Highest goal scorers in each position

We’ve searched high and low to find accurate statistics for individual players from every position including strikers, midfielders, defenders & even goalkeepers to bring you the ultimate list of the highest scoring footballers from each position of all time!

Goalkeeper

Rogério Ceni - highest scoring goalkeeper of all time image. Taken by Ricardo Stuckert/PR (Agência Brasil)

Ceni pictured on the left, image credits to Agência Brasil.

Rogério Ceni career spanned 25 years and he was featured in 1257 football matches all for São Paulo, he won 20 titles and despite these huge feats these are not what he is remembered for. He is instead remembered for his incredibly tally of 131 goals which he scored while playing as a goalkeeper! His record of 131 goals is almost double that of the next highest goal scoring keeper who is José Luis Chilavert who scored a whopping 67 goals.

During his time playing Ceni even scored a hat-trick becoming the first keeper to ever so and even played in the world cup winning squad of Brazil in 2002. His most prolific season featured a goal tally of 21 in all competitions, including 10 in the national Brazilian league. Ceni retired in 2015 but not before breaking one final record in which he scored his 60th free kick becoming the #1 scorer for the number of free kicks scored by a single player while remaining at the same club. He has scored 65 in the Serie A, 4 in the Copa do Brasil, 18 in continental competitions, 42 in other football competitions and 2 in friendlies which gave him his total of 131 goals, a record that is unlikely to ever be beaten.

 

Defenders

Right Back – Graham Alexander is a little known to those who follow the top flight of English & Scottish football, but he is famous among the followers of the lower leagues & the Scottish national team and even played in the English Premier League for one season in 2009-10 with newly promoted Burnley. He is currently employed as manager for Scunthorpe United, the team where he spent the majority of his youth and early playing career. Alexander scored a total of 107 goals from the right back position across 24 years of playing in the professional football leagues, he was only the second outfield player to achieve 1000 appearances in England and has the 4th highest appearances overall in England’s top leagues. His most prolific campaign featured a total of 11 goals in the 2008-9 season with burnley which helped them reach the Premier League where he scored 8!

Central Defence – The first of our central defence is Dutchman Ronald Koeman who played for some of Europes great teams including Ajax and PSV in the 80s and Barcelona in the 90s and featured for the Netherlands national team for 11 years in which he played 78 times and scored 14. He clocked up a total of 421 appearances for clubs based in the Netherlands in which he scored 151 times and had a further 264 appearances for Barcelona in Spain in which he scored 88 times bringing his impressive goal record to 239! In Barcelona he was part of the “dream team” of Johan Cruyff and featured alongside footballing greats like Hristo Stoichkov, Romário, Pep Guardiola and Michael Laudrup. While at Barcelona he won the La Liga four years in a row between 1991 and 1994 and helped Barcelona win their first ever European Cup being the only goal scorer in the football fixture!

Ronald Koeman Photograph while playing for the Netherlands, 1990. Image courtesy of Inside Football

Ronald Koeman pictured far right while playing for the Netherlands in 1990, image courtesy of Inside Football.

Central Defence – The other central defender Daniel Passarella, before Ronald Koeman he was the top scoring defender of all time and his goal scoring record is still very impressive in the present day. He is currently the second highest scoring defender and has scored 162 goals across all competitions. He spent the majority of his career at Argentina where he played 298 games in the Primera Division with River Plate and scored a total of 103 goals with 99 of them being in the league. After River Plate he moved to Italy and featured for Fiorentina & Inter Milan (Internazionale) where he scored 50 times in 212 appearances while at the two clubs, he then finished his career back at River Plate where he scored 9 times in 32 games for the his final season. Passarella won two world cups with Argentina in 1978 & 1986 where he captained both teams

Left back – The final defender in our list is Roberto Carlos who is often regarded as “the most offensive-minded left back in the history of the game”. Roberto Carlos made a total of 820 appearances as a professional footballer and scored 102 times including his famous “banana” free kick where the ball curved twice in separate directions in a France vs. Brazil game as part of the World Cup preparations in 1997. Roberto Carlos’ playing career spanned 5 countries including Brazil, Italy, Turkey & Russia but his most well-known spell was with Real Madrid in Spain

Roberto Carlos photographed while playing for Brazil in 2006. Image was taken by Florian K and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Roberto Carlos playing for Brazil in 2006, image taken by Florian K.

Midfielders

Right Midfield – Frank Lampard is the first of the midfield three to feature on the list and scored a total of 274 goals across 913 appearances. The majority of Lampards professional football career was spent at Chelsea whom he played for from 2001 all the way to 2014 and became Chelseas all-time top scorer with 211 goals in 648 games including 5 seasons in a row where he scored 20 or more goals between 2005 and 2010 with his highest goal tally being 27 a very high number considering he was a midfielder. Alongside Chelsea he also featured for 6 seasons for West Ham United where he began his playing career, had a brief loan move to Swansea and Manchester City & finished his career in the USA playing for New York City in which he scored 12 in 21 games a very respectable goal scoring record to end his career on. Along with his fantastic goal scoring record for all the clubs he was a part of he was very prolific for the England national team in which he featured 106 times scoring 29. While at Chelsea he won 3 Premier League trophies, 4 FA Cups, 2 Football League Cups, 2 Community Shields, an UEFA Champions League and an UEFA Europa League and was second place in the Ballon d’Or for 2005.

