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Europe's all-time top international goalscorers

Published: Wednesday 9 September 2015, 9.30CET
Newly crowned as England's all-time top scorer, Wayne Rooney has also joined the club of European players boasting 50 international goals or more. salutes all 17.

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Published: Wednesday 9 September 2015, 9.30CET

Europe's all-time top international goalscorers

Newly crowned as England's all-time top scorer, Wayne Rooney has also joined the club of European players boasting 50 international goals or more. salutes all 17.

Wayne Rooney found the net against Switzerland on Tuesday to become England's all-time leading scorer, yet his goal also came loaded with additional prestige. The Manchester United forward etched his name onto an illustrious list of European players to have reached a half-century of strikes for their national team, becoming the 17th to reach the 50-mark.

Even so, the 29-year-old is at the bottom of this particular leaderboard and remains a long way off Ferenc Puskás's continental record. Indeed, former Arminia Bielefeld, Bayern München and Hertha BSC attacker Ali Daei's world record of 109 international goals for Iran may be safe for another generation. presents the European roll of honour.

Ferenc Puskás (Hungary & Spain) – 84 goals in 89 appearances
The 'Galloping Major' remains in a field of his own in European goalscoring terms. His final total might have been considerably higher given he played the last of his 85 games for Hungary in 1956 aged just 29 – subsequently leaving his homeland and eventually settling at Real Madrid. Having taken Spanish citizenship, he played four further internationals for Spain between 1961 and 1962, yet never scored for his adopted country.

Sándor Kocsis (Hungary) – 75 goals in 68 appearances
The inside-forward scored 11 times at the 1954 FIFA World Cup. A team-mate of Puskás with Budapest Honvéd and Hungary, he was to register seven hat-tricks for the national team, earning the nickname 'The Man With The Golden Head' for his stellar aerial prowess. Retiring after a spell with Barcelona, he ran a restaurant – La Tête d'Or – prior to his untimely death in 1979, aged 49.

©AFP/Getty Images

Miroslav Klose lifts the World Cup

Miroslav Klose (Germany) – 71 goals in 137 appearances
Few would have expected Klose to become the all-time leading scorer at World Cups when he first appeared at one in 2002. However, 12 years and 16 goals later, he retired from international football with a World Cup title and several personal records in the bag. The 36-year-old Lazio totem is Germany's most prolific marksman ever and became one of the game's best poachers. Known for his aerial ability and general work ethic, Klose has been cited by several former team-mates as one of the best role models they ever played with.

Gerd Müller (West Germany) – 68 goals in 62 appearances
Like Puskás, Müller did not appear to have the natural physique of a footballer. His first coach at Bayern, Zlatko Čajkovski, nicknamed him 'Kleines dickes Müller' (Little, fat Müller), but his instincts, aerial power and fearsome acceleration over short distances marked him out as perhaps the wiliest fox ever to have patrolled a European box. He scored in the finals as West Germany won the 1972 UEFA European Championship and the 1974 World Cup.

Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland) – 67 goals in 142 appearances
Two goals against FYR Macedonia in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in June 2011 took Keane's tally to 51, making him the first player from any British Isles nation to achieve a half-century for their country. He has since become the leading scorer in UEFA European Championship qualifying and continues to be a key man under manager Martin O'Neill. "When I first came into the Ireland squad, Niall Quinn said to me I would get 50 goals, so it's probably down to him," he said.

Imre Schlosser (Hungary) – 59 goals in 68 appearances
Schlosser netted an incredible 258 goals in 155 league matches for Ferencváros between 1905 and 1916, and his strike-rate for the national side was almost as impressive. He made his last international outing on 10 April 1927, nine days after Puskás was born, having completed that awesome haul thanks to an aggressive style, a fine shot and great positional sense.

David Villa (Spain) – 59 goals in 97 appearances
Although things did not go to plan for Spain at the 2014 World Cup, all-time top scorer Villa still managed to sign off a glorious career with La Roja on a positive note, registering in their last game against Australia with a classy back-heel. Villa burst into tears as he left the pitch, but Juan Mata sought to console his colleague. "David has to be proud of everything he has achieved and all the goals he has scored," he said. "We'll see if someone beats his record one day, but it's going to be very difficult.”


