The main focus of attention, the ambassadors of happiness in soccer, the biggest cause of ecstasy, the scorers. What would the FIFA World Cup be without the presence of those men with gunpowder in their boots ready to detonate the enemy gates? Looking ahead to Qatar 2022, it is time to take a look at the top scorers of this tournament.
After 21 editions held and 92 years of history, the FIFA World Cup has been played by world-class legends, by the best in the history of soccer, however, not all of them have been able to show their goal-scoring ability at the exact moment they participated in this great tournament.
Scoring a goal during a soccer's main event may well be the zenith of every footballer's career, but doing so on multiple occasions is a privilege that few have had; a crossword puzzle that few have been able to solve. Here are the best goal scorers of the FIFA World Cup.
The 29 top scorers in the FIFA World Cup history
This list includes players who are seated at the table of the best ten in history, but it also includes players who simply seemed to have been born to play in the World Cup, because when they stepped on its fields, they were transformed into real goal-scoring machines.
As it is natural for the outcomes they have had during their history in the FIFA World Cup, Germany and Brazil are the countries with the most scorers included in this group with 8 and 7 respectively. Then, Italy and Argentina appear with 3 countrymen each.
29 - Diego Armando Maradona - Argentina - 8 goals
The late Diego's greatness allowed him to lead his country to the FIFA World Cup Trophy in 1986. However, his goals did not occur only in that tournament, as he made his mark with goals in three of his four World Cups played (Spain 1982, Mexico 1986, and United States 1994).
28 - Rudi Völler - Germany - 8 goals
The former Werder Bremen star played in 3 World Cups, in which he scored 8 goals. He had the privilege of winning the tournament in Italy 1990, in his country's revenge over Diego Armando Maradona's Argentina.
27 - Rivaldo - Brazil - 8 goals
Vitor Borba Ferreira displayed his talent throughout the France 1998 and Korea-Japan 2002 editions, in which he played 14 games and scored 8 goals. This figure is a creditable achievement, as he was not a pure striker, he was more of a second striker or an attacking midfielder.
26 - Oscar Miguez - Uruguay - 8 goals
An authentic figure of Uruguayan and South American soccer in general. He shined with the shirt of Peñarol in his best moment as a soccer player, a performance that was reflected in the two World Cups he attended. He was key for Uruguay to achieve the Maracanazo against Brazil and to be crowned World Champion in 1950.
25- Ademir - Brazil - 8 goals
The only World Cup in which he played, Brazil 1950, was enough to include his name in this list. He was also known as Queixada due to his pronounced chin. His legend was overshadowed by the fact that he was unable to avoid the painful Maracanazo against Uruguay that took the Jules Rimet Trophy away from his country.
24 - Leonidas - Brazil 8 goals
He is considered the first great idol of Brazilian soccer. He played in the 1934 and 1938 FIFA World Cups. In the latter, he was the champion goal scorer and a key player in Brazil's third-place finish. His nicknames were the Black Pearl or the Rubber Man, due to his great agility.
23 - Guillermo Stábile - Argentina - 8 goals
He is a historic player in Argentine and world soccer, as he became the first champion scorer in the history of the World Cup. In fact, he only played in that edition, in which the Albiceleste had to settle for second place after being beaten by Uruguay in the final.
22- Uwe Seeler - Germany - 9 goals
He played four World Cups (1958, 1962, 1966, and 1970) with Germany, but he never won any of them. Nevertheless, his goal-scoring ability was noticeable in each of the editions he played in. His glory years were with Hamburger SV.
21 - Karlz-Heinz Rummenigge - Germany - 9 goals
Rummenigge is a true legend at FC Bayern, with whom he won two Champions Leagues (formerly known as the European Cup). He played in 3 editions of the FIFA World Cup (1978, 1982, and 1986) and scored at least one goal in all of them. In Mexico 1986 he was runner-up.
20 - Roberto Baggio - Italy - 9 goals
The Divine was a fine player whose talent was enjoyed not only at clubs such as Juventus and Internazionale but also with the Italian national team, with which he played in three World Cups (1990, 1994, and 1998) and was runner-up in 1994.
19 - Jairzinho - Brazil - 9 goals
This skilled Brazilian striker played in the 1966, 1970, and 1974 World Cups. He was a key member of the team that was crowned in Mexico 1970 along with Carlos Alberto, Pelé, Tostao, and Rivellino. His goal-scoring ability was evidenced by his 9 goals in 16 World Cup appearances.
18 - Paolo Rossi - Italy - 9 goals
Rossi played 14 World Cup matches in which he scored on 9 occasions. In Spain 1982 he was the tournament's top scorer and led his country to win the Trophy. He attended Mexico 1986 but was unable to participate due to injury. He retired prematurely at the age of 31 and sadly passed away in 2020 at the age of 67.
17 - David Villa- Spain - 9 goals
The former FC Barcelona player is one of Spain's all-time best strikers and his country's top scorer in World Cups. He shared the Golden Boot in South Africa 2010 with Wesley Sneijder, Thomas Müller, and Diego Forlan, but he helped his team to win the World Cup Trophy, the only one in the history of La Roja in this tournament.
