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Argentina World Cup top scorers: Where Lionel Messi ranks all-time vs Diego Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta and stars

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One of football’s great heavyweight nations, Argentina has birthed some of the greatest attacking players of all-time.

Brazil had Pele, Portugal have Cristiano Ronaldo, but no other country can name two men that dominated their eras like Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona. 

Even without Messi or Maradona, Argentina have always possessed a dangerous goal threat, from the top scorer at the 1930 World Cup, Guillermo Stabile, to the present day. 

But which of Argentina’s talented finishers scored the most goals? And who has scored the most on the biggest stage at the World Cup? 

MORE: Messi vs. Ronaldo at World Cup: Goals, stats, records

Argentina top scorer at World Cups

With his penalty-kick goal against the Netherlands in the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals, Lionel Messi tied Gabriel Batistuta for most World Cup goals by an Argentina player with 10.

If Messi nets one more goal in the next two matches (semifinal and final or third-place match), then that would give him Argentina’s all-time record for World Cup goals.

Batistuta reached double-digits in 12 matches across three tournaments (1994, 1998, 2002). He’s the only player in World Cup history with a hat-trick in two different World Cups: vs. Greece (1994) and Jamaica (1998).

Meanwhile, Messi’s 10 goals have come in double Batistuta’s matches and across five World Cup tournaments (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022) though he went goal-less in 2010.

Pos. Player World Cup
World Cup
1. Lionel Messi 10 24
  Gabriel Batistuta 10 12
3. Guillermo Stabile 8 4
  Diego Maradona 8 21
5. Mario Kempes 6 18
6. Gonzalo Higuain 5 14
7. Daniel Bertoni 4 11
  Claudio Caniggia 4 9
  Hernan Crespo 4 8
  Rene Houseman 4 12
  Leopoldo Luque 4 5
  Jorge Valdano 4 9

Who is Argentina’s all-time top-scorer?

For a man who has broken hundreds of records across his career, it’s no surprise that the Lionel Messi leads Argentina’s top-scorer charts. 

Messi has amassed 95 goals for his nation. Unless he retires directly after the World Cup, the forward could break through a century of goals. 

The former Barcelona icon’s relentlessness mean he dominates the list, dwarfing the record of some truly phenomenal players. 

Gabriel Batistuta amassed his 56 goals at a faster rate than Messi, but a spell out of the team in 1997 and his power fading at any earlier age than the current Argentina captain meant ‘Batigol’ couldn’t build an even greater total. 

Sergio Aguero is in third-place on the list. The Manchester City great accumulated 42 goals in a century of appearances, although most of those came in international friendlies. 

List of Argentina’s top scorers

Argentina have never lacked a goal-threat down the generations, but Messi rules them all. 

Pos. Player Goals
(World Cup)
1. Lionel Messi 95 (10) 170
2. Gabriel Batistuta 56 (10) 78
3. Sergio Aguero 42 (2) 100
4. Hernan Crespo 35 (4) 64
5. Diego Maradona 34 (8) 91
6. Gonzalo Higuain 31 (5) 75
7. Angel Di Maria 27 (2) 128

Where does Diego Maradona rank in Argentina history? 

Diego Maradona is still, to some, the greatest player to even grace a football pitch. The No.10 could do things that haven’t been repeated, and perhaps never will be. 

But despite his mesmeric ability, Maradona ‘only’ managed 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina, enough for fifth on the all-time scorers list. 

MORE: Diego Maradona’s Hand of God, the story of a legendary World Cup moment

Maradona was the driving force and defining image of the 1986 World Cup, which Argentina won.

He scored eight World Cup goals across his career, but statistics will never do Maradona justice. The great man’s goals and unstoppable dribbling often overshadowed his passing ability, which was just as phenomenal. 


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