The number of goals and assists a player has is a good measure of his direct influence on the outcome of a game.
Players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar have racked up such ridiculous numbers over their careers that our outlook is somewhat skewed.
Ronaldo and Messi are two of the greatest goalscorers of all time. They are also dynamic attackers whose playmaking skills are just as extraordinary. Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar have also enjoyed great success on the international circuit.
Ronaldo is the biggest international goalscorer in men’s football and Messi and Neymar are not 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)
Romelu Lukaku was a beast of attack for Belgium’s golden generation. He has always been behind the performance of his national team and continues to do so.
Lukaku’s club form may have fluctuated, but he has maintained a high standard in international football. The 29-year-old has scored 65 goals and provided 13 assists during his international career.
#9 Alexis Sanchez (Chile) – 79 (48 goals, 31 assists)
At the top of his game, Alexis Sanchez was one of the most formidable strikers of his generation. His quick wit, agility and technical ability made him a defense nightmare. Sanchez played some of his best matches during his spells at Barcelona and Arsenal.
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)
Edin Dzeko is one of the most underrated strikers of his generation. The Inter Milan striker is 36 years old, but he is still in great shape. He won the title of “Bosnian Footballer of the Year” three times in a row during his career.
Dzeko has been very prolific with his national team. He scored 6 goals and delivered 21 assists during his international career.
#7 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) – 85 (62 goals, 23 assists)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the greatest strikers of the modern era. The tall Swede is one of the most dynamic forwards we’ve seen lately. Ibrahimovic is now 40 but he won the Serie A title with AC Milan in the 2021-22 season.
He is an amazing 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)
Uruguayan international Luis Suarez has enjoyed an illustrious career. He has twice won the European Golden Boot 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 during his international career.
#5 Miroslav Klose (Germany) – 101 (71 goals, 30 assists)
Miroslav Klose had a legendary international career. The German striker, now retired, has always been decisive for the Mannschaft during his 13-year international career.
He is the top scorer in the World Cup with 16 goals to his name in four editions of the quadrennial competition. Klose has scored 71 goals and provided 30 assists for Germany during his international career.
#4 Robert Lewandowski (Poland) – 102 (76 goals, 26 assists)
Robert Lewandowski is currently the most prolific goalscorer in Europe’s top five leagues. The Bayern Munich striker has played some of the best games of his career in recent seasons.
Lewandowski has been a cut above the rest of his national teammates throughout his career. He has been one of Poland’s best players in recent years. At 33, he scored 76 goals and provided 26 assists for Poland in selection.
#3 Neymar Jr. (Brazil) – 126 (74 goals, 52 assists)
Neymar Jr. is one of the most talented footballers we have seen in the 21st century. He is a pleasure to watch on the football pitch and is capable of producing magical moments on a regular basis.
Neymar is one of the most innovative strikers of the modern era. He was absolutely phenomenal for Brazil and is now close to breaking 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 scored five goals for Argentina in a recent international friendly against Estonia. Messi is currently fourth on the list of top scorers in men’s international football.
Messi has scored 86 goals and provided 49 assists during his international career with the Albiceleste. The seven-time Ballon d’Or won the Copa America with Argentina last summer. Messi also won the Golden Boot and the tournament’s best player award.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 158 (117 goals, 41 assists)
Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer 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 put on incredible performances when his teams need him the most.
He had an illustrious career, both at club and international level. Ronaldo currently has 117 goals and 41 assists to his name in international football.
He successfully led the Portuguese team to qualification for the World Cup this year. Ronaldo hopes he can get his hands on the World Cup trophy this time around.