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World Cup: Six of the highest scorers of all time

World Cup Topscorers
Charles Perrin - Author

Betting expert

English betting expert and writer. Huge Tottenham supporter, and aside from being an avid soccer fan, has a keen interest in golf and tennis. Produces betting tips, reviews and sports articles.

The World Cup is fast approaching, and as always, there are bound to be plenty of intriguing subplots as well as surprises that will make the latest renewal compelling viewing. While the likes of Brazil, Germany, and France are likely to be among the usual suspects, there will be myriad of household names hoping to sprinkle some stardust on the tournament.

Naturally, the Golden Boot will garner some interest, and many will be hoping that Lionel Messi, who will be making his World Cup swansong goes out with a bang for Argentina.

Top Goalscorers in The World Cup

The World Cup has been just as much about sublime individual displays as it has been with irresistible team performances.

With that in mind, we have decided to celebrate the greatest World Cup scorers, and we have paid attention to the top six, so check below to see who made the cut.

Miroslav Klose (Germany – 16 goals)

Miroslav Klose holds the record for most goals at the World Cup, having netted 16 times across four separate editions, and he had an insatiable appetite for scoring on the world’s biggest stage. Klose exploded onto the scene, and at his first World Cup in 2002, he netted a hat-trick in Germany’s 8-0 drubbing of Saudi Arabia in the group stages.

It was in the group stages where Klose made his mark, scoring 11 in 10 group appearances, while the other five arrived in the knockout segment of the competition. What is even more remarkable, is that Klose needed just 63 shots to set the new record. To break that down further, Klose converted over 25% of his attempts.

Ronaldo (Brazil – 15 goals)

One of the most fearsome strikers of his generation, Ronaldo could slalom between players, and he never needed more than one bit of the cherry when put through in on goal. His World Cup record — until it was broken — was simply sensational, as he hit 15 goals in 19 appearances for his country on the world’s biggest stage. Although his debut in 1998 ended in disappointing fashion as he missed the Final through a mysterious injury, he made up for lost time.

In 2002, Ronaldo helped himself to eight goals, picking up the Golden Boot, and he played a starring role in the Final, scoring both goals in his country’s 2-0 win over Germany. Originally, he had broken Gerd Muller’s record that had stood since 1974.

Gerd Muller (Germany – 14 goals)

Siting third on this list is Muller. We all know what an exceptional player Muller was at club level, and that translated onto the international stage. Indeed, his 14 goals came across just two World Cups. He is only one of three players in World Cup history to reach double figures for a single tournament, and he spearheaded Germany’s charge to success in 1970. Muller also netted in each of his first five World Cup appearances, and it’s fair to say that he was a fox in the box.

All his World Cup goals came inside the penalty box, and half of those were tucked away inside the six-yard box. 

Just Fontaine (France – 13 goals)

He may have only featured at one World Cup, but Just Fontaine certainly made it count as he bundled home 13 goals in six matches. It was more than double the tally of the next highest scorers at the 1958 World Cup, and he netted nearly 60% of France’s overall total.

Injury cruelly cut Fontaine’s career short as he was forced to retire at the age of 28, and the World Cup was robbed of seeing one of the tournament’s greatest stars lace his boots for more than a single tournament.

Pele (Brazil – 12 goals)

A redoubtable forward and one of the greatest players of all time, Pele ranks fifth on this list. Although he never got his hands on the Golden Boot, he did lift the World Cup on three occasions. At the 1958 World Cup, Pele was a mere 17 years old, but he produced a handful of sublime performances, most notably against Wales and Sweden.

But it wasn’t just goals that Pele was renowned for. He also had a canny habit of supplying assists, and he assisted more goals than any other player (six) at the 1970 World Cup.

Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany – 11 goals)

Another German to pop up on this list, Jurgen Klinsmann lit up the World Cup in 1990. He scored on his debut, and he never looked back as Germany stormed to the title.

Klinsmann, however, enjoyed his most successful World Cup on a personal front in 1994 as he scored five times in five appearances, and had Germany advanced past the quarter-finals, then perhaps he might have eclipsed Hristo Stoichkov and Oleg Salenko, who shared the Golden Boot with six goals apiece.

Best of the Rest

As things stand, there are six players who have netted 10 goals at the World Cup finals, and that includes Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), Gary Lineker (England), and Thomas Muller (Germany). Muller of course will be looking to add to his tally in Qatar. However, judging by his last efforts in Russia where he fired blanks, he certainly has some work to do.