Numerous soccer greats have made permanent imprints on the sport’s annals. Of all the soccer records, the record for most international goals scored by a player is among the most sought-after. Not only does this accomplishment demonstrate extraordinary skill, but it also demonstrates great consistency and durability. Currently, the record is held by Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese forward famous for his incredible commitment to the sport and his ability to score goals.

But there has been a shift in the rankings after three years, however, and Ronaldo is under more pressure to maintain his record. This is especially true because Lionel Messi, the Argentine legend, continues to make history.

In Argentina’s 2-0 victory over Canada in the Copa America semifinal, Messi’s goal not only propelled his team to the final but also marked a significant personal achievement. By scoring his 109th international goal, Messi surpassed Iran’s Ali Daei to become the second-highest international goalscorer in history. He is now only behind his arch-rival, who has 130 goals.

Messi’s historic goal came at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. During the match, Canada struggled to clear a shot from Enzo Fernandez, and Messi capitalized by redirecting the ball into the net. Initially contested by the Canadian players for a potential offside, the VAR review confirmed that Messi was onside, thanks to Canada’s Cornelius, and the goal stood. This goal was Messi’s first in the 2024 Copa America and his 14th in the tournament overall.

Playing at the highest level at 37

The 37-year-old’s leadership on the pitch has been crucial for Argentina, especially after missing the previous match against Ecuador. His return to action against Canada not only lifted the team’s performance but also added to his illustrious career milestones.

To add to his feat, his international career has been nothing short of extraordinary. Since reversing his retirement decision in 2016, Messi has scored 54 goals in 73 international appearances, helping Argentina win both the 2021 Copa America and the 2022 World Cup. His ability to consistently perform at the highest level, even at 37, is a testament to his dedication and talent.

Argentina will face either Uruguay or Colombia in the Copa America final. Messi’s focus remains on leading his team to another title, further cementing Argentina’s status as a powerhouse in international soccer. After the Copa America, the superstar will return to MLS action with Inter Miami, continuing his storied career.

Could anyone break Ronaldo and Messi’s records in future?

As Messi continues to break records, the soccer world watches closely. The rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo, two of the greatest players in history, remains a captivating storyline. The 39-year-old, who recently played in Euro 2024, will be looking to add to his goal tally with Portugal when the next tournament comes around; as he prepares for the new Saudi Pro League season with Al-Nassr.

While Messi and Ronaldo have set incredibly high standards, the next generation of players is already emerging. Players like Kylian Mbappe of France, Vinicius of Brazil, and Erling Haaland of Norway have the potential to challenge these records in the future. However, surpassing the Portuguese’s record will require exceptional talent, consistency, and longevity.

Players with the most international goals all time

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 130 goals
  2. Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 109 goals
  3. Ali Daei (Iran) – 108 goals
  4. Sunil Chhetri (India) – 94 goals
  5. Mokhtar Dahari (Malaysia) – 89 goals
  6. Ali Mabkhout (UAE); Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) – 85 goals
  7. Ferenc Puskas (Hungary) – 84 goals
  8. Robert Lewandowski (Poland) – 83 goals
  9. Godfrey Chitalu (Zambia); Neymar (Brazil) – 79 goals
  10. Hussein Saeed (Iraq) – 78 goals