Central Midfield – Lothar Matthaus is the most capped German player of all time in which he played 150 times including 83 for West Germany before the unification which combined the two football teams in which he scored 23 goals.

Photograph of Lothar Matthaus winning the golden ball trophy for 1990, Unknown author, public domain image free from copyright

Lothar Matthaus winning the 1990 golden ball trophy.

His club playing career started at Borussia Mönchengladbach where he played 162 games and scored 36 goals. He is however most well-known for his two spells at Bayern Munich in 1984 to 1988 and then again from 1992 to 2000 in which he played 302 times in total scoring 85 times.  Between his time at Bayern he played for 4 years at Inter Milan where he played 114 times and scored 40 goals, in total he played 784 for national clubs and scored 204 times. Matthaus’ accomplishments as a player include 7 Bundesliga, a Serie A trophy, 2 UEFA Cups, a European Championship in 1980 & a FIFA World Cup in 1990.

Left Midfield – John Wark is the final midfielder on the list who played from 1975 to 1997 for a variety of clubs including 3 separate times at Ipswich Town, once for Liverpool and once for Middlesbrough. In total Wark played a total of 796 games in which he scored 223 times, he also played 29 international fixtures for Scotland between 1979 and 1984 where he scored 7 times. His impressive career features a long list of silverware including the FA Cup & UEFA Cup with Ipswich along with 2 time runner up trophy for the Football League First Division Trophy which at the top was the highest football league in England & runners up in the Charity Shield. While at Liverpool he won, 2 Football League First Division trophies along with runners up in the Charity Shield, Intercontinental Cup, European Super Cup, European Cup, Football League Cup and twice runners up of the Football League First Division trophy while at Liverpool. Wark later returned to Ipswich town and helped them win the second division which regained them entry back into the first division of English football.

Strikers

 

Forward – Romário is the first of the forwards and is regarded as the highest goal scorer of all time with a very impressive goal tally of 679 across all national football competitions in a total of 886 appearances. His career began in Serie A in Brazil with Vasco da Gama and later moved onto PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie where he quickly made a name for himself as being one of the brightest prospects in the world of football. From here he moved onto Barcelona & Valencia in the La Liga & Flamengo and Fluminense in the Serie A in Brazil becoming a journeyman rarely spending more than a season at a single club and being employed by football clubs in Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Qatar, Australia & the USA, regardless of where he went he always managed an impressive goal tally, although he did not win many cups, leagues & other football competitions during his playing life he did win the Copa América, FIFA World Cup & FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil where he played 70 times across 12 years and scored a total of 55 times an incredible rate of goal scoring!

Photograph of Romário at the announcement of Brazil hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photograph taken by Agencia Brasil a Public Brazilian news agency operating under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil License

Romário pictured on the right holding the world cup during announcement of Brazil hosting the 2014 tournament. Image by Agência Brasil.

Forward – Josef Bican is often regarded as the highest scoring football of all time and his official tally is a whopping 607 goals in 406 games while playing in the national football league of Austria which average out to be almost 1.5 goals per game. Due to him playing in the 1920s to 1950s it is hard to get accurate gold tallies for his full career and it is estimated that he could have scored as much as 1468 goals across all competitions however his official goal tally is likely to be around the 800 mark as reported by the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Bican was part of the “Wunderteam” of Austria during the 1930s and was the highest scorer in the whole of Europe in 5 different seasons. Bican was very different from the average striker at the time due to his ability to play with both feet and had a considerable pace of 100metres in 10.8 seconds which allowed him to outpace his opponents. He played for 3 different international countries which were Austria, Czechoslovakia and Bohemia/Moravia and scored a total of 34 goals in 45 international fixtures. During his career he played for a variety of clubs throughout modern day Austria & Czech Republic including Rapid Vienna, Slavia Prague & Admira Vienna who were some of the best clubs in Europe at the time and includes a Mitropa Cup win which was one of the first European football cups available for clubs to compete for

Forward – Pelé is the final player on our list and could easily be the most famous footballer of all time with him being known to even the youngest footballers growing up today along with those who followed football more than 5 decades ago! Pelé was the first international football celebrity being known all around the world for his un-parallel football skills and is still regarded as many to be the best footballer of all time. He was voted World Player of the Century by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics) and elected Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee, his exact goal tally is difficult to determine and sources cannot agree on a number but according to the IFFHS he scored 1281 goals in 1363 games which included unofficial friendlies and tour games, when you factor in his official appearances for Santos in Brazil & the New York Cosmos in the USA he has an impressive goal ratio of 650 goals in 694 games including 619 goals in 638 appearances for Santos across 18 seasons and 31 goals in 58 appearances across 2 seasons for New York Cosmos. Pelé was also a star player for Brazil winning 3 world cups in 1958, 1962 & 1970 and scored a total of 77 goals in 92 appearances for Brazil. Pelé has since put his fame to good use in humanitarian efforts back in his homeland of Brazil where he is outspoken in favour of social-economic policies that benefit the poor.

Photograph of Pelé playing in 1960 during a game where Brazil won 7-1. Author is AFP/SCANPIX and image is in the public domain

Pelé dribbling past a defender during Malmö-Brazil 1-7 in 1960. Author – AFP/SCANPIX.

We hope you enjoyed our run down of the all-time top scoring XI. While you’re here don’t forget to take a look at our real-time football livescores to get the latest football results live as the matches take place!

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