Goalscoring aficionados like Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski are world-class strikers who are quite capable of putting the ball into the back of the net with magical consistency. Their goalscoring ethic has singlehandedly pushed their respective clubs into the finals of major competitions in world football. There are times when these strikers seem virtually unstoppable.
However, many of these brilliant goalscorers can barely mark their names on a particular football statistic: the goal-to-game ratio. This statistic boils all the goalscoring down to one single calculation: how many goals on average has a player scored per game throughout the course of their career?
After Lionel Messi's sublime debut goal for Paris Saint-Germain against Manchester City in their previous Champions League outing, his goalscoring tally comes to 718 goals in 889 games for both club and country. This amazing achievement is one of the best ever in modern football, only shadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo's 771 goals in 1030 games for both club and country.
As brilliant as Messi's achievements are, his goal-to-game ratio is 0.8 goals per game. This doesn't come close to some of the best goal-to-game ratios in the history of football. Ronaldo's ratio is only slightly lower than Messi's (0.75 goals per game). Though the two sportsmen are the best goalscorers we've seen this century, they can hardly compete with some players in history who averaged over a goal per game.
So, who are these players with the best ever goal-to-game ratio in football history? Let's take a look at the top ten, starting with Eusebio, whose 0.9 goals per game only just beat Messi's by a 0.1 difference.
#10 Eusebio: 0.9 goals per game | Benfica, Portugal
Long before Cristiano Ronaldo's appearance in world football, Portugal had a world-class goalscorer in the prolific and enigmatic Eusebio. Given the nickname "Black Panther," he was notable for his skillful style of play, athletic quickness, and pace. But what took Portugal - and the rest of Europe - by storm was Eusebio's capacity to score goals.
The legend scored 41 goals for Portugal in just 64 games and was key in pushing Portugal to a third-placed World Cup finish in 1966. His club record, however, is beyond sublime: 473 goals in 440 games in the 15 seasons he spent playing at Benfica.
If he had finished his career at Benfica, Eusebio would have picked up well over 1 goal per game. However, the legendary Portuguese star eventually left and played for seven more clubs and his goalscoring capacity also reduced with age.
#9 Pele: 0.91 goals per game | Santos, Brazil
Much controversy lies around exactly how many goals Pele has scored, as well as how many games he's played in. Often reported to have 1281 goals in 1363 games, these numbers include unofficial games as well.
According to the Rec Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation, the Brazilian legend officially scored 775 goals in 840 official club games. Adding to his stats for Brazil, Pele has an official 852 goals in 932 games for both club and country.
Known for his exceptional style of play and clinical accuracy in front of goal, Pele is seen as one of the greatest football players in the history of the sport. He singlehandedly drove Brazil to two back-to-back World Cup wins, and a third win later in his career. With numerous individual and team accolades to his name, it's no surprise that Pele is on this list.
#8 Gerd Muller: 0.92 goals per game | Bayern, West Germany
Starting his career with TSV 1861 Nordlingen, Gerd Muller joined Bayern Munich in 1964 and quickly catapulted them to the top German league within a season. He scored a brilliant 39 goals in his maiden campaign.
Once the Bavarian giants were in the Bundesliga, Muller quickly became their best player, powering the side to the league title only three seasons after their promotion. Before long, Muller's goalscoring had driven Bayern to win the European Cup three times in a row.
The legend's goalscoring capacity was massive for Bayern Munich, registering 563 goals in the 605 games he played for the club. His goalscoring stats for his country were even better, with the star picking up 68 goals in 62 games with a World Cup title to boot. Overall, Gerd Muller had a grand total of 772 goals in just 778 games.
#7 Ferenc Puskas: 0.99 goals per game | Real Madrid, Hungary
Regarded as one of the best players in the history of the sport, Puskas was the Hungarian goalscoring machine that took Europe by storm in the 40s, 50s, and even 60s. The star dedicated 13 years to playing in his home country, where he won the league five times and recorded a brilliant 383 goals in 367 games.
Moving to Real Madrid at the age of 31, the Hungarian barely slowed in front of goal. His influence at the Santiago Bernabeu in fact made him a legend for Los Blancos.
While in Spain, Puskas scored 242 goals in 262 games. He enjoyed an eight-year stint with Madrid, where the side won 10 trophies including five back-to-back La Liga titles. Adding to his country's stats, the star pulled off an unbelievable total of 709 goals in just 714 games.
