Oh, comparing old records in sport with their present-day counterparts…In another edition of this series we now present the question: Can Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) become the striker with more goals in history of professional football tomorrow, when Juventus faces Genoa in the Coppa Italia?
There are legends of Pelé (BRA) and Romário (BRA) scoring over 1000 goals throughout their career, but many of those scores came in un-registered matches, such as friendly matches.
As the BBC points out, the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation lists Josef Bican (CZE) as the historical number one in that regard, with at least 805 goals scored, while Romário has 772 and Pelé 767. Ronaldo has 759 so he would be behind them, right?
Again, as the BBC notes, 27 of those goals were with Rapid Vienna’s reserve and amateur teams. Removing those, the total would be 759, just like Ronaldo’s. If we were also to remove friendly and amateur matches, then Pelé would have 757 and Romário would have 745, both behind Ronaldo.
Cristiano has also scored plenty of goals in club friendly games and certainly in inter-squad games and as an amateur, but were these goals tallied in the totals then we would have a mess that is not verifiable and where a lot of the merit is reduced.
Being the Association Football player with most goals in all time does not make you the best ever player. Probably most players would trade their individual goal accolades for winning a FIFA World Cup, for example. Being the player with most goals score does not make you the greatest face and icon or a revolutionary, as Pelé was.
Pelé was possibly the first global household name in history of sport, brought a style of playing that has ben influential since. His legacy is bigger than numbers but maybe in just this particular regard Ronaldo should get the accolade if he scores tomorrow, if it means anything.