KUALA LUMPUR – Despite the success of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, two of the world’s leading football stars now, Malaysian football legend the late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari (picture) has also received international recognition from FIFA for all time top scorers.
Mokhtar, who rocked the Asian football world in the 70s and 80s before retiring due to a neurological disease, was recognised by the world sports body as the third highest scorer of all time in its Twitter entry yesterday.
Known as ‘Supermokh,’ he had scored 89 goals in 131 appearances for Malaysia.
The record is only surpassed by Iranian legend and striker Ali Daei and Portuguese star Ronaldo who shared the record as top scorers after each having scored 109 goals for their countries.
Mokhtar’s scoring record also surpassed that of Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas who scored 84 goals in 85 appearances, and Brazilian star Pele who blasted in 77 goals.
Barcelona star Messi made it into the list of nine who scored the most goals at the international level after scoring twice to help Argentina beat Bolivia 4-1 in the ongoing Copa America.
Messi is currently tied in ninth place with 75 goals alongside Hungarian Sandor Kocsis, Kunishige Kamamoto (Japan) and Bashar Abdullah (Kuwait).
Mokhtar, the most feared striker in the history of the national team, once helped Malaysia win the Pestabola Merdeka tournament four times, the SEA Games twice, and won a bronze medal in the 1974 Asian Cup.
In the domestic competition, the Ampang-born player had helped Selangor win the Malaysia Cup title 10 times from 1972 to 1986, as well as the league championship in 1984.
He died at the age of 37 on July 11, 1991, due to muscular dystrophy at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre.