Khel Now looks at the prolific strikers who shouldered the goalscoring burden for some of Europe’s top clubs…

Being your teams’ goal scoring threat comes with a lot of pressure. After all, the team will only win the game if they score more than their opponents. Being an attacker means you must contribute to your teams’ goals. If you are not contributing, you are no longer required.

This article looks at some players who have shouldered the attacking burden for their teams and have done so for a long time. These players are the ones you could call the elites or the ones who have earned their worth.

  • Players were only considered if they were scoring goals in one of the Big-5 Leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany & France)
  • The Dutch league was only considered until the 1996/97 season.
  • Players who debuted before the 90s were not considered. (Exception Alan Shearer)
  • All goals are tallied as NPG – Non-Penalty Goals.
  • All goals are only goals scored in the domestic leagues.

These filters allow us to ensure the players included only competed and performed against the best European teams that were around during the time of their careers.


Raul headed  the goalscoring charts for Real Madrid for well over a decade.



In the first table we see Alan Shearer, Robbie Fowler, Raul, Hernan Crespo, Michael Owen, Patrick Kluivert, Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The first name that stands out is Ronaldo’s. As a 17/18-year-old boy Ronaldo tore up the Dutch league with PSV. Remember, this is the same season Ajax won the Champions League. Then, 2 years later, he tore up La Liga with Barcelona. What happened afterwards is probably the greatest what if story in football.



In the second table we find David Villa, Fernando Torres, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero.

These are some names that still grace our presence today. Before we delve deeper into the marvels that are Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, let us look at some of the other names. Torres for example, only Rooney can match the number of goals scored as an 18-year-old. At 19-years-old Benzema began to blossom. Sergio Aguero is flying under the radar here, he has scored 10 or more goals every season from when he was 19-years-old. Not even Messi or Cristiano can say that.

Now let us look at the two unstoppable forces of world football. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored at least 14 goals every year from the age of 21, reaching a peak of 38 goals. Messi on the other hand, has scored at least 20 goals every year from the age of 21, reaching a peak of 42. What Messi was did from ages 22-26 was un-human. What Cristiano is doing from ages 25-30 is equally un-human. We are absolutely blessed to be living in the age they are playing football. Blessed.

Messi became an integral part of the Barcelona first-team at young age and continues to carry the mantle.

Let us now look at each age category and identify which players scored the most goals at a certain age.

18 Years Old:

  • Ronaldo – 27 NPG
  • Raul – 19 NPG
  • Michael Owen –17 NPG


19 Years Old:

  • Robbie Fowler – 22 NPG
  • Raul – 21 NPG
  • Karim Benzema – 20 NPG

20 Years Old:

  • Ronaldo – 30 NPG
  • Robbie Fowler – 27 NPG
  • Gonzalo Higuain, Harry Kane – 19 NPG

21 Years Old:

  • Gonzalo Higuain – 27 NPG
  • Raul – 21 NPG
  • Lionel Messi, Harry Kane – 20 NPG

22 Years Old:

  • Lionel Messi – 33 NPG
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – 27 NPG
  • Neymar – 21 NPG

23 Years Old:

  • Alan Shearer – 28 NPG
  • Lionel Messi – 27 NPG
  • Raul, Fernando Torres – 24 NPG


24 Years Old:

  • Lionel Messi – 40 NPG
  • Mario Gomez – 27 NPG
  • Alan Shearer, Moussa Sow – 24 NPG


25 Years Old:

  • Lionel Messi – 42 NPG
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – 32 NPG
  • Alan Shearer – 28 NPG


26 Years Old:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo – 34 NPG
  • Luis Suarez – 31 NPG
  • Robert Lewandowski – 28 NPG


27 Years Old:

  • Lionel Messi – 38 NPG
  • Gonzalo Higuain – 33 NPG
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin Van Persie – 28 NPG


28 Years Old:

  • Luis Suarez – 37 NPG
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – 25 NPG
  • Thierry Henry – 24 NPG


29 Years Old:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo – 38 NPG
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alan Shearer, Carlos Tevez – 18 NPG


30 Years Old:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo – 29 NPG
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 26 NPG
  • Diego Milito, Carlos Tevez – 8 NPG


The milestones for any up and coming attacker to beat at different ages are:































This is no easy feat by any means, but with rising stars like Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe. There may just be scope for a new superstar in the making. To leave you with some of the younger generation boy wonder stars. Here is a table looking at more recent goal scoring performances. Which of them do you think will emulate the stars of the past?