The 12 players who have scored more international goals than Cristiano Ronaldo

Crispin Andrews
The Portugueses double against Hungary on Saturday brought him level with... well, former Coventry favourite Stern John, of course

12. Stern John, Trinidad and Tobago (115 caps, 70 goals)

John last turned out in England for Solihull Moors in the Conference North, but is ahead of CR7 in this list by virtue of having played 22 internationals fewer for the same tally.

He had 16 clubs in 18 seasons and often featured in sentences alongside banjos and barn doors – but John also scored 70 goals in 115 internationals for Trinidad and Tobago from 1995-2012. His 12 World Cup qualifying goals, including two against Mexico in a decisive third-round game, helped his country qualify for the 2006 finals in Germany. He almost scored in the finals, but his injury-time effort against England was ruled out for offside.

11. Majed Abdullah, Saudi Arabia (147 caps, 71 goals)

Abdullah burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old, scoring seven goals in three games against Russia, Bulgaria and Iran in a 1977 junior tournament. He netted twice on his debut for the senior Saudi team and managed 71 goals in 147 games between 1977 and 1994.

At the 1984 Olympics he scored against a Brazil side containing a young Dunga; four years later, he helped Saudi Arabia draw with Argentina in the Australia Bicentenary Gold Cup. Later that year, Majed rubbed salt into England’s post Euro-1988 wounds (below).

10. Miroslav Klose, Germany (137 caps, 71 goals)

The beanpole hitman scored on his international debut, headed five goals in the 2002 World Cup (a record for headers) and in his penultimate World Cup match, broke Ronaldo’s record as Germany smashed Brazil 7-1. At the end of his last appearance, he held up the World Cup at his fourth attempt.

Between 2001 and 2014, Klose scored 71 goals from 137 internationals, and netted his 50th goal to kick-start Germany’s 2010 World Cup demolition of England. The next game, the quarter-final, was his 100th for Germany and Klose scored twice as Die Mannschaft thrashed Argentina 4-0.

He nearly didn’t play for them at all, though: Klose was born in Poland to German parents, and couldn’t speak the language when he first arrived in the country.

9. Kinnah Phiri, Malawi (115 caps, 71 goals)

Records are a little sketchy where Phiri is concerned, but the reliable rsssf.com claims that he plundered 71 in an international career that spanned just over eight years. 

The striker, who later managed Malawai from 2009-13, struck 43 goals in 55 friendlies, including all five in a 5-1 win over Botswana in October 1977. He'll be best remembered for his efforts in helping Malawai win the 1978 East and Central Africa Challenge (CECAFA) Cup, though, having scored in four of his nation's six games – including the final.   

8. Sandor Kocsis, Hungary (68 caps, 75 goals)

Back in the late-'40s and early-to mid-'50s, playing Hungary must have given defenders nightmares. Even if you kept Ferenc Puskas quiet, you still had to deal with another of the world’s most prolific goalscorers. 

Sandor Kocsis actually had a better goals-to-game ratio than the legendary Puskas – 1.10 per game, which equated to a net-busting 75 goals in 68 internationals. That’s up there with West German great Gerd Muller (who misses out on this list because he only played 62 internationals for his 68 goals and retired from international football aged 28).

Kocsis scored seven hat-tricks for Hungary, and grabbed four goals in the famous 8-3 destruction of West Germany at the 1954 World Cup. He top-scored in that tournament with 11 goals from five games. 

7. Bashar Abdullah, Kuwait (133 caps, 75 goals)

No relation to Majed. Part of the Kuwait team that won two Gulf Cups and reached the semi-finals of the AFC Asian Cup, Bashar scored 75 goals in 133 games between 1996 and 2007.

In 2000 he scored eight times in Kuwait’s 20-0 victory over Bhutan. Four days later, Bashar put five past Nepal, and in the early 2000s regularly terrorised the likes of Singapore, Palestine and Uzbekistan.

