Manchester United and Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has scored the most headed goals in the 21st century with 111 goals from his head so far in his career.
Although the sport is called football, there is a lot more to it than just kicking the ball around with the foot. In fact, different parts of the body including the head and shoulder can also a play vital role in any footballer’s game and besides the hand, almost all the parts of the body are perfectly legal to use to control the ball as well as try to score with.
Headers have almost always been an integral part of the sport and some of the best headers of the ball have also been some of the fiercest forwards and defenders in football. In recent seasons, heading the ball seems to be a dying art.
This is why masters of the art such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski, among others, are coveted names in world football. The aerial dominance they bring to teams often proves to be the X factor and results in a lot of goals in crucial situations.
Today we’ll talk about the players who have scored the most headed goals in football in the 21st century:
Most headed goals: Top five list of players
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Portugal||111||Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus|
|Luuk de Jong||The Netherlands||82||Sevilla, Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven|
|Robert Lewandowski||Poland||80||Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona|
|Fernando Llorente||Spain||75||Athletic Bilbao, Juventus, Sevilla, Tottenham Hotspur|
|Radamel Falcao||Colombia||71||Porto, Atletico Madrid, Monaco|
Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United and Portugal – 111
Unsurprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list of players with the most headed goals in the 21st century as he has found the back of the net 111 times using his head so far in his career. One of the greatest football players of his generation along with Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s heading ability is beyond perfect and he has mastered the art of jumping and hang time to get on the end of crosses, free-kicks and corners and score goals. Reports have stated that the Portuguese superstar jumps higher than the average NBA player which just goes to highlight his incredible physique and ability.
During a game against Sampdoria in 2019, Ronaldo leapt 71cm off the ground, reaching a height of over two and a half metres. To put those numbers into context, it’s believed the average NBA player also jumps around 71cm from the ground.
37 years old now and heading into the twilight of his career with Real Madrid, it seems that Cristiano’s best days are behind him as he has lost a considerable amount of pace and technical ability. However, on any given day as long as he’s playing football, he can still score more headed goals than anybody else in front of him
The greatest part of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career was during his glorious nine-year stint with Real Madrid where he won four UEFA Champions League, three of those in consecutive years and even conquered La Liga. The 2014/15 season with Real Madrid saw Ronaldo scoring 12 headed goals in a single season, the highest in a season in his entire career.
Having played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus, Ronaldo has plenty of experience across all the major European leagues and his achievements and collection of trophies speak for themselves.
Heading into what is expected to be his final FIFA World Cup appearance in Qatar, all eyes will be on Ronaldo who is also the highest international goal-scorer after breaking Ali Daei’s record last year.
Luuk de Jong, PSV Eindhoven and Netherlands – 82
Even though it’s not a name you expected as high as it is on this list, Luuk De Jong is a master header of the ball and is an ingenious threat in the air. In fact, while signing him for FC Barcelona from Sevilla last season, then manager Ronald Koeman had famously stated that, “In the air, Luuk is better than Neymar.”
The tall Dutch striker went on to prove his former manager correct and had a successful loan stint at the Camp Nou which is the highlight of his career so far. During the course of last season, De Jong scored seven goals for Barcelona and more than half of his total goals scored were from his head.
These included some crucial goals while coming off the bench which allowed Barcelona to bounce back in big games, including the Super Cup Clasico against Real Madrid. He now plies his trade with PSV Eindhoven.
Luuk De Jong also holds the record for scoring the most headed goals in a single season when he netted 13 times for PSV in the 2018/19 season.
Robert Lewandowski, Barcelona and Poland – 80
A perfect example of a complete striker in modern football, Robert Lewandowski has enjoyed an immensely illustrious career in Germany. His first four seasons with Borussia Dortmund put him on the map and he later went on to achieve unprecedented fame and success with Bayern Munich, while leading them to a Champions League trophy and multiple consecutive Bundesligas and even winning the FIFA The Best individual honour.
At Bayern, Lewandowski had always been a focal point and he utilized the best of deliveries into the box from the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, and Leroy Sane to notch up a multitude of headed goals over his career.
At 34, he now finds himself chasing a new and exciting challenge in his career after securing a move to FC Barcelona this summer. His career has gotten off to a tremendous start at the Camp Nou with the Polish forward already scoring 11 goals across all competitions in his first one and a half months at the club.
Fernando Llorente, Eibar and Spain – 75
Basque striker Fernando Llorente has been a constant threat in the air and a menace in the penalty area over his entire career. He shot to fame while playing for Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao where he spent the majority of his career between 2005 and 2013. Performances with Bilbao even led him to featuring regularly for Spain between 2008 and 2013.
Having played for clubs like Juventus, Sevilla, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, Napoli, Udinese, he is now seeing out the last days of his career in Spain with Eibar.
Radamel Falcao, Rayo Vallecano and Colombia – 71
At his peak, Radamel Falcao was one of the most ingenious strikers that European football had seen and he had stunned everyone with his performances for Porto and Atletico Madrid and Falcao lifted the UEFA Europa League with both the teams.
Falcao’s memorable hattrick in the final of the 2012 UEFA Super Cup still remains alive in the memory of football fans all across the world. Falcao has also enjoyed successful loan spells with Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea.
Throughout his career, he has been extremely proficient in the air and El Tigre, as he is popularly known in his native Colombia, is now playing for Rayo Vallecano in Spain.
Who has scored the most headed goals in a season?
In the Premier League, the record belongs to former Everton soccer player Duncan Ferguson who had scored a record nine goals in the 1997/98 season in England.
Which player has scored the most headed goals in Premier League history?
Peter Crouch holds the record of scoring the most headed goals in the Premier League with 56 goals to his name.
Who are some of the greatest headers of the ball besides the names on this list?
Olivier Giroud of AC Milan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has played for Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain, LA Galaxy and AC Milan, former Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, former Newcastle United player Alan Shearer, Christian Benteke of Aston Villa, and Edin Dzeko of Manchester City fame are also some of the greatest headers of the ball in the modern generation.