Cristiano Ronaldo thinks he’s all that and a bag of potato chips.
But he’s nothing, NOTHING, compared to this man.
He is Josef Bican, ‘The Forgotten Goalscorer’, an Austro-Hungarian striker you’ve probably never heard of, but, who is, in fact, the greatest goalscorer in world football history.
If it sounds like a tall tale, that’s because it is.
Bican rattled in 805 goals in 530 competitive matches, in a career which stretched well into his forties.
Assuming Ronaldo continues playing into his late thirties, he’ll need to maintain a strike rate of roughly 38 goals a season to draw level.
So who is Bican?
Born in Vienna in 1913, Josef came from a poor but tough Czech family.
His mother, as legend has it, once entered the field of play to protect her son from an incoming tackle, by attacking his assailant with an umbrella.
Spotted by Rapid Vienna as an 18-year-old, Bican quickly made his name as a rapacious goalscorer.
He could, apparently, run the 100m in 10.8 seconds.
He would draw crowds in their hundreds just to watch him train.
And he played for Austria’s notorious Wunderteam, who reached the semi-final of the 1934 World Cup, losing out only to eventual winners (and hosts) Italy.
In an indication of the troubled times in which Josef plied his trade, the Wunderteam’s star player was mysteriouly killed in his bedroom in 1939.
The official record states that Matthias Sindelar died from carbon monoxide poisoning, from a faulty chimney, but suspicions remain that the Gestapo had him done away with for celebrating a goal against the Germans too vociferously the previous year.
Bican, on the other hand, did survive the war, but his reputation began to fade as his exploits were overshadowed by the more glamorous Brazilians of the 1950s and 60s.
Pele in particular stole his limelight as the game’s most prolific finisher.
It wasn’t until 2001, when the International Federation of Football Historians & Statisticians proclaimed him the greatest goalscorer of the 20th century, that his achievements were fully recognised by the modern game.
The big question remains however: could he have done it in a pair of Nike Hypervenoms on a wet Tuesday night in Stoke?
The man himself was never in doubt. Late in his life he spoke out about the inevitable comparison of football through the ages.
“I heard so many times that it was easier to score in my day,” he said.
“But the chances were the same a hundred years ago and will be the same a hundred years from now.”
If I got five chances, I scored five goals – if I got seven then it was seven.Josef Bican
Confident? So would you be if you had the figures to trump Romario, Puskas, Pele and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Josep passed away in 2001, aged 88, but his record as world football’s greatest ever goalscorer is still standing.
Over to you, Cristiano.
BICAN v THE GREATS
Josep Bican, 600 league goals
Romario, 546 league goals
Pele, 538 league goals
Ferenc Puskas, 517 league goals
Lionel Messi, 312 league goals
Cristiano Ronaldo, 260 league goals