Argentine forward Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona was the best goal scorer of the 60 main leagues in the world in 2012, managing 50 goals in 37 games, and was also the most effective, with 1.35 goals per match, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, or IFFHS, says.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, of Portugal, took the No. 2 spot in both categories, scoring 46 goals in 38 games, giving him 1.21 goals per match.
In 2012, 83 players from the 60 leagues analyzed scored 20 or more goals, while only 64 achieved the feat in 2001 and just 60 did it in 2010.
The 83 top goal scorers are of 48 different nationalities, with nine Brazilians, six Argentines, four Dutchmen, four Uruguayans, four Frenchmen, four Belgians and three Colombians making the list, the IFFHS says.
The list includes 40 Europeans, 27 South Americans, seven Asians, five Africans and four players from the CONCACAF zone - Central America and North America - but no players from Oceania.