Zlatan's 500th club goal: How he compares to Messi, Ronaldo, Pele

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic might be considered unlucky to belong to the same generation as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. 

By any normal standards, the former Sweden international ought to be spoken about more regularly in the context of the greatest goalscorers of all time. 

That doesn’t mean his record-breaking feats have gone under the radar entirely, though. 

Incredibly, at the age of 39 Ibrahimovic is still in the midst of an unbelievable campaign.

Despite having his season interrupted by injury, the striker has now registered 14 goals from 11 appearances in Serie A since re-joining AC Milan. 

The latest of those goals came during Sunday’s 4-0 win over Crotone, in which he scored a brace. 

While it may have been a routine victory for the Rossoneri, it was a special moment for Ibrahimovic as he surpassed 500 club goals. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goalscoring record 

The full breakdown of that achievement is as follows: 

AC Milan: 82

La Galaxy: 53

Manchester United: 29

Paris Saint-Germain: 156

Barcelona: 22

Inter Milan: 66

Juventus: 26

Ajax: 48

Malmo: 18

In Zlatan’s own mind, we’re sure that marks him above any of his peers and even some of football’s historic icons. 

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The truth is, it doesn’t – but he does join the very highest echelons of players who have hit the 500+ mark excluding international goals. 

Let’s take a look at how he compares to the greats. We’re using stats from the International Federation of Football History & Statistics. 

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Ferenc Puskas: 514

Ferenc Deak: 520

Jimmy McGrory: 522

Abe Lenstra: 523

Eusebio: 580

Lionel Messi: 650

Gerd Muller: 654

Cristiano Ronaldo: 661

Pele: 680

Romario: 673

Josef Bican: 734

Messi, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic are the only three active players in the world who have broken the 500+ boundary. 

You’ll remember Ronaldo recently overtook Josef Bican in the overall charts – that’s partly because of his international record with Portugal. 

We’ve left out a couple of names – including the great Arthur Friedenreich – who played in the early 1900s, because of uncertainty surrounding how many club goals they scored. 

In fact, it’s worth noting that there are also long-standing debates about the records of Romario and Pele, too. 

Both have made claims to have scored in excess of 1,000 career goals, but that’s including friendlies and unofficial games. 

Regardless, Ibrahimovic finds himself in esteemed company as he continues to write his name into the record books – even as he plays into his fourth decade. 

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