CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying is underway, a grueling round-robin competition that pits some of the most talented national teams in the world against each other. We have already gone through 5 of 18 match days and only 4.5 slots are available for the 10 national teams. Teams will rely heavily on their goal scorers if they are to even think about being in Qatar 2022.
While Messi and Suárez can literally claim another individual accolade with every goal they score there are other players who have left their mark on this difficult and long road to get to the World Cup. Let’s take a look at the top 5 CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying goal scorers.
Luis Suárez – Uruguay – 25 goals
The hardworking and lethal Suárez is participating in his fourth qualification campaign for Uruguay. In 47 World Cup qualifiers, he has scored an impressive 25 goals. Uruguay qualified for every World Cup he has participated in (2010, 2014, 2018). Added to the goals he scored against Chile and Ecuador in the first two games of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification, Suarez improved his performance, netting once against Colombia.
Lionel Messi – Argentina – 23 goals
Messi has played in more World Cup qualifying campaigns than Suárez going all the way back to 2006. Still, despite that technicality, it’s only 1 extra game, Messi has 23 goals, two less than Suarez. The Argentine all-time leading scorer will look to continue his goal-scoring tendencies in this competition once again.
Hernán Crespo – Argentina – 19 goals
Crespo was a lethal goal scorer in his day, he scored 19 goals in 33 games in route to the 1998, 2002, 2006 World Cups. Crespo might have had more if not for alternating upfront with legendary striker Gabriel Batistuta who ironically did not participate in many qualifiers for Argentina, but still put up an impressive 11 goals in 19 games.
Marcelo Salas – Chile – 18 goals
El Matador Marcelo Salas was one of the most prolific goal scorers in South America in his time. He scored 18 goals in 32 qualifiers for La Roja, but with mixed results, Chile qualified in 1998 but did not in 2002 and 2006. Chile did return to the World Cup in 2010, where he was not selected on the squad.
Edinson Cavani – Uruguay – 17 goals
Edinson Cavani has overtaken Iván Zamorano at the number 5 spot, since Cavani is still in activity. Cavani has scored 17 goals in 39 games for Uruguay. Cavani is a constant pest for defenders as he drops back to help defensively and makes strong runs to help in attack. He is all work ethic!