CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying is a grueling round-robin competition that pits some of the most talented national teams in the world against each other. Played in a single table home and away format, things usually come down to the wire with four to five nations achieving their World Cup dreams and the rest staying home.Teams rely heavily on their goal scorers if they are to even think about going to a World Cup.
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 – 29 goals
The hardworking and lethal Suárez participated in his fourth and final qualification campaign for Uruguay. In 57 World Cup qualifiers, he has scored an impressive 29 goals. Uruguay qualified for every World Cup Suárez has participated in (2010, 2014, 2018, 2022).
Lionel Messi – Argentina – 28 goals
Messi has played in more World Cup qualifying campaigns than Suárez going all the way back to 2006. Messi has 28 goals, one less than Suarez. The Argentine all-time leading scorer still has the chance to leapfrog the Uruguayan with the pending game against Brazil.
Marcelo Moreno Martins - 22 goals
The Bolivian goalscorer has over 90 caps and 30 goals for Bolivia, but since 2007 Marcelo Moreno Martins has not been able to turn his goals into a World Cup berth. An impressive 22 goals in 58 games.
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.
Alexis Sánchez - 19 goals
A part of Chile’s golden generation Alexis Sánchez was the team’s poster boy back in 2010 and beyond. During qualification the explosive forward came through on 19 occasions, helping Chile get to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.