16 - Vavá - Brazil - 9 goals
His first name is Edvaldo Izidio Neto and he played in the 1958 and 1962 World Cups, making him one of the few players who can boast of being a two-time World Champion. A striker with a great sensibility for goal, he scored nine goals in ten matches played in this tournament.
15 - Christian Vieri - Italy - 9 goals
The Bull was a powerful area striker, a specialist in finishing thanks to his killer instinct. Italy enjoyed the former at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. Of the 9 matches he played in the World Cup, he failed to score in only two of them.
14 - Eusebio - Portugal - 9 goals
The Black Panther is second only to Cristiano Ronaldo as the greatest Portuguese footballer of all time. He only played in one World Cup, England 1966, his country's first, where he led his team to third place thanks to his 9 goals in 6 games.
13 - Grzegorz Lato - Poland - 10 goals
The best Polish player in history may well be Robert Lewandowski, however, in World Cups, no one has brought more joy to the country than Grzegorz Lato. He played in 1974, 1978, and 1982 editions, in Poland's most successful period, as it has never again been able to qualify for three consecutive World Cups and, in two of them, reach third place.
12 - Thomas Müller - Germany - 10 goals
A man born to shine in this tournament. At the age of 21, he emerged in South Africa 2010 as the heir to the scoring power of Rahn, Seeler, Müller, Rummenigge, Klinsmann, and company. In Brazil 2014 he once again emerged as Germany's goal man. Although his powder dry at Russia 2018, Qatar 2022 could be his awakening, one that could take him to the top of this list.
11- Teofilo Cubillas - Perú - 10 goals
Look no further, Cubillas is the best Peruvian soccer player in history. He participated in three World Cups (1970, 1978, and 1982) in which he hit the back of the net 10 times, although only once did his team advance beyond the Group stage.
10- Gabriel Batistuta - Argentina - 10 goals
The perfect definition of lethality in a striker is embodied by the nicknamed Batigol. Not only Fiorentina, River Plate, and Boca Juniors enjoyed his goals, but also the Argentine national team. He played in 3 World Cups (1994, 1998, and 2002), enough to score ten goals that have him as the top scorer of his country in this tournament.
9 - Gary Lineker - England - 10 goals
Two World Cups, Mexico 1986 and Italy 1990, were enough for Lineker to be England's top scorer in the FIFA World Cups. He was the top scorer in the 1986 edition. A curious and impressive fact in his career is that he never received a single yellow card.
8 - Helmut Rahn- Germany - 10 goals
Germany's first top scorer in this tournament. His goals helped the Mannschaft win their first-ever FIFA World Cup in Switzerland in 1954. Interestingly, he scored more goals in his second and last World Cup appearance, Sweden 1958 where he scored 6 times.
7 - Jürgen Klinsmann- Germany - 11 goals
One of the best strikers of the 90s who with his talent led Germany to its third World Cup at Italy 1990. He later participated in USA 1994 and France 1998, where the German success was no longer the same, however, his goal-scoring power continued to manifest itself.
6 - Sandor Kocsis- Hungary - 11 goals
One of the exceptional cases in the history of the World Cup. Kocsis has the best scoring average of the tournament with 11 goals scored in only five matches played, as he played only in Switzerland 1954, Hungary's last great performance, which in the end was not enough to be crowned after losing to Germany in the final.
5 - Pelé - Brazil - 12 goals
This list could not not include one of the best players in history. Edison Arantes do Nascimento Pelé is the only player to win three FIFA World Cups: Sweden 1958, Chile 1962 and Mexico 1970. His legend in this tournament was forged on the basis of goals: he scored a total of 12 to cover Brazil with glory, the greatest winner in the history of the tournament.
4- Just Fontaine - France - 13 goals
Fontaine holds the record for the most goals scored in a single FIFA World Cup. In fact, the Frenchman only participated in that edition, Sweden 1958. His most glorious match was his team's 6-3 win over Germany, in which he scored four goals.
3- Gerd Müller - Germany - 14 goals
Never has a nickname done so much honor to its bearer: Müller was known as the Bomber. He played in two World Cups, Mexico 1970 and Germany 1974, and was crowned champion in the latter. He was the tournament's top scorer for 28 years, until a true soccer phenomenon came along to displace him.
2 - Ronaldo - Brazil - 15 goals
Before Cristiano's iruption, the name Ronaldo already referred to one of the best players in the history of soccer: Ronaldo Luiz Nazario Lima. Known as the Phenomenon, he is, for many, the most skilled striker in history. He had an elite dribbling ability, but also power and definition capacity. He was World Champion in United States 1994 and Korea-Japan 2002. He attended 4 World Cups, but played only 3 in which he scored his 15 goals.
1- Miroslav Klose - Germany - 16 goals
Klose is another example of a player born to shine at the World Cup. His love affair with this tournament was evident in each of the four editions in which he participated: Korea-Japan 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, and Brazil 2014. In the latter, he was crowned World Champion and also top scorer in the history of the tournament, scoring precisely against the host country in the most humiliating defeat in its history and displacing Ronaldo from the throne.