues? What do you mean, issues?”

“There’s just lots of talk about happiness, as well as fitness…”

“Well, no, I haven’t asked him if he’s happy at Manchester and at this club, for me it’s important that he’s fit again and that he resumed training yesterday. And yeah, then we will see with which formation and which lineup we are going to play the game tomorrow.”

Sky Sports News

That press conference was before the game with Tottenham this weekend when Ralf Rangnick did pick Cristiano Ronaldo as part of his starting eleven.

And that decision certainly paid off.

“Fred turning it round to…Ronaldo! Oh it’s spectacular! That’s exactly what they brought him back for! Ronaldo spells quality!

Sky Sports Football

It wasn’t just that his hat-trick secured a 3-2 win over Tottenham. 

Those three goals put Cristiano Ronaldo two ahead of Austrian footballer Josef Bican to make him football’s all-time top goalscorer with a total of 807 career goals. 

“He looked angry today. A lot of his aggression in his play today. Whatever’s gone on in the last week or two, he’s obviously been upset with something but he’s shown today what we’ve seen over the years…the guy’s a genius, he’s brilliant, the three goals were fantastic…”

Sky Sports Football

Christiano Ronaldo has scored five times for Sporting Lisbon, 136 in two spells for Manchester United, 450 for Real Madrid, 101 for Juventus and 115 for the Portugal National Team.

But if you look up that record, you will see it says something like “FIFA recognised goals,” or “in professional football.”

What does that mean?

Josef Biscan scored 805 goals recognised by FIFA.

Pele scored 757 goals recognised by FIFA.

And both of those numbers are disputed.

Football historians think that it’s difficult to know the exact number scored in the early and mid 20th century era because of inaccurate record keeping at the time. 

The Czech National team posted a video on Twitter last year which explained why it thinks Josef Biscan has 821 official goals. A figure which, if true, would keep him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Our History and Statistics Committee of the Czech FA started to deal with this problem. We based our research on statistics from prestigious international websites that state 805 goals with a notice that goals scored by Biscan in 1952 in the Czech second division for Hradec Kralove are missing.”

Czech National Football Team

It says it has found the missing goals for that season, which add up to 53 in 26 matches. 

And it insists it double checked his entire record.

What about Pele? 

Remember, he has 757 goals recognised by FIFA, which officially makes him the fifth top goalscorer of all time.

Unlike Josef Biscan, the Brazilian legend doesn’t have his national team lobbying for him on this, but on his own social media he insists he scored 1,281 goals during his career. 

Including some very important ones.

“This has been a closely fought World Cup final so far. Rivellino…first time delivery…Pele! And Brazil take the lead! An almighty leap by the famous Brazil number 10.” 


But Pele has included youth, friendly and non-official matches in that figure, so should they count?

Guinness have officially recognised 1,279 of Pele’s goals – discounting two scored in exhibition matches – but still enough to hand Pele his World Record certificate back in 2016. 

So, depending which way you cut it, Cristiano Ronaldo may not be the best goalscorer of all time. 

But he does have one advantage over these historic rivals.

Modern record keeping means his 807 goals are indisputable. 

And although he’s experienced difficult times at his current club, he’s not finished scoring yet.

Today’s story was written by Chloe Beresford and produced by Imy Harper.