Buenos Aires, Argentina. 07th Sep, 2023. Soccer: World Cup qualifying South America, Argentina - Ecuador. Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates his winning goal. World Cup champion Argentina has won the first qualifying match for the 2026 World Cup.

The top international goalscorers of 2023: Lukaku above Messi, Ronaldo & Kane

Superstars from Manchester United, Bayern Munich and PSG have featured in the most prolific international goalscorers of 2023. 

As this calendar year comes to it’s conclusion, we thought we’d check out the most prolific players on the international stage throughout 2023. While we had no World Cup, European Championship, Africa Cup Of Nations or Copa America, some of football’s most famous names stepped up to the plate for their respective national teams in qualifying campaigns.

We’ve taken a closer look at the 10 players who have scored the most international goals in 2023.

=8. Rasmus Hojlund – 7

The 20-year-old might have had a stuttering start to his Manchester United career, but he’s offered up plenty of evidence elsewhere to show why they shelled out £72million for his signature.

Hojlund has been ruthlessly efficient on the international stage with Denmark, notching seven times as they qualified for Euro 2024.

He kicked off the qualifying campaign with a hat-trick against Finland, followed that up with a brace against Kazakhstan, and added further goals against Slovenia and San Marino for good measure.

=8. Scott McTominay – 7

Hojlund isn’t the only United player that thrived in Euro 2024 qualifying. The McTerminator scored seven goals for Scotland as they booked their place next summer’s tournament and at one point was challenging Europe’s elite at the top of the goalscoring charts.

Seven of McTominay’s eight international goals have been scored in 2023.

=8. Ayase Ueda – 7

The only Asian player that features in this list, Japanese forward Ueda is a player worth keeping an eye out for.

He scored 22 goals in 40 Belgian Pro League appearances for Cercle Brugge in his debut European campaign last term, earning a move to Eredivisie giants Feyenoord in the summer.

Ueda failed to notch in his first 12 appearances for the Samurai Blue but he’s exploded into life in 2023 with seven goals in seven games. He put Japan ahead in their 4-1 friendly victory over Germany in September and followed that up with a hat-trick against Myanmar and a brace against Syria in World Cup qualifying.

=6. Jesus Ferreira – 8

FC Dallas striker Ferreira has an exceptional goalscoring return for the United States with 15 goals in 23 appearances.

Seven of those goals were scored in the CONCACAF Gold Cup over the summer, with back-to-back hat-tricks in 6-0 maulings over St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago.

He scored his seventh in extra time of their semi-final against Panama, but missed his spot-kick in their penalty shootout defeat.

=6. Lionel Messi – 8

Having reached the pinnacle of his career with his talismanic role in Argentina’s 2022 World Cup triumph, Messi and his pals enjoyed a fine victory lap in 2023.

They won and kept clean sheets in all but one of their 10 internationals in 2023. They beat Brazil away in a World Cup qualifier for the first time in their history and have already practically wrapped up qualification for the next World Cup.

Argentina’s captain scored eight goals for good measure, with a pinpoint free-kick against Ecuador in September.

READ: Lionel Messi’s latest free-kick golazo has challenged our understanding of mathematics

=4. Patson Daka – 9

The top-scoring African footballer of 2023, Daka has scored nine goals in eight games for Zambia this calendar year – with two-goal hauls against Lesotho, Uganda and Congo.

Despite his red-hot form on the international stage, Daka has only played 366 minutes of football for Championship table-toppers Leicester City. Although he has managed to bag four goals in those limited minutes.

One to watch at AFCON 2023 in January. You don’t imagine Leicester will be too fussed about letting him go.

=4. Harry Kane – 9

The early frontrunner for the European Golden Shoe, Kane is on track to break all kinds of Bundesliga records in his debut season with Bayern Munich.

Fortunately for England, he’s been no less prolific at international level, with nine goals in 10 games since missing that penalty against France at the World Cup.

=2. Cristiano Ronaldo – 10

It wouldn’t be one of these lists without Ronaldo featuring somewhere.

The Al Nassr striker scored 15 fewer international goals than Messi in 2022, leading us to ask whether Ronaldo’s eternal rival might one day surpass his proud international record.

Despite turning 38 back in February, Ronaldo has silenced any doubts that he’ll hang up his boots as international football’s all-time greatest goalscorer, having extended his lead at the top of the charts with 10 goals in nine Euro 2024 qualifiers – taking his overall tally to 128.

=2. Kylian Mbappe – 10

Having ended 2022 by scoring a hat-trick in a World Cup final that he somehow lost, Mbappe has responded to that disappointment in the only way he knows – by scoring a mind-blowing number of goals. He scored 10 goals in 2023, nine of which were in qualifying for Euro 2024.

He’s now up to third in France’s all-time top scorer list, 10 behind Olivier Giroud. Not bad for a 25-year-old.

Mbappe capped off his 2023 by scoring three and assisting three in a cold-blooded 14-0 thrashing of Gibraltar.

1. Romelu Lukaku – 15

Lukaku’s club career might invite some debate over where he stacks up against his contemporaries of the modern era, but there’s no quibbling with his international record.

The Roma striker scored 14 goals, setting a new record, as Belgium cruised to Euro 2024 qualification. He’s still just 30 years old and has notched 83 goals in 113 caps for his country – only Ronaldo has scored more for a European nation.

He underlined how lethal he is on his day by scoring four goals before half-time(!) in a 5-0 drubbing of Azerbaijan.

READ NEXT: 9 of the best players to never win an international cap: Arteta, Di Canio, Bruce

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player to score 60+ international goals?