#6 Jimmy McGrory: 1.009 goals per game | Celtic, Scotland
The Human Torpedo, nicknamed for his powerful horizontal headers, is the greatest goalscorer in the history of Scottish football. Barely 1.7 meters tall, with an inhumane eye for goal, Jimmy McGrory was the epitome of deadliness in the 18-yard-box.
During his 15-year-stint at Celtic - including a loan season at Clydebank - the legendary striker scored 538 goals in just 534 games, picking up over 15 trophies with the club.
While his goalscoring at Celtic was massive and record-breaking, McGrory only made six appearances for Scotland and scored seven goals. The star was overlooked, underplayed, and eventually ignored by the national team throughout his career. Adding to his country and club tally, McGrory scored a mind-boggling 545 goals in 540 games, cementing his place as one of the best goalscorers in football history.
#5 Bernabe Ferreyra: 1.04 goals per game | River Plate, Argentina
Known for his accurate, fearsome, and powerful shots, La Fiera is the only player in Argentina's history to have more goals than matches. Barnabe Ferreyra notably played for only 12 seasons, spending his entire career in Argentina.
He was highly influential during that stint, and eventually retired at age 29. After spending three years at Tigre, the Argentine legend made the switch to River Plate for a then-world record fee of £23,000.
While his five seasons at Tigre saw the star score 45 league goals in only 43 games, it was his River Plate career that took Argentina by storm. Out of the 206 goals in 197 games he scored in his career, 187 goals were for River Plate, where he spent seven years and played 185 games. While he seriously disappointed while representing Argentina in international games, he remains the best goalscorer in the Albiceleste's history.
#4 Imre Schlosser: 1.24 goals per game | Ferencvarosi, Hungary
Making his debut just four days before his 17th birthday, Imre Schlosser went on to score a mind-boggling 258 goals in 155 league appearances for Ferencvarosi. He turned out for the club for 11 seasons.
After that, the Hungarian legend transferred to three other clubs, eventually coming back to Ferencvarosi. Schlosser scored a total of 417 goals in 320 league appearances throughout his career.
Although his league stats are accurate, cup competitions and other continental competitions have disputable stats. However, RSSSF have set Schlosser's numbers at 569 goals in 458 appearances overall. His entire 23-year career saw the legend win a total of 13 Hungarian League trophies with two different clubs.
#3 Franz Binder: 1.32 goals per game | Rapid Wien, Austria
Bimbo was, without a doubt, the most prolific goalscorer in Austria's history. Franz Binder dedicated his 18-year career to Rapid Wien and played 242 league games while scoring a shocking 267 goals. His total official numbers are currently disputed, as Binder claimed to have scored over 1000 goals in just 756 games. However, these numbers include unofficial games.
The RSSSF put his official numbers at 569 goals in 430 games, although it is believed that Binder scored more than this. Internationally, the star represented both Austria and Germany respectively, scoring 26 goals in just 28 games. Franz Binder notably won eight trophies during his career, including four Austrian Football Bundesliga titles.
#2 Josef Bican: 1.52 goals per game | Slavia Prague, Austria-Czechoslovakia
Regarded as the most prolific goalscorer of the 20th century, Josef Bican's recorded goals and games are currently under dispute. While the RSSSF sets his goalscoring stats at a mind-numbing 948 goals from 621 matches, FIFA recognizes only 805 goals. Irrespective, the numbers are quite insane, and another player may never achieve these levels of clinical goalscoring again.
Although Bican played for 9 clubs through the course of his career, his most notable period were the 11 years he spent at Slavia Prague. The star managed an absurd 427 goals in only 221 league games for Slavia, averaging a shocking 1.9 goals per game in the league.
#1 Fernando Peyroteo: 1.58 goals per game | Sporting, Portugal
544 goals in 334 games for Sporting saw the Portuguese legend Fernando Peyroteo cement his place as the most prolific and consistent goalscorer of all time. His 15 goals in 20 international games for Portugal are also great, but they can hardly compare to the massive goalscoring ethic Peyroteo had in his 11 years at Sporting. Although he scored 43 goals during his last season at the club, the legendary striker - aged 31 - decided it was time to hang up his boots.
The star powered Sporting to 11 major titles, achieving a brilliant average of one title per year. But it is Peyroteo's epic goalscoring average of 1.58 goals per game that raised the star to legendary status with the club. Just slightly higher than Josef Bican's record, Peyroteo's spree might never be accomplished by another player in football again.