After more than a decade dominating club and national football, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar conquer international attention thanks to their goals and titles, in close competition as the best strikers in history.
With his double last Wednesday against the Irish national team in the UEFA World Cup qualifiers, Cristiano became the top scorer in history at the national level. The new signing of Manchester United reached 111 goals and adds a new record in his extraordinary career.
At Euro 2020, Ronaldo became the top scorer in the history of the competition with 14 goals, surpassing Michel Platini’s 9 goals. The Portuguese was already the only one to score in 4 different editions of the Eurocup and did so for the fifth tournament in a row.
On the other hand, with 12 victories in the European Championship, Cristiano boasts the highest number of wins by a player in the history of the competition.
Ronaldo’s 111 goals are already the most by a European player in history. Ronaldo has scored 27 more goals than any other European player in history (Ferenk Puskás with 84).
CR7 vs Eusébio
When he turned 36, Eusebio retired from the New Jersey Americans of the America Soccer League, the third division of American soccer. At his age, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to play the Eurocup and returned to Manchester United.
Cristiano Ronaldo is also 1 of 7 players in history to score 700 official goals, although historical records cannot always be validated.
Among players who are still active, the closest to Ronaldo is Lionel Messi, who has scored 76 goals for Argentina. Robert Lewandowski (69) is the European with the most international goals among active players behind Ronaldo.
Messi is another of the players who has broken records with his national team and has left many legends along the way in the history books of the Albiceleste.
With a free kick goal against the United States in 2016, he surpassed Gabriel Batistuta’s record as Argentina’s top scorer and currently stands with 76 goals for Albiceleste. Since his debut in 2005, Messi has played 151 games for his country and has played 3 finals with the senior team (2 in the Copa América and the 2014 World Cup final).
Lionel Messi still holds the record as the youngest player in Argentine history to play and score in a World Cup (18 years, 357 days). Messi surpassed Javier Mascherano (who added 147 duels) as the player with the most games played with Argentina and currently accumulates 151.
– Lionel Messi joins Brazil legends Pelé and Romário as the only South American players to score 700 touchdowns
– Messi is the only player to score at least 400 goals in one of the five major European leagues.
Messi vs Maradona
Messi turned 34 on June 24 playing the Copa América. At this age, Diego Armando Maradona was serving a doping sanction and never again played for the Argentine national team.
Messi: 76 goals with selection
Maradona: 34 goals in 91 games
Messi: 745 goals before turning 34
Maradona: 339 goals before turning 34
Messi: First goal at 17 years 10 months
Maradona: First goal at 16 years 15 days
Neymar: O’Rei’s heir
Since his debut in 2010, Neymar has scored 68 goals and provided 48 assists in 111 games played. Of his total goals, 26 were in official FIFA competitions. Neymar has scored 6 goals in 10 games played in the last two World Cups. His best performance was in the 2014 edition, in which he scored 4 goals in 5 games – all were against Croatia and Cameroon, two each.
Despite not having had a stellar performance in the 2018 World Cup, Neymar was the main offensive engine of his team in the knockout matches for this edition. Neymar participated in 14 goals (6 goals; 8 assists) of the 12 games he played.
Neymar’s greatest collective achievement with the National Team, in short, was having achieved the first Olympic gold medal in the history of the Brazilian National Team, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro; Neymar scored 4 goals in each of the knockout stages, including the final – one against Colombia (2-0), two against Honduras (6-0), one against Germany (1-1). In the final against Germany, in addition to opening the scoring in the first half, Neymar closed the penalty shoot-out by scoring the winning penalty (5-4). It is worth clarifying that this was the U23 team.
Neymar has reached the age that Pelé was when he won his third World Cup. Neymar has never managed to play at least one World Cup semifinal. But he has won a Copa América and a Gold medal at the Olympic Games, two accolades that Pelé did not achieve.
Pelé before his 30th birthday: 76 national goals
Pelé before his 30th birthday: 654 goals overall, he scored 102 after 30
Neymar: has scored 68 goals with the national team before turning 30
Neymar: has 396 goals in his career.
Neymar: First league goal at 17 years and one month
Pelé: First goal at 16 years 6 months.
Other footballers who exceed or are on the way to overcome what has been done by their past counterparts are the following
Harry Kane vs Gary Lineker
The Tottenham forward turned 28 a few weeks ago. At that age, Gary Lineker, another of the best English strikers in history, played Euro 1988 and played for Barcelona. Gary Lineker was a world scoring champion at 29, Kane did it at 24.
Goals before turning 28 (July 28): 275 goals in 427 games
Goals before turning 28: 211 goals
Harry Kane in national team: 38 goals in 61 games
Gary Lineker: 26 goals in 36 games.
Thomas Müller vs Gerd Müller
Thomas will turn 32 on September 13. He will do it after playing the Eurocup. The third of his career. Gerd had his last national team game at the age of 28 in the 1974 World Cup final in Germany. Both have won the Champions League on multiple occasions. Thomas has played one more World Cup than Gerd. Both were already World Cup champions
Goals in selection
Thomas Müller: 39 goals in 106 games
Gerd Müller: 68 in 62 games