How many international goals does messi have ? Cristiano Ronaldo might be playing in Saudi Arabia these days, but he’s still racking up records in Portuguese colours. The 38-year-old holds the record for most international appearances in the history of men’s football after playing his 200th game for Portugal in June 2023. He doesn’t only hold the record for the most games played for a male player, but he also has the most international goals of all-time, as part of his enduring pursuit of titles and records.
Argentina and Inter Miami star Lionel Messi – who is three years younger – can still catch Ronaldo for both records, if he plays on through to the 2026 World Cup.
The Sporting News is regularly updating the rankings for most international goals in the history of men’s football below.
Who has scored the most goals in men’s international football?
Ronaldo holds the record for the most goals scored in men’s international football. The Al Nassr and Portugal striker has 127 goals in 203 senior appearances for his country.
Ronaldo broke the long-standing goal record held by Iran’s Ali Daei when he scored twice against the Republic of Ireland back in September 2021.
Those two were later joined by Messi, as the only three men’s players to reach a century of international goals, with Messi hitting the mark after a hat-trick against Curacao on March 28, with his current tally at 104 after his goal for Argentina against Ecuador on September 8.
Who has scored the most goals in women’s international football?
Even if Ronaldo and Messi continue to play well into their 40s, it is almost impossible for them to catch the goal tallies of the leading women’s international goalscorers.
The top-scoring player in women’s international football — and, indeed, overall — is Canada’s Christine Sinclair, who has managed a staggering 190 goals in 326 appearances in 23 years.
She is six goals ahead of USWNT great Abby Wambach, who retired in 2015. The top 10 is dominated by USA stars, who make up half of the list, although all but Alex Morgan have retired.
Most goals in international football: From Puskas to Cristiano and Sunil Chhetri
In an era of club football’s overwhelming popularity, scoring goals while donning the national jersey is still an experience every footballer yearns for.
Then there are a few players who have experienced the feeling over and over again, etching their names in the history books.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, with 127 goals in 203 matches and counting, has scored the most goals in international football in the men’s game.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been netting goals regularly since making his debut for the Portuguese national side in 2003 and has 10 hat-tricks to his name – also the most in international football.
Any mention of Cristiano Ronaldo, however, feels incomplete without drawing comparisons to fellow modern-day icon Lionel Messi. As per norm, the Argentinian magician also appears on the top 10 of this illustrious list.
Lionel Messi (106 goals) is third in the all-time top international goal scorers’ list and the second-most prolific active goal scorer (currently playing) after Cristiano Ronaldo.
Interestingly, Indian football talisman Sunil Chhetri is fourth overall and third in the all-time and active scorers’ lists, respectively.
Chhetri has played a major role in India’s footballing fortunes in the last decade, earning legendary status in the nation’s sporting history.
However, it’s not just the 21st century stars who feature in the record books.
Legends like Iran’s Ali Daei, who was the first football player to score 100 international goals, Ferenc Puskas of Hungary, who boasted an astounding 1:1 goal to match ratio also finds a place in the roll of honour.
Ali Daei, with 109 goals, is also the top international scorer among Asian players while Godfrey Chitalu of Zambia sits on top in the list of African footballers.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the most accomplished European goal scorer of all-time while Lionel Messi and Trinidad and Tobago’s Stern John (70 goals) hold the continental perches for South and North America, respectively.
Curiously, Germany’s Miroslav Klose – the player with most goals (16) in the FIFA World Cup – doesn’t feature in the top 10 all-time international goal scorer’s list. Klose has scored 71 goals in 137 caps. Three-time World Cup winner Pele, with 77 goals in 92 matches, is the second-highest goal scorer for Brazil after Neymar, who has netted 79 goals.
Analysing Lionel Messi’s 86 international goals – Which team has the Argentine star scored the most against?
Lionel Messi is currently the second highest active goalscorer in international football after Cristiano Ronaldo…
Lionel Messi scored five goals for Argentina against Estonia on Sunday in a 5-0 friendly win.
The forward’s scoring performance equalled his career best between club and country for a single match, tying the mark he set in the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen in 2012.
Messi has enjoyed a fantastic couple of weeks for the Albiceleste, as he played a lead role in their Finalissima victory over Italy last Wednesday. He now has 86 international goals to his name.
His first-ever international goal was against Croatia in 2006 in an international friendly match in which Argentina lost 3-2. In his long and illustrious international career, Messi has netted seven international hat-tricks, including one against Brazil.
Here, we take a look at Messi’s 86 international goals and the teams he has scored the most goals against.
Messi International goals: Know the record
Lionel Messi’s international goals tally increased to 86 goals after the footballer scored a whopping five goals against Estonia in the most recent international friendly.
One of the biggest parameters making the Messi vs Ronaldo debate lop-sided is the Argentinian’s international goals. Lionel Messi sits seventh on the list of most international goals scored by footballers as the South-American football star trail Ronaldo by a hefty 35 goals.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi is the country’s all-time highest goalscorer leading legendary strikers like Gabriel Batistuta (54 goals) and Sergio Aguero (42 goals). He had shattered Pele‘s record of 77 international goals by scoring against Bolivia in September 2021 in a World Cup qualifying win for Argentina.
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However, since making his senior national team debut on August 17, 2005, Lionel Messi has been absolutely prolific scoring in almost every international competition that Argentina have played in. Below is the list of all the competitions in which Messi has scored.
Messi International Goals: By competition
Lionel Messi has scored the most goals in international friendlies, which tallies to 39 in 48 games with the left-footer averaging 0.81 goals per international friendly.
Though Lionel Messi has managed to lift just one Copa America title that came in 2021, Argentina have managed to reach the semi-finals once and become runners-up another time in the other two editions under Messi’s captaincy. He has 13 goals in 34 Copa America matches.
Though Messi is yet to add his name to the FIFA World Cup winners list, the player has been a consistent performer for the national team in the elite competition. Messi has scored a whopping 27 goals in 58 World Cup qualifying matches for Argentina taking the team to WC finals on a regular basis. However, even Lionel Messi has found it difficult to score on the greatest stage of all with just 6 goals in 19 games.
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