The top 10 goalscorers in Europe since Ronaldo’s Man Utd debut

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first Premier League goal for Manchester United in November 2003 and he quickly became one of the most prolific players in Europe.

Having scored over 100 goals for three of Europe’s biggest clubs, Ronaldo’s goalscoring prowess knew no limits. Throughout his club career, he has scored at a rate of 0.74 goals per game which is absolutely ridiculous.

The 37-year-old has now departed the European game, but his record over the course of his 19 and a half seasons in Europe’s major leagues was truly remarkable.

We’ve gone back through the archives and taken a closer look at the top 10 goalscorers in Europe’s big five leagues since Ronaldo made he made his debut for Manchester United back in 2003.

10. Edin Dzeko – 221

Perhaps one of the most underrated strikers of the last decade, Dzeko is still going strong at 36 years old in Serie A. With 221 goals in Europe’s top five leagues, he gets into this top 10 ahead of the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Wayne Rooney and Thierry Henry.

9. Gonzalo Higuain – 237

The France-born Argentinian striker had the best spell of his career whilst he was with Napoli, having scored an average of 0.68 goals per game in the league during his three-year spell at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

He also ranks 14th on Real Madrid’s all-time top goalscorers list, having scored 107 La Liga goals during his spell at the Bernabeu. In total, Higuain has scored 237 goals in Europe’s top five leagues.

8. Luis Suarez – 248

“I actually think he was the best centre-forward in the world for like four years. Not just at Liverpool, but what he did at Barcelona for the next two or three years,” Jamie Carragher told the Overlap.

A two-time winner of the European Golden Shoe, Suarez was breathtaking during his prime. In total, he has scored 248 goals in Europe’s top five leagues for Liverpool, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. That’s not even counting the 91 Eredivisie goals he scored for Groningen and Ajax.

Only Lionel Messi and Cesar Rodriguez have scored more goals for Barcelona than the Uruguayan, which is pretty astonishing when you consider he was only at the Camp Nou for six – ridiculously prolific – seasons.

7. Sergio Aguero – 259

Aguero ranks fifth on the all-time Premier League top goalscorers ranking with 184 goals for Manchester City. He scored an additional 75 for Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, taking his overall tally to 259 in Europe’s top five leagues.

6. Edinson Cavani – 267

The Uruguayan striker is still scoring goals today for Valencia in La Liga. Across a career which has spanned over 17 years so far, Cavani has 267 goals to show for it in Europe which is a superb return – notching in four of Europe’s top five leagues, with only the Bundesliga missing out.

Kylian Mbappe may be breathing down his neck, but the 35-year-old remains PSG’s all-time top scorer for now (200 goals in all competitions, 138 in Ligue 1).

5. Karim Benzema – 270

“There is now an absolute fear from other defenders when he comes up against them,” Rio Ferdinand told BT Sport in 2022. “There are players going to bed not sleeping as comfortably as they would have in previous years because of the way he has reached a rich vein of form.”

Benzema deservedly won the latest Ballon d’Or for his remarkable 2021-22 campaign. He often sacrificed his own goalscoring return to accommodate others, but a tally of 270 league goals (227 for Madrid, 43 for Lyon) speaks to his brilliance.

Karim Benzema during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, October 2022.

READ: ‘CR7 was in love with him’: 13 quotes to sum up Benzema’s brilliance

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 301

There’s standing the test of time and then there’s Ibrahimovic. The Swedish striker has scored goals in four separate decades and he is still of use to AC Milan today at 41 years old.

Since Ronaldo made his debut in 2003, Ibrahimovic has scored 301 goals in Europe’s top five leagues, with his most prolific spell coming with PSG between 2012 and 2016.

On top of that, Ibrahimovic scored 35 Eredivisie goals for Ajax and 16 league goals for his boyhood club Malmo.

3. Robert Lewandowski – 325

We still can’t believe Lewandowski was robbed of a Ballon d’Or in 2020 when the event was cancelled. He’s now smashing it in La Liga after dominating the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich – only the legendary

The Polish striker has scored 325 goals in the Bundesliga and La Liga and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down any time soon.

2. Lionel Messi – 487 

Messi will surely have his eyes set on the number one spot as his tally of 487 league goals is just a few away from matching Ronaldo’s tally. His tally of 91 goals in 2012 is a record which is bound to stand the test of time.

Way out front as La Liga’s all-time goalscorer with 474 goals in 520 appearances for Barcelona, he’s since added another 13 in Ligue 1 with PSG.

Now that he seems comfortable with his surroundings in Paris, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him carrying on for another few years and break all sorts of goalscoring records.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – 495

Who else but Ronaldo? When it comes to goalscoring on the biggest stage, CR7 is inevitable. With a record of 495 goals in Europe’s top five leagues, he is out ahead of anyone else since he made his debut for Manchester United in 2003.

The legendary forward scored 311 goals in 292 La Liga appearances for Real Madrid, 103 goals in 236 Premier League appearances for Manchester United and 81 goals in 98 Serie A appearances for Juventus. He also scored three goals in the Portuguese top flight as a teenager for boyhood club Sporting Lisbon.

We might yet see Ronaldo return to Europe after a stint in Saudi Arabia, but if not he has still left behind one of the greatest legacies of all time in Europe.

READ NEXT: A definitive breakdown of Messi and Ronaldo’s comparative career stats

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name Man Utd’s XI from Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut in 2003?