Lewis Ambrose·8 February 2023
Lewis Ambrose·8 February 2023
Let’s step away from football just for a second before we get back to it. A record nobody thought could be touched fell on Tuesday night as LeBron James made it to 38,390 regular season NBA points, toppling previous record holder Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Now, the NBA is different to what we’re used to in football. There’s just one major league and that’s it. No rival leagues from other nations, no cup competitions, and it’s not so easy to just crown one scorer of points, or in our case goals, to rule them all.
But who do hold football’s goal records in a way that means they can at least hold a candle to the greatest point scorer in NBA history?
🎯 The #WorldCup's all-time leading scorer 🔝 🇩🇪 Happy birthday, Miroslav Klose 🥳 #HBD | @DFB_Team_EN
If the World Cup is the greatest tournament on the planet, it’s the only place to start, with Germany’s Miroslav Klose’s 16 World Cup finals goals more than any other player in history.
A player with more LeBron-esque gravitas, Kylian Mbappé, will be eyeing that record, though. He sits on 12 World Cup goals and will only be 27 by the time the next tournament comes around.
Still, World Cups are too rare for this to be a real equivalent. Let’s look at the club game instead …
Nobody has as many as Cristiano Ronaldo’s 141 goals in the Champions League, with Lionel Messi sitting in second place on 125. Messi, of course, still plays in the competition but it seems unlikely the 35-year-old will catch Ronaldo now.
But LeBron technically managed his record in a more regular league-style format, so …
Alan Shearer’s record of 260 Premier League goals has stood the test of time but is now within range for Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who cracked the 200 mark at the weekend.
If we look beyond the Premier League era, Jimmy Greaves’ tally of 357 goals in English top flight history looks utterly unassailable.
Interestingly, Shearer won just one league title, Kane has not won one, and Greaves’ only league title came outside of England, during his short stint at Milan … and even they won the league without him after he left soon after arriving, playing just 10 times (scoring nine, naturally) in Serie A.
Having spent so much of his career at Barcelona, it’s no surprise Lionel Messi has more goals in LaLiga than any other player in history. His 474 strikes in the competition came in 520 appearances and is the highest tally in any single competition we’ve focused on here.
You have to go back to the 1930s, 40s and 50s to find Serie A’s all-time top scorer. Silvio Piola netted 274 goals across 21 Serie A seasons with four different clubs.
Francesco Totti came close before retiring on 250 but it is unlikely anyone will ever reach Piola’s heights.
Bayern Munich icon Gerd Müller scored 365 Bundesliga goals, netting more than a goal a game in four of his 14 seasons in the German top flight and claiming the league’s top scorer award in seven separate campaigns.
2️⃣2️⃣3️⃣ Delio Onnis 1️⃣1️⃣5️⃣ Lucien Cossou 8️⃣9️⃣ @WissBenYedder, Christian Dalger History 🙌 https://t.co/yx7mzSEyZA
Italian-born Delio Onnis never won a single international cap but his 299 Ligue 1 goals stands above anyone else in history.
And he spent a season in Ligue 2 during his peak. Onnis played for Reims, Monaco (where he scored 157 goals in 200 top flight appearances), Tours and Toulon and won just one French top flight title