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Cristiano Ronaldo hits 700 to join legends like Pele, Puskas and Romario

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Published in Soccer
Tuesday, 15 October 2019 01:28

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 700th goal of his senior career as Portugal fell to a 2-1 defeat to Ukraine in Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier in Kiev, putting him in a very exclusive club that includes some of the game's greats..

Ronaldo had the chance to pass the milestone in Friday's match against Luxembourg, but he was only able to find the net once in Lisbon, sinking a delectable chip shortly after the hour mark to take his total to 699.

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But the 34-year-old would not be denied against Ukraine, scoring a consolation goal from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute with Portugal already trailing 2-0 to the Group B leaders.

"Records come naturally, I don't look for them, records are looking for me," Ronaldo said after the match.

Some outlets reported Ronaldo reaching the 700-goal milestone on Friday after his goal in Portugal's 3-0 win over Luxembourg. The difference was a goal against Real Sociedad in 2011, which Real Madrid teammate Pepe said belonged to his fellow Portugal international to help out in a tight race for the Pichichi award (as La Liga's top scorer) against Barcelona's Lionel Messi for the league's top scorer that year.

However, most statisticians -- including ESPN's Stats & Information -- do not credit Ronaldo with that goal.

The prolific Juventus star was already the highest active goal scorer in world football, and by some margin. Here's the top five goal scorers in the world when it comes to current active players.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Juventus): 700 goals in 973 games.
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona): 672 goals in 828 games.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, LA Galaxy): 535 goals in 902 games.
4. Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Barcelona): 462 goals in 728 games.
5. Robert Lewandowski (Poland, Bayern Munich): 447 goals in 691 games.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner became the sixth member of a select club of players to have scored 700 or more goals, and it's a group that includes some of the greatest stars ever to have played the game as well as one less-heralded name (some records are unverified, so allow for variations in actual totals).

5. Gerd Muller

Fiendishly prolific for West Germany and Bayern Munich in his heyday, "Der Bomber" is fifth on the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF)'s all-time list having scored 735 goals in 793 games.

4. Ferenc Puskas

The legendary striker, nicknamed "The Galloping Major" scored 746 goals in 754 matches between 1943 and 1966 for Honved, Real Madrid and Hungary. Little wonder that FIFA's award for the world's greatest goal each season is named after him.

3. Romario

As per the RSSSF, the Brazilian poacher nabbed 772 goals in 993 first-class matches during his long career in which he played for clubs on five different continents between 1985 and 2007. He made a brief comeback in 2009, but did not add to his goal tally in a brief appearance for Rio de Janeiro-based club America.

2. Josef Bican

The Slavia Prague icon is the highest scoring player of all time in official games according to the RSSSF, who list the striker as amassing a remarkable 805 goals in 530 competitive games between 1928 and 1955.

1. Pele

According to his Guinness World Record, the Brazilian colossus is the highest scoring footballer of all time with a mind-boggling 1,279 career goals to his name (Edson Arantes do Nascimento on his birth certificate) between 1956 and 1977. That figure is disputed by some (with RSSSF giving him 767) but his status as the only player, male or female, to have won three World Cups is not in doubt.

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