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Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar: Top 10 players with the most goals and assists in international football in the 21st century

Luis Suarez (left), Lionel Messi (center) and Neymar Jr. (right)
Luis Suarez (left), Lionel Messi (center) and Neymar Jr. (right)

The number of goals and assists a player has racked up is a good measure of how directly he affects the outcome of a game. Players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar have stacked up such ridiculous numbers in their careers that our perspectives have become a bit skewed.

Ronaldo and Messi are two of the greatest goalscorers of all time. They are also dynamic forwards whose playmaking skills are also quite extraordinary. Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar have also been extremely successful on the international circuit.

Ronaldo is the greatest international goalscorer in men's football and Messi and Neymar are not too far behind him. Without further ado, let's take a look at the top 10 players with the most goals and assists in international football in the 21st century.


#10 Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) - 78 (65 Goals, 13 Assists)

Belgium v France – UEFA Nations League 2021 Semi-final
Belgium v France – UEFA Nations League 2021 Semi-final

Romelu Lukaku has been a beast in attack for Belgium's golden generation. He has consistently produced the goods for his star-studded national team and continues to do so.

Lukaku's form at club level may have fluctuated but he has maintained high standards in international football. The 29-year-old has scored 65 goals and provided 13 assists in his international career so far.

#9 Alexis Sanchez (Chile) - 79 (48 Goals, 31 Assists)

Peru v Chile - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Peru v Chile - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

At the peak of his powers, Alexis Sanchez was one of the most lethal attackers of his generation. His fleet-footedness, agility and technical ability made him a nightmare to defend against. Sanchez played some of his best football during his Barcelona and Arsenal stints.

Sanchez has scored 48 goals and provided 31 assists in his international career so far.

#8 Edin Dzeko (Bosnia & Herzegovina) - 82 (61 Goals, 21 Assists)

Montenegro v Bosnia and Herzegovina: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 3
Montenegro v Bosnia and Herzegovina: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 3

Edin Dzeko is one of the most underrated strikers of his generation. The Inter Milan marksman is 36 years old but is still going strong. He has won the 'Bosnian Footballer of the Year' award three successive times in his career.

Dzeko has been quite prolific for his national team. He has scored 6 goals and provided 21 assists in his international career so far.

#7 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) - 85 (62 Goals, 23 Assists)

Poland v Sweden: Knockout Round Play-Offs - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Poland v Sweden: Knockout Round Play-Offs - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the greatest strikers of the modern era. The tall Swede is one of the most dynamic forwards we have seen in recent times. Ibrahimovic is now 40 but won the Serie A title with AC Milan in the 2021-22 season.

He is an unbelievable footballer and has been phenomenal for Sweden in international football. Ibrahimovic has scored 62 goals and provided 23 assists for his national team.

#6 Luis Suarez (Uruguay) - 96 (67 goals, 29 assists)

Uruguay v Peru - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier
Uruguay v Peru - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier

Uruguay international Luis Suarez has had an illustrious career. He won the European Golden Shoe twice in the last decade and is widely regarded as one of the best centre-forwards of the 21st century.

Suarez, who recently led Uruguay to World Cup qualification, has scored 67 goals and provided 29 assists in his international career.

#5 Miroslav Klose (Germany) - 101 (71 Goals, 30 Assists)

Brazil v Germany: Semi Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
Brazil v Germany: Semi Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Miroslav Klose had a legendary career on the international front. The retired German striker consistently came up clutch for Die Mannschaft in his 13-year long international career.

He is the leading goalscorer in World Cups with 16 goals to his name across four editions of the quadrennial competition. Klose scored 71 goals and provided 30 assists for Germany in his international career.

#4 Robert Lewandowski (Poland) - 102 (76 Goals, 26 Assists)

Poland v Wales: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 4
Poland v Wales: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 4

Robert Lewandowski is currently the most prolific goalscorer in Europe's top five leagues. The Bayern Munich striker has played some of the best football of his career in recent seasons.

Lewandowski has been a cut above the rest of his national teammates throughout his career. He has been a standout performer for Poland in recent years. The 33-year-old has scored 76 goals and provided 26 assists for Poland in international football.

#3 Neymar Jr. (Brazil) - 126 (74 Goals, 52 Assists)

Japan v Brazil - International Friendly
Japan v Brazil - International Friendly

Neymar Jr. is one of the most talented footballers we have seen in the 21st century. He is a joy to watch on the football pitch and is capable of producing moments of magic on a regular basis.

Neymar is one of the most innovative forwards of the modern era. He has been absolutely phenomenal for Brazil and is now close to beating Pele's goalscoring record for Brazil (77). Neymar has scored 74 goals and provided 52 assists for the Brazilian national team so far in his career.

#2 Lionel Messi (Argentina) - 135 (86 Goals, 49 Assists)

Lionel Messi in action for Argentina against Estonia - International Friendly
Lionel Messi in action for Argentina against Estonia - International Friendly

Lionel Messi scored five goals for Argentina in a recent international friendly against Estonia. Messi is currently fourth on the list of leading goalscorers in men's international football.

Messi has scored 86 goals and provided 49 assists in his international career for La Albiceleste. The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner won the Copa America with Argentina last summer. Messi also picked up the Golden Boot and the 'Best Player' award at the tournament.

On this day in 2006, Lionel Messi scores and assists in his first World Cup match for Argentina. Here are the highlights! 🇦🇷https://t.co/CLVa49Uqs0

#1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) - 158 (117 Goals, 41 Assists)

Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Portugal against Switzerland: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 2
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Portugal against Switzerland: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 2

Cristiano Ronaldo is the leading goalscorer in men's international football. He is one of the greatest footballers of all time and is still going strong at the age of 37. Ronaldo is known for his ability to turn in incredible performances when his teams need him most.

He has enjoyed an illustrious career at both club and international level. Ronaldo currently has 117 goals and 41 assists to his name in international football.

He has successfully led the Portuguese side to World Cup qualification this year. Ronaldo will be hoping to wrap his hands around the elusive World Cup trophy this time around.

Cristiano Ronaldo's last 14 games for Portugal: ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️Averaging a goal a game 😎 https://t.co/BT0CnBU4FY

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Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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