Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Kane: The 20 male players to score 50 goals in a year since 2000

  • Kobe Tong
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Kylian Mbappe has enjoyed a finer 2021 than you might have imagined.

Through all the Real Madrid rumours and Lionel Messi‘s dramatic arrival at the Parc des Princes, the Paris Saint-Germain star’s output on the pitch hasn’t necessarily earned the air time it deserves.

In fact, despite only finishing ninth in the final Ballon d’Or rankings, Mbappe has been one of the most lethal goalscorers of the last 12 months with over 50 strikes across the calendar year.

Mbappe joins exclusive club

And according to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), Mbappe’s tally of 51 goals in 2021 alone places him amongst an exclusive club in the men’s game.

That’s because the revered statisticians revealed this week that Mbappe was only the 20th male footballer to notch 50 top-level goals in a calendar year in the 21st century.

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You know it’s a difficult feat when less than one player a year averages it, but Mbappe has cleared the barrier with 43 goals for PSG and a further eight strikes for France across 2021 as a whole.

But who are the other players to have amassed a half century between January 1 and December 31? Well, fear not, because the IFFHS revealed the complete list in fascinating detail.

1 of 20
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Players with 50 goals in a calendar year since 2000

And with each entrant listed in chronological order from the moment that they first joined the club – bear in mind that some players repeated the feat – be sure to check out the 20 marksmen below:

1. Henrik Larsson (2001) – 53 goals

Celtic (Scotland) and Sweden

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2. Joaquín Botero (2002) – 57 goals

Bolívar (Bolivia) and Bolivia

3. José Alfredo Castillo (2002) – 52 goals

Oriente Petrolero (Bolivia) and Bolivia

4. José Cardozo (2002) – 51 goals

Toluca (Mexico) and Paraguay

5. Ara Hakobyan (2003) – 50 goals

Banants (Armenia) and Armenia

6. Humberto Suazo (2006) – 51 goals

Colo-Colo (Chile) and Chile

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7. Lionel Messi (2010) – 60 goals

Barcelona (Spain) and Argentina

8. Cristiano Ronaldo (2011) – 60 goals

Real Madrid (Spain) and Portugal

9. Mario Gomez (2011) – 50 goals

Bayern Munich (Germany) and Germany

10. Neymar (2012) – 52 goals

Santos (Brazil) and Brazil

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11. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2012) – 50 goals

AC Milan (Italy), Paris Saint-Germain (France) and Sweden

12. Ali Ashfaq (2013) – 58 goals

New Radiant (Maldives) and Maldives

13. Jonathan Soriano (2014) – 55 goals

Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) and Spain

14. Luis Suarez (2016) – 51 goals

Barcelona (Spain) and Uruguay

15. Harry Kane (2017) – 56 goals

Tottenham Hotspur (England) and England

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16. Robert Lewandowski (2017) – 53 goals

Bayern Munich (Germany) and Poland

17. Edinson Cavani (2017) – 53 goals

Paris Saint-Germain (France) and Uruguay

18. Baghdad Bounedjah (2018) – 58 goals

Al Sadd (Qatar) and Algeria

19. Abderrazak Hamdallah (2019) – 57 goals

Al Nassr (Saudi Arabia) and Morocco

20. Kylian Mbappe (2021) – 51 goals

Paris Saint-Germain (France) and France

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Mbappe flexes his muscles 

Not bad company, that, Kylian.

While it’s certainly fascinating to see some of the lesser-known company that Mbappe now finds himself alongside, there’s no denying that he’ll be most chuffed to join Ronaldo and Messi.

And it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that the serial Ballon d’Or winners are two of just four players who have amassed 50 or more goals in a calendar year several times since 2000.

Remarkably, Messi has achieved it nine times and Ronaldo has pulled it off on seven occasions, while Lewandowski and Ibrahimovic round off the club with three and two repeats respectively.

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Meanwhile, Radamel Falcao and Erling Braut Haaland will be left kicking themselves as their 2012 and 2021 totals of 49 goals apiece mean that they miss out on entry by the skin of their teeth.

But the same can’t be said of Mbappe, who continues to blow us away with his achievements in the beautiful game at just 23 years old.

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