The inimitable Zlatan Ibrahimović

Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden) – 57 goals in 107 appearances
Eight-time Swedish player of the year, Ibrahimović is now his country's all-time top marksman: he plundered goals No49 and 50 during the 4 September friendly against Estonia, overtaking previous incumbent Sven Rydell in doing so. After the game, he cited his remarkable overhead kick against England as his "most beautiful goal" in Sweden colours. He added the 57th at the end of the 4-1 home loss to Austria on Tuesday.

Jan Koller (Czech Republic) – 55 goals in 91 appearances
Standing at 202cm, Koller dominated the Czech footballing skyline for a decade from 1999, travelling to three UEFA European Championships and the 2006 World Cup. He attained some kind of international goalscoring peak with four strikes in a 6-0 win against FYR Macedonia in June 2005. He might have been even more prolific, yet did not make his international debut until he was 25.

Joachim Streich (East Germany) – 55 goals in 102 appearances
Small but deadly, Streich was the former East Germany's most-capped player as well as its most productive forward. Emerging on the scene in December 1969, he claimed a bronze medal with East Germany at the 1972 Olympics in Munich and struck twice in four matches at the 1974 World Cup. The only treble of his national-team career came in a 9-0 victory against Malta on 29 October 1977.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 55 goals in 122 appearances
The Real Madrid ace needed 109 matches to equal Eusébio's 47 international goals, though he did so in style with a hat-trick against Sweden in the World Cup play-offs – for some, it was his best performance for his country. If he has not been quite as prolific for Portugal as for Manchester United and Madrid, he remains their talisman. He was not up to his usual standards in Brazil last year yet still notched his 50th goal against Ghana.

Poul Nielsen (Denmark) – 52 goals in 38 appearances
An inveterate tormentor of goalkeepers, Nielsen was the undisputed star of the Denmark sides of the early 20th century and a silver medallist at the 1912 Olympics. An amateur, like most elite players of his day, his final tally included 26 goals against Norway and 15 against Sweden. His nickname 'Tist' was an abbreviation of Gratist, the Danish term for freeloader, since as a youngster the forward used to sneak into games without paying for a ticket.

©Getty Images

Denmark's Jon Dahl Tomasson

Jon Dahl Tomasson (Denmark) – 52 goals in 112 appearances
One of the greatest Danish players of modern times, Tomasson hung up his boots in 2011 as his country's joint-top marksman, and said: "I always had an enormous drive to succeed and I think I got everything possible from my career – I could not have been better." Denmark boss Morten Olsen agreed, calling the industrious attacker "the ultimate team player".

Lajos Tichy (Hungary) – 51 goals in 72 appearances
Tichy took over as Hungary's goalscorer-in-chief after Puskás departed for Spain, announcing himself with four strikes at the 1958 World Cup and three more at the 1962 event. His powerful shot invited the nickname 'The Nation's Bomber'. He died in 1999. In 2002, two Tichy goals from a friendly against Lebanon were added to his official haul, lifting his national-team tally from 49 to 51.

Hakan Sükür (Turkey) – 51 goals in 112 appearances
It was no accident that the rise of Turkish football in the early 1990s coincided with the emergence of the nation's newest star. Hakan famously notched the fastest goal in World Cup history when he struck after just 11 seconds of Turkey's third-place play-off against Korea Republic in the 2002 finals, though it was his aerial expertise which earned him the moniker 'Bull of the Bosporus' in the European media.

Thierry Henry (France) – 51 goals in 123 appearances
Winning the 1998 World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000 were among the many highlights of Henry's stellar career, in which he eclipsed UEFA President Michel Platini as France's all-time leading scorer before setting his daunting final total at 51. Scarily fast in his youth, Henry's intelligence and finishing kept the goals flowing later in his professional life.

Rooney reflects on record

Wayne Rooney (England) – 50 goals in 107 appearances
What a memorable few days it has been for England's No10, who equalled Sir Bobby Charlton's record tally of 49 goals for the Three Lions in Sunday's 6-0 win in San Marino before striding out on his own against Switzerland. First capped as a 17-year-old in 2003, he announced his potential with four goals at UEFA EURO 2004, and though he has perhaps struggled to live up to that early promise, he finally broke his World Cup duck at Brazil 2014 – and has now written his name in the history books.

Last updated: 09/09/15 12.07CET

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