Ronaldo, Messi and Pele's incredible goalscoring world records

  • Kobe Tong

Cristiano Ronaldo raised two fingers to the haters with an electric performance for Manchester United on Sunday night.

Despite the five-time Ballon d’Or winner having been widely criticised at times during his return to the Premier League, there can be no denying his importance to the Red Devils when it comes to key moments.

Ronaldo smashed home a stunning hat-trick in the 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur to keep United‘s top four hopes alive, including an opening goal that had shades of his iconic FC Porto strike.

Ronaldo’s historic hat-trick vs Tottenham

However, perhaps even more notable than hitting Spurs for three were reports that Ronaldo’s treble at the ‘Theatre of Dream’s had seen him become the greatest goalscorer in men’s football history.

It’s widely accepted that Ronaldo now has 807 career goals to his name, but it depends on whose statistics you believe in terms of whether or not that makes the Portuguese star the all-time number one.

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Let’s start easy: What was Tottenham’s old ground called?

Well, according to talkSPORT’s maths, the answer is an emphatic ‘yes’ with the Tottenham hat-trick seeing him move above the 805 strikes that FIFA reportedly assign to Josef Bican.

Now, other statisticians will tell you that Ronaldo had achieved the feat already and the Czech FA would argue that Ronaldo needs 822 goals to break the record, so it’s a complicated situation.

Man Utd 3-2 Tottenham Match Reaction (Football Terrace)

Goalscoring world records

However, the revered number-crunchers over at The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) always make for a useful touchstone when it comes to marauding through all the data.

And on the back of Ronaldo’s hat-trick, they not only corroborated his status as the all-time record goalscorer in the men’s game, but also declared that he now holds five stunning world records.

That’s because IFFHS decided to list their nine selections for the most impressive and respected goalscoring world records with Ronaldo holding five of them on the back of overtaking Romario for club goals.

So, without further ado, be sure to join us in celebration of Ronaldo solidifying his status as the sport’s greatest ever goalscorer by walking through the world records down below:

Total goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (807)

Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – March 12, 2022 Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

League goals: Pele (606)

Club goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (692)

Domestic goals: Pele (661)

One-league goals: Lionel Messi (474)

Soccer Football – La Liga Santander – FC Barcelona v Getafe – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain – April 22, 2021 Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Albert Gea

One-club goals: Lionel Messi (672)

International club goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (150)

National team goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (115)

Total international goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (265)

Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – March 12, 2022 Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their third goal with Alex Telles REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Ronaldo’s international brilliance

So, just to clarify there, the ‘international’ categories that IFFHS hold so proudly concern any competition where the clubs competing are not all necessarily from the same country a la the Champions League.

Therefore, the fact that Ronaldo not only has the world record for the most national team goals, but also in multinational tournaments such as the FIFA Club World Cup and beyond proves he truly is a global megastar.

While he’ll never be able to surpass Messi‘s one-club and one-league world records that were amassed at Barcelona, many fans would argue that Ronaldo’s border-transcending feats are more impressive anyway.

Soccer Football – Champions League – Group G – FC Barcelona v Juventus – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain – December 8, 2020 FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in action with Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo REUTERS/Albert Gea

Besides, despite Ronaldo having scored more goals than Pele overall, he still remains over 100 strikes behind the scoring record in league football, so he really does spread his output across competitions.

Therefore, even if Ronaldo never goes onto collect anymore of the nine world record that he’s already amongst, the moral of the story is that the footballing icon is prolific wherever he goes.

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