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Ronaldo the Most Prolific Goalscorer in Football History

Ronaldo the Most Prolific Goalscorer in Football History

Cristiano Ronaldo

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After notching his 760th senior goal to help Juventus defeat Napoli 2-0 in the Italian Supercup, Cristiano Ronaldo has been hailed as the most prolific professional goalscorer in football history.

The title of the highest goal scorer is widely disputed, and FIFA, the world governing body, does not keep an official record, but many media outlets have claimed that Ronaldo's strike had brought him to the top of the list, past Austro-Czech Josef Bican.

During their careers, Bican, as well as the Brazilian strikers Pele and Romario, scored more than 1,000 goals, although these figures include amateur, unofficial and friendly match strikes.

The career tally of Ronaldo includes goals for four top-flight clubs and Portugal, with Argentinian Lionel Messi, who scored a single club record 644th goal for Barcelona last month, becoming his nearest active competitor.

Ronaldo, 35, who is the country's top goal scorer with 102 goals, has previously played for Sporting Lisbon (five goals), Manchester United (118) and Real Madrid (450). For Juventus, he has scored 85 goals.

Former England striker Gary Lineker posted on Twitter, What an accomplishment,"The incredible @Cristiano has scored his 760th career goal tonight, overtaking Josef Bican as the highest goal scorer in the history of football. What an achievement,".

There is little debate over Ronaldo's own tally, with five goals for Sporting Lisbon, 118 for Manchester United, 450 for Real Madrid, 85 for Juventus and 102 for Portugal.

But confusion stems from  his competitors from previous eras, with the likes of Brazilian duo Pele and Romario both claiming to have netted more than 1,000 goals.

Last month, Barcelona's Messi surpassed Pele's recognized 643 goals for a single club, but Santos quickly countered saying that they racked up 1,091 goals for the three-time World Cup winner, including those in friendships.

Pele's own Instagram bio notes he is the "Leading Goal Scorer of All Time (1,283)."

However, if the measuring stick is just official matches, the Brazilian is apparently still behind Josef Bican, who was calculated by football historians to score 805 goals for half a dozen clubs between 1931 and 1955, as well as Austria and Czechoslovakia.

"'Pepi', as he was known, is credited with scoring 805 goals in 530 games, giving him a career average of 1.52 goals per game," said in an article last year devoted to him.

However, 27 goals for Rapid Vienna's reserve and amateur teams, in addition to some that were scored outside of official international matches, are included in that total.

Discounting those strikes places Bican on 759 goals from only 495 games, although the RSSSF (Rec Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation) international football research website says the data is partly lacking in the Czech second division from the 1952 season.

What is clear is that even if Ronaldo did not break the all-time record, for a player who continues to score at a phenomenal pace as he reaches his 36th birthday, the mark appears well within reach.

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