How Messi and Ronaldo’s international records compare to the all-time greats

Quick Reads

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the all-time top scorers for two great footballing nations, but how do their international records stack up against the sport’s most legendary figures?

We’ve compared their goalscoring records for Argentina and Portugal to those of Miroslav Klose (the World Cup’s all-time top goalscorer), Gerd Muller (remarkably prolific for West Germany), Iranian icon Ali Daei (the all-time international goalscorer), Pele (Brazil’s all-time top scorer), Maradona (Argentina’s most beloved player) and Brazilian Ronaldo (who held the World Cup record before Klose).

Note: we’ve included assists and minutes-per-goal for Messi, Ronaldo and Klose, because the data is available, but have omitted those stats (and penalties where unavailable) from the rest, where such data hasn’t been recorded for all of their games.

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Games: 143
Goals: 72
Assists:
52
Penalties scored: 16

Friendly goals: 34
Ratio of friendly goals: 47%
World Cup goals:
6
Ratio of World Cup goals:
8.33%

Minutes per goal: 163

Minutes per non-penalty goal: 209
Minutes per goal or assist:
94

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Games: 174
Goals: 103
Assists:
41
Penalties scored: 11

Friendly goals: 18
Ratio of friendly goals: 17%
World Cup goals:
7
Ratio of World Cup goals:
6.8%

Minutes per goal: 133

Minutes per non-penalty goal: 149
Minutes per goal or assist:
95

READ: What they said: The 12 players to play alongside Messi and Ronaldo

Miroslav Klose (Germany)

Games: 137
Goals: 71
Assists:
30
Penalties scored: 0

Friendly goals: 23
Ratio of friendly goals: 17%
World Cup goals:
7
Ratio of World Cup goals:
6.8%

Minutes per goal: 123

Minutes per non-penalty goal: 123
Minutes per goal or assist:
86

Ali Daei (Iran)

Games: 149 
Goals: 109
Penalties scored: 16

Friendly goals: 27
Ratio of friendly goals: 24.77%
World Cup goals:
0
Ratio of World Cup goals:
0%

Diego Maradona (Argentina)

Games: 91
Goals: 34

Friendly goals: 17
Ratio of friendly goals: 50%
World Cup goals:
8
Ratio of World Cup goals:
23%

Pele (Brazil)

Games: 92
Goals: 77

Friendly goals: 50
Ratio of friendly goals: 54%
World Cup goals:
12
Ratio of World Cup goals:
13%

Ronaldo (Brazil)

Games: 98
Goals: 62
Penalties scored: 7

Friendly goals: 23
Ratio of friendly goals: 37.1%
World Cup goals:
15
Ratio of World Cup goals:
24.19%

Gerd Muller (West Germany)

Games: 62
Goals: 68

Friendly goals: 29
Ratio of friendly goals: 42.65%
World Cup goals:
14
Ratio of World Cup goals:
20.59%


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