6. Pele, Brazil (92 caps, 77 goals)

Add the 18 goals Pele scored for Brazil in 21 unofficial games, and he’d be second on this list. In official internationals, Pele scored 77 times in 92 games – and he wasn’t even an out-and-out striker.

Aged 17, he scored twice in the 1958 World Cup Final against Sweden, and a hat-trick against France in the semi. Pele scored six more international hat-tricks, and in four World Cups played 14 games, scoring 12 and setting up another 10. He netted Brazil’s 100th World Cup goal with a header in the 1970 final against Italy.

5. Hussein Saeed, Iraq (137 caps, 78 goals)

Saeed is unsurprisingly hailed as Iraq's greatest player of the century, having scored for fun and racked up a record number of caps for his country. 

The striker, a one-club man who played for Al-Talaba his entire career, enjoyed a particularlr prolific 1984 for his country by helping them to the 1984 Gulf Cup of Nations. There, he struck braces against hosts Oman and Kuwait, plus a hat-trick to sink Saudi Arabia. 

He retired in 1990, aged 32, following Iraq's withdrawal from that year's Gulf Cup competition... because of the refereeing. The big sulks. 

4. Godfrey Chitalu, Zambia (108 caps, 79 goals)

Remember in 2012, when everyone thought Lionel Messi had broken Gerd Muller’s record for the number of goals scored in a calendar year? Then along comes the Zambian FA and tells us that one of their guys, Godfrey Chitalu, netted 107 goals in 1972? The same year as Muller scored his 85? 

Yeah, that. Chitalu also scored 79 goals in 108 games for Zambia between 1968 and 1980. His finest hour came in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, where he bagged against Venezuela and the Soviet Union. Tragically in April 1993, while managing the national team, Chitalu, his players and coaching staff were killed in a plane crash off the coast of Gabon.

3. Kunishige Kamamoto, Japan (84 caps, 80 goals) 

Japan’s first footballing superstar, Kamamoto scored 84 goals in 80 internationals between 1964 and 1977. He was top scorer at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, including a hat-trick against Nigeria and two against France in the quarter-finals.

Japan came third and had high hopes of qualifying for the 1970 World Cup, but in 1969, Kamamoto was struck down with Hepatitis and in the first round of qualifying his team lost to both Australia and South Korea.

Kamamoto returned the following year and soon started banging them in again. His best year was 1972, with 15 goals in eight games. After retiring, he went into politics and football administration.

2. Ferenc Puskas, Hungary (85 caps, 84 goals)

Between 1945 and 1956, the ‘Galloping Major’ (Puskas played for Hungarian army club Budapest Honved and all the players were given military ranks) scored 84 goals in 85 games for Hungary, which included three hat-tricks and four in a 12-0 win against Albania.

He hit four at the 1952 Olympics where Hungary won gold; then, in 1953 and 1954, the Mighty Magyars beat England 6-3 and 7-1. Puskas scored twice in both games. He got three in Hungary’s first two gamest the 1954 World Cup, before being carried off injured with a hairline fracture in his ankle. Puskas missed two games, came back for the final against West Germany, and scored as Hungary's opponents came back to win after shipping two in the first eight minutes. 

1. Ali Daei, Iran (149 caps, 109 goals)

When Hertha Berlin beat Chelsea 2-1 in a 1999 Champions League group game, it was the most prolific international goalscorer of them all who rose above Frank Leboeuf to head the Germans in front. Iranian striker Ali Daei then robbed the Frenchman inside Chelsea's half before making it 2-0.

Between 1993 and 2006, Daei scored 109 goals in 149 internationals. Twice he scored four in a game, against South Korea in the 1996 Asian Cup and Laos in a qualifier for the 2006 World Cup.  

Daei didn’t fare as well against tougher opposition, failing to score in the 1998 and 2006 World Cup finals. He did set up the goal that beat the USA in 1998, to give Iran its first, and to date only, World Cup finals victory.

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