“Soccer is a world made of numbers”. A phrase which would make any mathematician proud, with the eternal claim that you can find mathematics anywhere.
And where better to find numbers than Goal Totals: the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), the famous (and often criticized) organization that chronicles the history of football, has just published its World’s Top Goal Scorer of 2007 ranking.
No, the results are further from probably anything you may expect.
Indeed, the criteria for selection are goals scored in full “A” international matches (i.e. with the national team), as well as goals scored in [inter]continental club competitions (i.e. UEFA Champions’ League, Copa Libertadores, and the like). No room for national competitions. As a result, this year’s topscorer turns out to be congolese striker Trésor Mputu Mabi, followed by Paraguayan Salvador Cabanas and (finally a well-known name) Argentine Juan Román Riquelme.
Trésor Mputu, a 22-year old playing for Congolese club TP Mazembe Lubumbashi (sounds Japanese doesn’t it?), achieves his total of 20 goals by grabbing, among others, the topscorer title of the African Champions League and the African CAF Cup (still ongoing)! This, according to IFFHS’s data, elects him World’s Top Goal Scorer of 2007.
In case you’re wondering “Ok, but how good is this guy really?”, Mputu is already in the crosshairs of many European clubs, including Arsenal and Sevilla. He gets the personal thumbs up of Claude Le Roy, ex manager of Cameroon and Congo, and who is now coaching the Black Stars of Ghana (in other words, someone who’s been around African soccer for quite a while). As a reminder, Le Roy was the one that launched Samuel Eto’o during the 1998 World Cup in France, when the Cameroonian was still only 17 years old.
Right behind Mputu, we find 27-year old Club América striker Salvador Cabañas (responsible for 14 goals with the Mexican club and 4 goals in the Paraguyana national team) ranked 2nd with 18 goals, and Juan Román Riquelme in 3rd position with 17 (8 goals with Boca Juniors, 9 goals with Argentina). Riquelme would have probably been ranked higher, had he not been excluded from the recent FIFA Club World Cup in Japan (due to his late transfer from Villareal).
To find the first European-based players we have to drop down to 5th spot, right after Noh Alam Shah of Singapore’s Tampines Rovers FC, and his 15 goals. At nº5 we find Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year winner Kaká (14 goals, 9 club – 5 internat’l), followed by Tottenham’s Dimitar Berbatov (13 goals, 5-8) and Man Utd’s Cristiano Ronaldo (13 goals, 8-5).
First Italian player in the ranking: the ever-eternal Pippo Inzaghi, ranked 11th with 12 goals (10 in the CL, 2 with the Azzurri). Luca Toni is 28th with 10 goals.
About the IFFHS and FULL RANKING
The IFFHS was founded in 1984 and is based in Bonn, Germany. Since 1991, the entity has also produced a monthly club world ranking. You can find the full World’s Top Goal Scorer of 2007 rankings on their official website.
In the table below you can find the full “World’s Top Goalscorer of 2007′ rankings. I’ve modified the columns a little bit, such as to clearly display club and international goals. Also, I’ve highlighted in bold all players based in Europe (UEFA).
The legend displays which world federation the player’s clubs belongs to:
AFC = Asian Football Confederation (Asia)
CAF = Confederation of African Football (Africa)
CONCACAF = Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (North America)
CONMEBOL = Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (South America)
OFC = Oceania Football Confederation (Oceania)
UEFA = Union Européenne de Football Association (Europe)
The separation of players by club federation yields interesting totals. Top-ranked is the UEFA federation with 64 players, and it comes to no surprise as the best players (and hence topscorers) are based in Europe. However, lower ranks reserve a few surprises.
|CONCACAF (North Am.)|
|CONMEBOL (South Am.)|
|Trésor Mputu Mabi|
|Juan Román Riquelme|
|M. Noh Alam Shah K.|
|Jon Dahl Tomasson|
|Blas A. Miguel Pérez|
|Eduardo Da Silva|
|Flávio Amado da Silva|
|Moham. A.A. Chermiti|
|Rafael Van der Vaart|
|Ismail M. Al-Junaibi|
|José Paolo Guerrero|
|Ruud Van Nistelrooij|
|Hernán Rodrigo López|
|Godwin Ndubuisi Eze|
|W. Sebastián Abreu|
|Carlos Alberto Pavon|
|Thanh BÃ¬nh Phan|
|Cheikh Oumar Dabo|
|Fan. I. Andriatsima|
|Eliphène Alex. Cadet|
|Andrés S.S. Quintana|
|Christian R. BenÃtez|
|Roque Santa Cruz|
|R. Falcao GarcÃa|
|V. MartÃn Sánchez|
|Andre Roberto Beto|
|Wilfried G. Bony|
|Ricardo M. Ciciliano|
|João S. da Mota Neto|
|Awad Deeb Ragheb|
Marco Pantanella writes for the mCalcio blog