Goalscoring is arguably the most important action that takes place on a football pitch. The end goal of a football game is to win, and teams win only by outscoring their opponents.
The task of scoring goals is primarily reserved for the strikers of a team, and they bear the major burden that comes with it. There may, however, be other players who have impressive goalscoring abilities in different positions on the pitch. In fact, many of the greatest goalscorers in history are not strikers, by position.
Most Career Goals Active Players:
817 Goals in 1137 Games
782 Goals in 991 Games
601 Goals in 824 Games
Without further ado, here is an XI of players who found the back of the net most times in the 21st century.
Goalkeeper- Rogerio Ceni (58 goals)
Retired Brazilian goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni is remembered for his exploits in the opposition box as much as he is for his exploits in his own box. Ceni managed 58 goals in the 21st century for his club Santos in the Brazilian Serie A. He currently manages Sao Paulo.
Rogério Ceni retires today after a 25-year career in which he scored 131 goals. He was a goalkeeper!
Ceni scored most of his goals from penalty kicks and free kicks, with only one of them coming from open play. He holds the record for the highest number of goals scored in history by a goalkeeper, previously held by Jose Luis Chilavert (67) until 2006. He scored a total of 131 goals throughout his career, which started in 1990 and ended in 2015.
Right-Back- James Tavernier (95 goals)
English right-back James Tavernier has ridiculous career stats that are enough to make even attackers green with envy. The Rangers captain started his career bouncing around clubs in England before finding a home in Scotland with the Glasgow side. Even during his time in England, he was a fairly regular goalscorer.
Tavernier has scored 95 goals in his career from his right-back position. The defender has also registered 120 assists in 479 appearances in his senior career. Most of his goals came after he arrived at Rangers in 2015.
Centre-Back- Sergio Ramos (130 goals)
Legendary Spanish defender Sergio Ramos is another who is an accomplished goalscorer despite his primary function being to prevent goals. The Paris Saint-Germain star is the only defender to score more than 100 goals in the 21st century and has a vast variety of finishes in his arsenal.
Ramos has a knack for popping up and scoring when his sides need him the most, and at the most crucial moments. The veteran scored 101 goals for Real Madrid, three for Sevilla and three for PSG. He also found the net 23 times for Spain in his international career. Ramos scored direct free-kicks, penalty kicks and open-play goals.
Centre-Back- Rene Aufhauser (79 goals)
Former Austrian defender Rene Aufhauser was a typical defender back in the day. He, however, complimented his defensive acumen with good goalscoring skills for club and country.
Aufhauser started his career in defensive midfield before shifting into a more pragmatic role in central defense. He scored a total of 100 goals in his career, but 79 of them came in the 21st century. He scored 67 club goals and 12 international goals in the 21st century before his retirement in 2014.
Left-Back- John Arne Riise (66 goals)
Blessed with a wicked left foot and incredible shooting technique, Norwegian defender John Arne Riise is one of the best goalscorers among defenders. His ability to find the net from range marked him out as a potent attacking threat.
Riise scored 66 goals in his career in the 21st century playing for Liverpool and AS Roma, as well as the Norwegian national team. The left-back scored 16 of his goals in the colors of his country. He retired in 2018 and has since gone into management.
Central Midfield- Frank Lampard (277 goals)
Frank Lampard is regarded as the greatest goalscoring midfielder of his generation. The Chelsea and England legend holds the record for the most teams scored against in Premier League history, having scored against 39 different teams.
Lampard scored 277 goals in the 21st century, with 211 coming in the blue of Chelsea. He scored another 37 goals in the colors of West Ham United, Manchester City and New York City. He also scored 29 goals for the English national team.
Central Midfield- Steven Gerrard (211 goals)
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard enjoyed an impressive career in front of goal. He scored the 19th-most goals in Premier League history, finding the net 121 times.
Gerrard scored a total of 211 goals in his career in the 21st century. He found the net 186 times for Liverpool (his first-ever goal for the Reds was scored in December 1999), five times for the Los Angeles Galaxy and 21 times for England.
Attacking Midfield- Thomas Muller (274 goals)
German forward Thomas Muller has been in the news for his impressive assists record in recent seasons. “Ramdeuter” also has an equally impressive record in front of goal.
Muller has been a Bayern Munich player all his life and has managed to score 230 goals for the side. He also has 249 assists for his club and has scored 44 times for the German national team.
Forward- Lionel Messi (785 goals)
Lionel Messi is widely regarded as the greatest of all time and his goalscoring record is enough to prove this as a fact. Messi is the only South American player to score more than 80 international goals. He also holds the all-time goalscoring record for Barcelona and La Liga.
Messi has managed an otherworldly 784 goals in his senior career to date. He has scored 23 goals for PSG and 90 for the Argentine national team. He also scored 672 goals for Barcelona in his time at the club.
Forward- Cristiano Ronaldo (818 goals)
Cristiano Ronaldo is considered by many to be the greatest footballer ever because of his numerous accolades. The 37-year-old Portuguese great has scored the most goals in the history of football. He also has the most goals in international football and in Real Madrid history.
Ronaldo has scored a total of 818 goals in his illustrious career so far. He scored five goals for Sporting Lisbon, 450 for Real Madrid, 145 for Manchester United and 101 for Juventus. He has also scored 117 goals for Portugal. He is the first footballer to score 700 goals in club football.
Striker- Robert Lewandowski (603 goals)
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski is undoubtedly the most prolific striker of the 21st century. The veteran striker has proved his mettle for club and country, and holds the record for most goals scored in a single Bundesliga season.
Lewandowski has scored 602 goals for club and country in all competitions since making his senior debut. The Polish striker scored 344 goals for Bayern Munich and 103 for Borussia Dortmund in Germany. He also scored 41 for Lech Poznan, 21 for Znicz Pruszkow and 18 so far for Barcelona. Lewandowski has also scored 76 goals for the Polish national team.
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