How Cristiano Ronaldo is closing in on Pele's all-time goal record in competitive matches… and where does Messi sit?

CRISTIANO RONALDO edged closer to becoming the highest goalscorer of all time last night.

His long range, left-footed strike in the first-half of Juventus' 2-1 Champions League win against Ferencvaros put the Portuguese mega-star on 749 OFFICIAL total goals.

Pele is widely considered the best footballer ever to play the game and he sits on 767 – though he claims he scored more than 1,000.

And Ronaldo's long-term rival Messi is 38 goals behind Ronnie on 711 but the Argentine has played 143 games less, according to Transfermarkt.

With 102 international goals for Portugal, yesterday's effort was Ronaldo's 647th club goal.

The 749 goal haul comes from 1,025 games – 857 club matches and 168 senior appearances for his country.

And with the 35-year-old set to play on into his late thirties, he is destined to break Pele's historic record.

However, arch rival for the 'greatest player of all time' title Messi is also in line to edge ahead of Pele too.

Barcelona's iconic star has scored 640 for Barca and 71 for his country.

And many argue Messi will eclipse both Ronaldo and Pele as he has just 38 less than Ronnie and 56 less than Pele and he is only 33 and has played just 882 games.

But for now, Ronaldo is edging closer to the top.

There are suggestions he may be even closer to Pele's total with many arguing the 749 does not include goals scored in unofficial games that should count.

But if he carries on as he is the former Manchester United man will smash the total with official strikes and leave no doubt.

But who else makes the top ten? We take a look…

10. ARTHUR FRIEDENREICH – 554 goals

THE Brazilian striker was was a professional footballer for an incredible 26 years between 1909 and 1935.

Friedenreich was dubbed 'The King of Football' by European media at the time, despite the fact he never left Brazil, such was his goal-getting fame.

The Sao Paulo-born star scored 554 goals during his career, including ten goals in 21 matches for Brazil.

9. FERENC DEAK – 558

BEFORE Puskas, there was another Hungarian superstar called Ferenc on the scene.

Deak scored 558 goals during his career in his home nation – including an astonishing 29 goals in just 20 matches for Hungary.

8. EUSEBIO – 615

THE Portuguese legend famously scored at better than a goal per game at Benfica – netting 317 times in just 301 league games.

And his total tally was 615 when all was said and done – including 41 goals in 64 international games.

Eusebio won the Ballon d'Or in 1965.

7. JOSEF BICAN – 636

BICAN scored an outrageous 397 goals in just 215 league matches for Slavia Prague in his incredible career – which spanned the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

All-in-all, the striker scored 636 goals – including 12 goals in 14 matches for Czechoslovakia and 14 goals in 19 games for Austria.

He even scored a hat-trick in his only 'international' game for Bohemia and Moravia.

6. FERENC PUSKAS – 706

THE more-famous of the Ferencs, Puskas scored an astronomical 706 goals in his illustrious career.

Puskas did much of the damage at local side Budapest Honved, but also scored at nearly a goal per game at Real Madrid in the 1950s and 60s.

Despite being arguably the best player on the planet in his day, he never won the Ballon d'Or – coming second in 1960.

5. LIONEL MESSI – 711

IN scoring twice against Real Betis on November 7, Messi took his career tally to 711 – and still only 33-years-old, there could be many more to come.

Messi is just 56 goals behind Pele's official tally now – with his main competition arguably the man in second-place.

The Argentine legend has scored 640 goals in 742 games for Barcelona – adding a further 71 from 140 games for Argentina.

Messi has also won more Ballons d'Or than any other player, with six.

4. GERD MULLER – 720

THE German legend is fourth in the standings, but you sense not for long.

Muller netted 720 times in his career – scoring 565 times in just 607 games for Bayern Munich.

The German won the Ballon d'Or in 1970 and scored more than a goal a game for his country – with 68 goals in just 62 matches.

Muller helped Germany win the 1974 World Cup.

3. ROMARIO – 734

IN third, Brazil legend Romario enjoyed a senior career spanning an unbelievably 24 years.

He found the net 734 times, including 55 goals for Brazil in just 70 games.

Romario was a key cog in his nation's side which lifted the 1994 World Cup in America, too.

2. CRISTIANO RONALDO – 749

RONALDO will be hell bent on breaking Pele's record.

And for now, he seems set to do it with 749 official goals.

Ronaldo is still playing, of course, but at two years Messi's senior, he may retire sooner than the Barca ace.

But given the Portuguese legend's fitness regime, he could play well into his 40s.

Ronaldo has scored a staggering 102 goals for Portugal – with 13.6 per cent ofall of his goals coming for his country.

1. PELE – 767

THE man himself claims to have more than 1,000 goals – but officially, that tally is much lower at 767.

Pele has held the record for most career goals for decades, but knows his grasp on the top spot is growing ever-more loose with Ronaldo and Messi knocking on the door.

The Brazil icon scored 643 goals for Santos in just 656 games in all competitions.

Pele also netted 43 goals in just 41 games for Brazil's senior side – helping them to win THREE World Cups during his time.

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