Fact CheckSports

Cristiano Ronaldo is NOT the first player in history to score 700 club goals

Claim: Social media users affirmed that Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in football history to score 700 club goals.

Having analysed a publication from FIFA and Manchester United, we found the report to be false.

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s left-foot finish against Everton on Sunday, October 9, 2022, became his 700th club goal.

The Portugal captain has so far scored 144 goals for Manchester United, 450 for Real Madrid, 101 for Juventus, and five for Sporting Lisbon. 

After reaching this landmark, many took to various social media platforms to celebrate him as he made headlines.

However, in the midst of it all, DUBAWA observed that some social media users had said that Ronaldo was the first player in history to score 700 club goals. Some of these reports can be found here, here, here, and here.

Some social media users found to have said Ronaldo is the first player in history to score 700 club goals.

Daily Mail UK and Aljaazera also reported the same on their respective online platforms.

Screenshot of publications by Daily Mail UK and Aljazeera stating that Ronaldo is the first player in history to score 700 club goals

Is Cristiano Ronaldo really the first professional football player ever to score 700 club goals? 


We relied on records from the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) in investigating the assertion. FIFA is the world’s governing body of Association Football.

In March 2022, Cristiano Ronaldo broke the record of Austrian-Czech striker Josef Bican to become the all-time leading goal scorer in football history with 807 goals. 

FIFA estimates that Bican had 805 goals during his career, from 1931 to 1955.

In finding out the number of goals Bican scored during his career, we came across a September 2020 publication by FIFA. According to the publication, Bican embarked on his international career with Austria in 1933 and scored 14 times for the country in 19 appearances.

“In 1933, Bican embarked on his international career with Austria, at the time the dominant force in European football…In all, he played 19 times for Austria, scoring 14 goals,” the publication reads.

The article also indicated that Bican switched to play for Czechoslovakia after securing a transfer to Slavia Prague in 1937. FIFA says he scored 12 times for the country.

“Czechoslovakia became his new home, and he duly applied for and received citizenship, going on to play for his adopted country 14 times between 1938 and 1949 (12 goals),” the publication added.

When the goals he scored for Austria (14) and Czechoslovakia (12) are added, the tally will be 26. Deducting the 26 international goals from his estimated 805 total goals will leave us with 779. Meaning that, Bican scored about 779 goals at the club level, which is higher than Cristiano Ronaldo’s 700. 

A September 2022 publication by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) lists the top 14 leading international scorers, and Josef Bican was missing. The 14th player on the list was former Kuwaiti footballer Bashar Abdullah, with 75 goals. 

EVEN IF Bican had scored 75 goals at the national team level and that is deducted from his 805 goals, it will be the case that he scored 726 goals at the club level (805 – 79 = 726) – which is also going to be higher than Cristiano Ronaldo’s 700.

After Ronaldo reached the landmark on Sunday, his club, Manchester United, made a publication detailing how he achieved the feat.

Paragraph three of the article indicated that “only Austrian-Czech hotshot Josef Bican has scored more than Ronaldo’s 700 club goals.”

“Bican lost his all-time career goals record to Ronaldo earlier this year, with Cristiano’s haul for Portugal pushing him up beyond 800 when the club and international tallies are combined,” the article continued.


Details of publications from FIFA, UEFA, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s employers, Manchester United, do not back the statement that the Portugal captain is the first player to score 700 club goals. 

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