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Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar: Ranking 5 active players with most goal contributions for national team at age 30 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar have had long careers for their countries
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar have had long careers for their countries
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Sulayman Salahudeen

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have rewritten the record books in international football over many years. Usually, players begin to play for their national teams only after they have established themselves as top stars at club level. Sometimes, this takes a number of years of top-level performance. Ronaldo and Messi began to play regularly for their countries when they were teenagers.

For context, AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud has moved to within four goals of the all-time goalscoring record for France held by Thierry Henry. The former Arsenal and Chelsea striker was a late bloomer who only made his debut for France at the age of 25, and scored his first goal a year later.

This example goes to prove that many players do not become regulars for their countries until their later years. A number of players, however, managed to start out very early with their national teams and this enabled them to get impressive records in their international careers.

Without further ado, here is a list of five active players who have been involved in the most goals at international level by the age of 30.


#5 Luis Suarez (71 goal contributions)

Uruguay v England: Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
Uruguay v England: Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Atletico Madrid star Luis Suarez made his international debut for Uruguay in February 2007, a mere month after his 20th birthday. The two-time European Golden Boot winner has been a regular for Uruguay ever since and is in his 15th year as a full-fledged international.

At 30 years of age, Suarez had been involved in 71 goals for Uruguay. He had 49 goals and 22 assists for his side at 30 years of age and had managed to score in two World Cups and a Copa America. He was named MVP as Uruguay won the 2011 Copa America in Argentina.

Suarez is one of the most iconic strikers to emerge from South America in recent years. The former FC Barcelona and Liverpool man is Uruguay's record scorer. The 35-year-old recently led Uruguay to a fourth consecutive FIFA World Cup finals.


#4 Cristiano Ronaldo (74 goal contributions)

Uruguay v Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the 2018 World Cup
Uruguay v Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the 2018 World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest goalscorer in international football history. He is also the greatest goalscorer in football history. He made his debut for Portugal in 2003 after he moved to Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon. Ronaldo has been a regular for his country ever since he was a teenager.

At 30, Ronaldo had contributed directly to 74 goals for Portugal after 12 years as an international. He had 55 goals and 19 assists and had appeared in six major tournaments for his country. Ronaldo scored his first international goal in the group stage of Euro 2004 against Greece when he was only 19.

Ronaldo has become a modern-day icon in his native Portugal. He captained his country to glory at Euro 2016 and the UEFA Nations League in 2019, their first and second titles ever. Ronaldo is synonymous with high-level success in football due to his efforts over the years.


#3 Romelu Lukaku (81 goal contributions)

Belgium v Wales - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Belgium v Wales - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku became a professional footballer at the age of 16. Before his 17th birthday, he had won the golden boot in the Belgian League playing for Anderlecht. He made his senior debut in 2010 before his 17th birthday and has been a regular ever since.

The striker is still 28 years old and has contributed directly to 81 goals for the Red Devils. He has scored 68 goals and made 13 assists for Belgium since making his international bow. He has featured for Belgium in four major tournaments in his career so far.

@benz17711771 Lukaku the all time leading scorer for Belgium? The man with 68 goals in 101 games. One of the most prolific CF’s in international football 😭

Lukaku is Belgium's all-time leading goalscorer and has scored 20 goals in his last 20 appearances for his country. He was the third-highest goalscorer at the 2018 World Cup as Belgium finished in third place.


#2 Lionel Messi (95 goal contributions)

Mexico v Argentina: Lionel Messi in action for Argentina
Mexico v Argentina: Lionel Messi in action for Argentina

Lionel Messi began to turn heads in his teenage years and made his professional debut in 2004. He became a full Argentine international in 2005 after leading the U-20 team to World Cup glory months earlier. Messi was only 18 years old when he made his debut for Argentina.

Messi had contributed to 95 goals for Argentina by the time he turned 30. He had 61 goals and 34 assists for his country after 12 years as a full international. Messi had played in six major tournaments for Argentina by the time he was 30.

Messi is presently Argentina's all-time leading goalscorer and the record goalscorer in South American history. His tally of 81 goals for Argentina has not been bettered by any player in history for any South American nation. Messi captained Argentina to glory in the 2021 Copa America, their first major title since 1993.


#1 Neymar (120 goal contributions)

Brazil v Peru - Copa America Brazil 2021: Semifinal
Brazil v Peru - Copa America Brazil 2021: Semifinal

Neymar is one of the most underrated players in the history of international football for Brazil. Like Messi and Ronaldo, the PSG forward has been a star for his country since he was 18 years old. Neymar became a full international in 2010 after establishing himself as a star in Brazil. The forward scored on his debut for Brazil in August 2010.

The 30-year-old forward has had a hand in 120 goals for Brazil since making his debut as a teenager. He has contributed 71 goals and 49 assists for the Seleçao since 2010. Neymar has featured in six major tournaments for Brazil in his career so far.

12 - Brazil have won all 12 games in the WCQ in which Neymar have scored. Leader. https://t.co/uAjdqhdzdx

Neymar has scored the second-highest number of goals in Brazil's history and is only six goals away from equalling Pele's record haul of 77 goals. He has helped Brazil qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a spotless record.


Edited by Nived Zenith
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