Messi, Ronaldo, Lewandowski: The top goalscorers per calendar year in the 21st century

  • Tom Ward
Robert Lewandowski could break Cristiano Ronaldo's record against Wolfsburg

Robert Lewandowski looks like an unstoppable force of nature after zeroing in on Cristiano Ronaldo‘s record of 69 goals in a single calendar year. 

The Portuguese superstar’s record has stood the test of time for the best part of a decade after netting 69 times for Real Madrid in 2013, although it is now in danger of being eclipsed by the Bayern Munich striker. 

Lewandowski banged in a brace against VfB Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Tuesday in a 5-0 win for Julian Nagelsmann‘s men. 

In doing so, he moved one step closer to surpassing Ronaldo’s astonishing feat, and now has top spot in his sights.

But despite his superb goal-scoring form for club and country, Lewandowski has incredibly never actually won the Ballon d’Or.   

Last week, he came agonisingly close to picking up the prestigious award, only to end up losing out to Lionel Messi.  

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However, Nagelsmann has insisted the Poland international has not allowed the disappointment to affect him at all, in fact if anything it’s the opposite. 

He said: “I haven’t noticed a big change in terms of hunger for goals, regardless of the Ballon d’Or decision or new records.

“I think he was in an incredibly good mood lately with very good body language.

“He also does his job defensively very neatly. I think he just wants to be successful with FC Bayern.”

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Bayern have one game left to play in 2021 – a Bundesliga match against VfL Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena – and it’s hard to bet against Lewandowski scoring again given the incredible run he has been on since the start of the year.

The 33-year-old is the German top-flight’s goal-scorer by some margin with 18 strikes, two places ahead of Erling Haaland and four goals clear of Patrik Schick.

But who has scored the most goals in a single calendar year? 

Find out for yourself with our comprehensive list, below…

2000 – Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan, 37 goals)

2001 – Raul Gonzalez (Real Madrid, 41 goals)

2002 – Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United, 35 goals)

2003 – Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United, 43 goals)

2004 – Thierry Henry (Arsenal, 43 goals)

2005 – Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona, 35 goals)

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored 36 goals in 51 appearances across all competitions

2006 – Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Heerenveen/Ajax, 36 goals)

2007 – Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid, 30 goals)

2008 – Marc Janko (Red Bull Salzburg, 36 goals)

2009 – Luis Suarez (Ajax, 42 goals)

2010 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 58 goals)


2011 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 53 goals)

2012 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 91 goals)

2013 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 69 goals)

2014 – Jonathan Soriano (Red Bull Salzburg, 55 goals)

2015 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 52 goals)

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2016 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 51 goals)

2017 – Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain, 50 goals)

2018 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 47 goals)

2019 – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, 48 goals)

2020 – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, 45 goals)

READ MORE: Aguero, Kane, Rooney, Vardy: Who’s scored the most goals for a single Premier League club?

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