Yesterday, Cristiano Ronaldo became just the 2nd men’s player in soccer history to score 100 career international goals when he banged home a free kick for Portugal against Sweden. He also scored number 101 in a 2-0 victory for the Portuguese in UEFA Nations League play. He now sits just 8 shy of the men’s record of 109 which is held by Iran’s Ali Daei.
Cristiano Ronaldo reaching the century mark of goals is reigniting the conversation over whether that achievement is something we will once again see by a men’s soccer player in our lifetimes. It has been something that has been achieved in the women’s game by 17 players, including 7 United States Women’s National Team players: Abby Wambach, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Carli Lloyd, Michelle Akers, Alex Morgan, and Tiffany Milbrett.
However, while we expect to see this happen several more times on the women’s side, there’s only a couple men’s players worldwide that have an outside chance at challenging that mark in their careers right now: Neymar of Brazil (61 goals, 28 years old), Ali Mabkhout of the United Arab Emirates (60 goals, 29 years old), and Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku (52 goals, 27 years old).
For the USMNT, to even set sights on 100, they first must set sights on 57. That’s the record for most international goals by an American, fittingly held by arguably the two greatest American players ever, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey. The player who is closest to catching that mark is Jozy Altidore (42 goals, 30 years old), but he would need to remain healthy for at least 5 more years to have a legit chance at retiring with the record. Still, he’s nowhere near challenging for the century mark.
The player that most people think has the best chance at becoming the all-time USMNT goalscoring record holder by the end of his career is Christian Pulisic, who has 14 international goals and turns 22 on September 18th. However, could he go on a tear that could see him approach 100 goals? It remains to be seen. Could Josh Sargent, Weston McKennie, Jordan Morris, or another young player emerge as the guy to blow past 57 and go for 100?
This is our Community Corner question for the week. Hit the comments and let us know if you think a MNT player will reach the century mark, and who that player could be that has 100 next to his name for number of international goals.