Highest International Goalscorers by Country – 16 Mind-Blowing Facts You Didn’t Know About
Throughout a century-long history of international football, there have been many names that stood out from their teammates and reached the ultimate glory of being the top goalscorers of their nation. You would expect to find names like Pele, Cristiano Ronaldo, Klose, Drogba, and others at the top of the list, and while many of them are there, some of them you probably never heard about and their numbers can be quite surprising.
So without further ado, here are 16 of the most interesting facts about top international goalscorers by country. Read on!
1. Ali Daei scored over 100 goals!
Not many people have heard about Ali Daei, and that’s maybe because he played for Iran, a country that historically didn’t have that much success in international football. However, Daei is the only player who scored over 100 goals for his national team – 109 to be exact.
2. Poul Nielsen has the best GPM ratio.
Legendary Danish forward Poul Nielsen scored 52 goals for Denmark and is 35th on the all-time list of top international goalscorers. But one thing you probably didn’t know is that he did it in only 38 games, giving him a goal-per-match ratio of 1.37, the highest of any top goalscorer. No one else has scored more than one goal per match.
3. Klose is the best ever in two categories.
Miroslav Klose is the best German goalscorer of all time with 71 goals, but he is also the best goalscorer at the FIFA World Cups with 16 goals.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo needs six more goals to reach 100.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the best Portuguese player of all time, and the stats confirm it. He now only needs six more goals to reach the 100 mark, which he will probably complete until the end of Euro 2020.
5. Sunil Chhetri scored more goals than Messi.
India’s Sunil Chhetri scored more goals for his international team (72) than Messi had scored for Argentina (68). Out of all active players, Messi is only behind Ronaldo and Chhetri on this list.
6. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan are tied for the USA.
There are only six nations that have two top goalscorers instead of one. The United States duo of Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan is the most successful one, as the two scored 57 goals each for their national team.
7. Poul Nielsen is the oldest top goalscorer.
Born in December of 1891, Denmark’s Poul Nielsen is the oldest international top goalscorer. He scored 52 goals, and he’s tied for first place with Jon Dahl Tomasson.
8. 40 players on the list are still active.
Top goalscorers from 40 different countries are still active players, while the others are long retired.
9. Romelu Lukaku is the youngest top goalscorer.
Belgian superstar Romelu Lukaku scored 51 goals for his national team and is the youngest player on this list, being born on May 13, 1993.
10. Nobody has scored more than 35 goals for Italy.
Although Italy is historically one of the best football nations in the world, winning four World Cups, it’s interesting that nobody scored more than 35 goals for the national team. The current record holder is Luigi Riva who retired in 1974. No active Italian players are even in the top 10 goalscorers.
11. Only four top goalscorers have won the World Cup.
Only four players who are top goalscorers for their countries have also won the FIFA World Cup with their national team. They are Miroslav Klose (Germany – 2006), Thierry Henry (France – 1998), David Villa (Spain – 2010), and Pele (Brazil – 1958, 1962, 1970).
12. Teaonui Teha Only Played 29 Matches to become the Top Goalscorer.
The least amount of games somebody played to become the top goalscorer for their country is 29 from Teaonui Teha of Tahiti. Over the course of these 29 games, Teha scored 21 goals for his team.
13. Top African goalscorer is 5th on the all-time list.
Although African countries didn’t have too much success on the international stage, Godfrey Chitalu from Zambia is one of the best national team goalscorers of all time. He found the back of the net 79 times in his 111 appearances for Zambia.
14. Davor Šuker is the only top goalscorer who played and scored for two different countries.
Davor Šuker briefly played for Yugoslavia before it’s dissolution in 1991 and scored one goal. Later on, he became the top goalscorer for his newly-formed Croatia with 45 goals.
15. Hossam Hassan Played 169 Games for Egypt.
The Egyptian striker Hossam Hassan played a total of 169 games for his home country, more than any other player on the list. However, Cristiano Ronaldo already had 162 appearances for Portugal and is likely to break Hassan’s record.
16. Messi Needs Four More Goals to get to the Top 10.
Lionel Messi is 16th on the all-time top goalscorers list, which seems a bit surprising considering his legendary status. However, if he only scores four more goals, he will be tied for ninth place on the list.