Decoding South America's top scorers as Messi surpasses Pele's tally
Legendary footballer Lionel Messi has added a new feather to his illustrious cap. The Argentine is now South America's highest goal-scorer in international football. Messi scored a sensational hat-trick in Argentina's 3-0 win over Bolivia in the South American World Cup Qualifiers. With Messi notching a new feat, here we decode South America's top scorers.
Messi's three goals against Bolivia has seen his tally rise to 79 in international football. Messi has got to this mark in 153 matches for Argentina. On the other hand, Pele, who held the record among South American players, scored 77 in 92 matches for Brazil. Meanwhile, Messi's Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar has scored 69 goals in 113 appearances for Brazil (third-highest).
Among other top scorers in international football among South American players, Uruguay's Luis Suarez has netted 64 goals in 123 matches. Former Brazil star Ronaldo netted 62 times in 98 appearances. Other players to have netted 50-plus international goals are Romario (55, Brazil), Gabriel Batistuta (54, Argentina), and Edinson Cavani (53, Uruguay).
There are just four players who went on to net 40-plus goals for South American nations respectively. Former Brazil ace Zico scored 48 goals and is followed by Alexis Sanchez of Chile (46). The other two players with 40-plus goals are Sergio Aguero (41, Argentina) and Eduardo Vargas (40, Chile).
In terms of most goals in international football, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is the supreme leader (111 goals). Ronaldo achieved the mark in 180 appearances. Recently, he steered clear of former Iran legend Ali Daei (109). Malaysia's Mokhtar Dahari has the third-highest number of goals (89). The legendary Ferenc Puskas of Hungary managed 84 goals. These four players are the only one with 80-plus goals.