Who would you say, in the football world, is the biggest ever goalscorer? Most people today would probably name Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the likeliest candidates. Those with slightly longer memories might offer names like Romario, Pele, and Ferenc Puskás.
It might surprise you, but they would all be wrong. The player with the highest goal tally ever in worldwide professional football is Austrian born Josef Bican. Take a look at the table from Wikipedia.
|Josef Bican||Austrian||805||530||1.52||1931 to 1955|
|Romario||Brazilian||772||994||0.78||1985 to 2009|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Portuguese||768||1065||0.72||2001 to present|
|Pele||Brazilian||767||834||0.92||1956 to 1977|
|Ferenc Puskás||Hungarian||746||754||0.98||1943 to 1966|
|Lionel Messi||Argentinian||739||940||0.79||2003 to present|
It makes for some fascinating reading, including showing the name of Josef Bican at the top of the tree.
One of the most extraordinary facts that come to light is the man’s goalscoring ratio. It is far higher than anyone else’s shown on the list. Another remarkable thing is that even though the span of his career was considerably long already, it was also significantly interrupted by a certain exercise known as World War II. Goodness knows how many more goals Bican might have scored had it not been for that untimely interruption.
The only other player in the list who suffered the same enforced interruption is Ferenc Puskás. In other words, his goal tally to could have been significantly higher too.
The only players in the list still playing today are Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, both of whom figure in the “European Football’s Deadliest Goalscorers” list over the past five years, as published by Sportingbet.
The obvious question that springs to mind is, can either of these two ever overhaul Josef Bican’s amazing tally? The answer is probably no. Although Cristiano Ronaldo is only 37 goals behind the Austrians total, at 35 years old, the Portuguese player’s age does not favour him.
Having said that, Ronaldo’s fitness for a player of his age is exceptional. But can he stay at this level of fitness long enough to notch up the required number of goals to overtake Bifan as the greatest scorer of all time?
Lionel Messi is something of a “spring chicken” by comparison at only 33 years of age. But given that he is 66 goals behind Bifan, he is unlikely to catch up.
Curiously enough, Ronaldo and Messi will face each other in the European Champions League when Barcelona play Juventus.
So far this season – a season which had as been significantly interrupted by the covid 19 pandemic – Ronaldo has netted 14 times. By comparison, Messi has scored a meagre three goals only because he has been favoured to play in three matches so far.
When it comes down to the world’s leading goalscorer, Bican’s record haul is looking pretty uncatchable, and apart from Messi and Ronaldo, there are no other players with anywhere near enough goals to be seriously considered. It seems as if Joseph Bican is going to continue to rule the roost as the world’s best-ever goalscorer for some time to come…perhaps even forever?