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Cristiano Ronaldo moves up to fourth in highest all-time goalscorers in Top 5 European leagues

Rohith Nair
59.33K   //    14 Sep 2015, 10:24 IST
all time highest goalscorers europe Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo moved up to fourth in the all-time highest goalscorers in Europe 

When Cristiano Ronaldo scored five goals in Real Madrid’s 6-0 thrashing of Espanyol on Saturday, he created more than just club history. The Portuguese forward not only moved into the top five of the list of all-time goalscorers in Europe’s top five leagues, he also moved up to fourth.

Ronaldo finally broke his goalscoring drought and, in the process, overhauled Raul’s record for most goals for a Real Madrid player in La Liga. In doing so, he also went straight up to the top of the table in the La Liga Golden Boot race (the Pichichi Trophy). 

The three-time Ballon D’Or winner is slowly catching up with European football legends, albeit from different eras in the 19th and 20th century. As things stand, he is 52 goals away from becoming the best goalscorer in European leagues’ history! Not an impossible record considering he has averaged 40 league goals a season in his past five seasons with Real Madrid.

Jimmy Greaves currently leads the all-time top goalscorers list with 366 goals – an overwhelming majority of which came in the English first division. He had even spent a season in the Serie A with AC Milan. He spent four seasons with Chelsea and nine seasons with Tottenham Hotspur, scoring 124 and 220 league goals respectively.

A career that began in 1957, Greaves played for 16 seasons and ended his career at West Ham. He has also played for England and scored 44 international goals. Greaves had suffered a stroke in May this year and funds were raised for his treatment, with Tottenham and the FA making contributions, according to The Guardian.

Jimmy Greaves
Jimmy Greaves’ best season was 1968/69 when he scored 42 goals in the league for Tottenham Hotspur

Gerhard Muller, more popularly known as Gerd Muller, is second in the list with 365 goals – all scored in the Bundesliga. The Germany international played 15 seasons at Bayern Munich and had a 10-year spell where he never scored less than 22 league goals in a season.

He won four Bundesliga titles with Bayern and was part of the squad that won three European Cups in a row between 1974 and 1976. Muller was also Germany’s all-time top goalscorer in international matches (68 goals in 62 matches) until Miroslav Klose broke his record. But Klose played more than twice the number of games (71 in 137) to beat his mark. 

Gerd Muller
Gerd Muller (R)

English forward Steve Bloomer is third on the list with 317 goals and it’s only a matter of time (maybe even the very next match) before Ronaldo surpasses him. Bloomer played for both Derby County (in two different spells) and Middlesbrough in 23 long seasons.

Although he scored a total of 352 league goals, 38 of those came in the second division when Derby County were looking to gain promotion, which they did thanks to his exploits. He wasn't just a footballer – he played both baseball and cricket. He was a three-time champion with Derby County Baseball Club too! There is even a bust of Bloomer in the dugout of Derby’s football ground (iPro Stadium).

Steve Bloomer
Bust of Steve Bloomer in the dugout

Other notable names include Dixie Dean (who scored 310 league goals for Everton in the first division), Delio Onnis (Ligue 1’s all-time highest goalscorer with 299 goals) and Gordon Hodgson (a Liverpool legend who scored 241 league goals for the club and 287 in his club career).

Alan Shearer (the EPL’s all-time highest goalscorer is ninth on the list with 283 goals having played for Southampton, Blackburn rovers and Newcastle United. Silvio Piola, one of Italy’s greatest players, completes the top 10 with 274 goals with Pro Vercelli, Lazio, Juventus and Novara in the Serie A.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is currently eighth but can reach the top five this season

Among the active players, only one other name stands out – Barcelona forward Lionel Messi. The Argentine forward also broke his goalscoring drought over the weekend when Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon.

While he started his senior career two seasons after Ronaldo did, he is currently 28 goals behind his arch-rival in the individual awards race. Judging by his past records and goalscoring average, it’s only a matter of time before both Messi and Ronaldo are the top two names on the list.

1Jimmy GreavesEngland 357 9 366
2Gerd MullerGermany  365  365
3Steve BloomerEngland 317   317
4Cristiano RonaldoPortugal23084   314
5Dixie DeanEngland 310   310
6Delio OnnisArgentina    299299
7Gordon HodgsonEngland 287   287
8Lionel MessiArgentina286    286
9Alan ShearerEngland 283   283
10Silvio PiolaItaly   274 274

Stats updated as of 14 September 2015

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