The first ever FIFA World Cup was held in the year 1930 in Uruguay which saw the participation of 13 teams from across the globe, with the hosts emerging as champions in the end. Since then, the tournament is played every four years and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was the 20th edition of the iconic event. Here, we list down five players to have scored the most goals in FIFA World Cup history.
Over 2,300 goals have been scored at the 20 editions of the FIFA World Cup final tournaments. Since the first goal scored by French player Lucien Laurent at the 1930 FIFA World Cup, over 1,200 different footballers have scored goals at different editions of the event.
5 players who scored most goals in FIFA World Cup:
1. Miroslav Klose (Germany) – 16 goals in FIFA WC
Between 2002 and 2014, Miroslav Klose appeared in four different editions of the tournament for Germany, scoring (16 goals) the most goals in FIFA World Cup in this time. By the virtue of his goal against hosts Brazil in the semi-final of 2014 World Cup, Klose bettered the previous record of 15 goals held by Brazilian legend Ronaldo. The former Bayern Munich and Lazio striker always saved his truly impressive performances for the World Cup finals. He scored five goals at the 2002 World Cup—including a hat-trick against Saudi Arabia—won the Golden Boot with five more at the 2006 event and banged home an additional four in 2010. His two goals against Ghana and Brazil at the 2014 edition of the elite tournament gave him the record of being the World Cup’s record goal-scorer.
2. Ronaldo (Brazil) – 15 goals in FIFA World Cup
During his peak, there were few better players to watch than the original Ronaldo, the Brazilian Ronaldo. The legendary striker was almost always lethal and a force to reckon with in front of the goal. During his three World Cup appearances for Brazil, Ronaldo scored a phenomenal 15 goals (second most goals in FIFA World Cup). The Brazilian is regarded by many as one of the best ever footballers to have played the game and was instrumental in his country’s World Cup triumph in the year 2002, where he also scored two goals in the all-important final against Germany. During his playing career, Ronaldo spent a considerable amount of time at various European giants like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter and AC Milan.
3. Gerd Muller (West Germany) – 14 goals in FIFA World Cup
With 14 goals in just two World Cup outings for West Germany (third most goals in FIFA World Cup), Gerd Muller duly takes the third position on this list. Muller scored a remarkable 10 goals for West Germany at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico and was the top scorer at the event. Come the 1974 edition and Muller broke the then record for most goals at the event when he scored his 14th World Cup goal during West Germany’s win in the final against Netherlands. His record stood for a period of almost 32 years until Ronaldo scored 15 goals between 1998 and 2006. With 365 goals in 427 domestic outings for Bayern Munich, Muller is also the record goalscorer in Germany’s Bundesliga.
4. Just Fontaine (France) – 13 goals in FIFA World Cup
French genius Just Fontaine is the fourth highest goalscorer in World Cup finals, having recorded a sensational tally of 13 goals in just 6 games at the 1958 showpiece event held in Sweden (fourth most goals in FIFA World Cup). Fontaine was at his lethal best during the tournament and even went on to score a record 4 goals in a match against West Germany. His other hat-trick during the same event came against Paraguay. Fontaine still holds the record for the most number of goals scored at a single tournament – 13. Post his retirement, he was named by Brazilian great Pele as one of the 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004 and was also chosen as the best French player of the last 50 years by the French Football Federation in November 2003.
5. Pele (Brazil) – 12 goals in FIFA World Cup
Regarded by many pundits and fans as the greatest ever player to have played the game, Pele is fifth on this list. The legendary Brazilian scored 12 goals in 14 World Cup matches played during four different editions of the tournament between 1958 and 1970 (fifth most goals in FIFA World Cup). Pele was at the forefront of Brazil’s charge to as many as three World Cup title wins in 1958, 1962 and 1970. While still being the top goal-scorer for Brazil on the international stage, Pele is also listed in the Guinness World Records for most career goals scored in the history of football – a mind boggling 1281 goals in 1363 games for club and country.