The highest-scoring XI of the 21st century (Part 3)
Right Winger – Lionel Messi (748 goals)
Lionel Messi has been a standout performer for club and country over the course of an illustrious near two-decade-long career.
The 2021 Copa America winner, arguably one of the finest players in the world, has arrived at Ligue 1 giants PSG after a prolific 17-season stint at Barcelona, where he registered a staggering 1077 goal contributions (672 goals, 305 assists).
Messi, who has won a record six Ballon d’Or and eight Pichichi awards, is a magician with the ball at his feet. The all-time La Liga top scorer is one of only two players to score eight hat-tricks and over 100 goals in the Champions League.
A set-piece specialist, the 34-year-old has won ten La Liga titles and two continental trebles. He has also netted 76 times for Argentina, including four times in their triumphant Copa America 2021 campaign.
Striker – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (563 goals)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the finest strikers to have graced the game, especially since the turn of the century.
The evergreen Swede has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world like Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and Manchester United. Ibrahimovic, who recently scored his 500th goal in club football, has won league titles in four different countries (Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France).
Now 39, the towering Swede scored 15 league goals for AC Milan last season to help them return to the Champions League after a long absence. Ibrahimovic has also scored 62 times for Sweden, coming out of retirement this year in order to play at Euro 2020, only to miss the tournament because of injury.
Left Winger – Cristiano Ronaldo (781 goals)
Arguably one of the greatest players to have graced the game, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored goals and won trophies galore for club and country.
A versatile player across the attacking third, Ronaldo has found success on the left flank as well as while operating down the middle. The all-time Real Madrid and UEFA Champions League goalscorer continues to go strong despite turning 36 earlier this year.
Although Juventus failed to defend their Serie A title in 2020-21, Ronaldo scored 29 goals to win his first Capocannoniere award. The Portugal captain then produced a sizzling campaign at Euro 2020, scoring five goals and bagging an assist, even as the holders were eliminated by Belgium in the Round of 16.
Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, has won a record five Champions League titles. At Euro 2020, he went level with Iran’s Ali Daei for the most goals (109) in international men’s football.
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