Now that Lionel Messi is past the 200 La Liga goals mark in his career before his 26th birthday, it’s safe to assume that at the current rate of scoring he might be the top scorer in the Spanish first division, All-Time, before the end of 2013. He’s the only one in Europe’s major leagues even close to the greatest scorers ever in each division.
Jimmy Greaves, England – 357 Goals
Greaves began his career with Chelsea, and after scoring 114 goals for their youth team, he moved on to the pros, scoring 124 league goals (than the first division) in 157 matches. After a very short stint with AC Milan (1961) which ended due to Greaves simply having trouble settelling in Italy (scored 9 goals in 12 matches), Tottenham purchased him for £99,999, always the cause of some debate: Done to help Greaves avoid the pressures of being the first £100,000 player or manager Bill Nicholson afraid to be the first manager to spend that sum?
Greaves played nine seasons with Spurs, scoring 220 league goals in 321 matches, winning two FA Cups. He was also part of the squad that won the 1966 World Cup, but never got to play in the final due to an injury.
Steve Bloomer (who played between 1892-1910) is next on the list with 317 goals. Among the top 10, Dixie Dean (3rd) has the best scoring ratio with 310 goals in 362 matches, 0.86. Frank Lampard, with 158 Premier League goals, is the top scorer among active players.
Jimmy McGrory, Scotland – James Edward “Jimmy” McGrory played for Celtic and just a bit for Clydebank (on loan) between 1922 and 1938, scoring 408 league goals in 408 matches, winning two league titles.
Telmo Zarra, Spain – 251 Goals
Telmo Zarraonandia Montoya played his football between 1939 and 1957, mostly remembered for his time with Athletic Bilbao between 1940 and 1955. He is still the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 333 goals in all competitions.
In the Primiera Disivson, Zarra only played for Bilbao, but began and ended his career with second division sides. He led Bilbao to the La Liga title in 1943 (winning the double that year) and the Copa Del Rey a total of five times. He won the Pichichi award six times and holds records for the most Copa Del Rey goals (81), most Pichichi trophies (6) and Most goals in a Copa del Rey Final with 4.
Behind him in the charts is Hugo Sanchez with 234 goals. Among today’s players, as mentioned before, Lionel Messi is the closest with 202 league goals.
Fernando Peyroteo, Portugal – Born in Angola, Fernando Baptista de Seixas Peyroteo de Vasconcelos played for only two clubs, Sporting and Belenenses, during his 13 year career (1937-1950), scoring an astonishing 330 goals in 197 matches, an incredible ratio of 1.68 per match. He won five league titles with Sporting, the finest member of the Five Violins along with Jesus Correia, Manuel Vasques, Albano and Travassos. Eusebio is second on the all-time list with 319 goals in 313 matches.
Silvio Piola, Italy – 274 Goals
Unlike most of Italy’s football giants, Piola earned most of his recognition (when it comes to club football) outside the big three, although he did play for Juventus later in his career. He began with Pro Vercelli before moving on to Lazio, where he spent nine seasons. He later played for Novara, Torino and Juventus.
Piola’s mostly known for his achievements with the national side, scoring 30 goals in 34 matches which would have been greater if not for the second World War and winning the 1938 World Cup.
Gunnar Nordahl scored 225 goals in 291 matches, putting him at second, but probably not for long. Francesco Totti, with 222 goals, is third, and will probably make it past that mark by the end of the season, scoring 7 goals in 19 matches so far this season.
Delio Onnis, France – The Italian born Argentinian arrived in France at Stade de Reims in 1971, scoring 39 goals on his two seasons with the club. He later moved on to Monaco for the prominent part of his career, scoring 147 goals in six seasons, not to mention 30 more while playing with them in the second division. He finished his career with Toulon, ending up scoring 299 goals in 449 matches, winning five top scorer awards. He’s followed by Bernard Lacombe, scoring 255 goals in 497 matches.
Gerd Müller, Germany – 365 Goals
No matter who rises and who falls, Gerd Müller will always be remembered as one of the most prolific goalscorers in European football, scoring an incredible 365 league goals in 427 Bundesliga matches (0.85 ratio) and a total of 655 goals in 709 matches when you include his short regional career tenure and his time in the NASL.
Müller played with Bayern for 15 years, winning four Bundesliga titles and three European Champions Cups. He was also a vital piece of the international German dominance in those days, winning Euro 1972 and the 1974 World Cup.
When you include all previous German leagues, including before the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963, Uwe Seeler with 444 goals in 519 matches for Hamburg in both the Bundesliga and the Oberliga is the greatest scorer of all-time. Claudio Pizzaro of Bayern Munich is the top active scorer with 160 goals.
Willy van der Kuijlen, Netherlands – The PSV legend spent almost his entire career with Eindhoven, scoring 308 goals for the club between 1964 and 1981, before a reitrement season with MVV, scoring 3 goals in 17 matches. He won the league title three times with the club, and the UEFA Cup in 1978. He’s followed by Ruud Geels, who scored 265 goals in 401 matches.