Have you ever wondered which player scored the most goals in the World Cup? In total, more than 2,000 goals have been scored in the FIFA World cup (excluding penalty shoot-outs), which gives a lot of room for great goalscorers.
French player Lucien Laurent scored the very first goal at the 1930 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. Throughout the years, more than 1,250 soccer players have scored a goal of their own. Only 13 players have scored at least 10 goals. In this list, we’ll be going over these soccer legends with the highest number of goals in World Cup history.
Klose – 16 goals
Let’s start this list off with the greatest goalscorer in the history of the World Cup, Miroslav Klose, who is the player who has the most World Cup goals than anyone else. The four World Cups he has participated in are 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. His goal-to-game ratio during the international competition is 0.67 over 24 games.
Ronaldo – 15 goals
In four World Cups between 1994 and 2006, Ronaldo managed to score 15 goals. As a result of playing in 19 official games, his goals-per-game sits at 0.79. Ronaldo will be remembered as one of the absolute greatest world cup players with the second most FIFA World Cup goals.
Muller – 14 goals
Adding up to an amazing goal-per-game ratio of 1.08, Gerd Müller managed to score 14 goals throughout 13 games back in 1970 and 1974, which puts him in third place over the players who have achieved the most World Cup goals.
Fontaine – 13 goals
Now looking at one of the most interesting players that France and the world got to see we have Just Fontaine. The striker had 13 goals under his belt over the course of six games at the 1958 World Cup tournament, with an all-time high goals-per-game ratio of 2.17.
Pelé – 12 goals
During 1958, 1962, 1966, and 1970 FIFA World Cups, legendary Pelé managed to score 12 goals over 14 games. Many consider Pelé to be the single greatest soccer player in the history of the sport. Pele is ranking fifth among the top scorers, with a ratio of 0.86 goals per game. Brazil has won three World Cups thanks to Pele’s leadership.
Kocsis – 11 goals
In 1954, Sandor Kocsis was the top goalscorer of the tournament with 11 goals, including two hat tricks, making him the first player to achieve this feat in the World Cup. His average goals-per-game ratio was 2.20, which is nothing to scoff at as it is the highest ratio achieved by all World Cup goalscorers.
Klinsmann – 11 goals
The German player now turned manager brought Germany to one of its greatest times in the history of the sport. Throughout his three FIFA World Cup appearances, Jurgen Klinsmann reached 11 goals in 17 games, which means he averaged 0.65 goals per game, one of the lowest on this list.
Messi – 10 goals
Now we are talking about one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, and he is a player that is currently active. The Argentinean player has ten goals in FIFA World Cup tournaments under his belt, making him one of the two Argentinian players on this list. Lionel Messi scored just one goal in 2006 but increased his record with four goals in 2014 when he was awarded the Golden Ball for the best player in the tournament.
Lineker – 10 goals
This list of the most World Cup goals scored features only one English player, Gary Lineker. During the 1986 and 1990 tournaments, he won the hearts of the English media and fans. His goals-per-game ratio is sitting at a decent 0.83 as he scored ten goals in 12 games.
Batistuta – 10 goals
At the 1994, 1998, and 2002 World Cups, the Argentinian soccer legend Gabriel Batistuta scored a whopping 10 goals. That said, as he played a total of 12 official games, his goals-per-game ratio is 0.83. Batistuta will go down in the history of the sport as one of the greatest Argentinian players.
Cubillas – 10 goals
The Peruvian player Teofilo Cubillas scored a shocking five goals at the 1970 tournament and ended up winning the Best Young Player award. His record increased to 10 in 1978 with two more goals scored against Scotland and an amazing hat-trick against Iran. His goals-per-game ratio sits at 0.77
Muller – 10 goals
It’s interesting that Having played in 2010, 2014, and 2018, Thomas Muller scored five goals in 2010 and 2014, helping Germany to a third-place finish in 2010 and a World Cup trophy in 2014. In 2018, he played three games and did not score a single time. His goals-per-game ratio is 0.77.
Now that we are done with the list of the greatest goalscorers of all time, let’s go over some interesting facts regarding the World Cup.
- More than 1,250 soccer players have scored at least one goal during the World Cup finals. 98 of those players have scored at least 5 goals.
- Among those 98 players, there are 14 from Brazil and 14 from Germany (or West Germany).
- The Argentinian Guillermo Stábile scored a whopping eight goals during the inaugural competition back in 1930.
- Jairzinho from Brazil became the only player in the history of the sport to score at least 7 goals at a World Cup and not be the tournament’s player with the most goals.
- In each tournament, the Golden Boot trophy is given to the top goal scorer/s. No player has ever managed to win the award twice.
- Between 2002 and 2014, Miroslav Klose of Germany scored goals throughout four consecutive World Cup tournaments. Since the inception of the World Cup, there have been only six players capable of scoring two goals or more per game.
- Cristiano Ronaldo is the very first player in the history of the event to score throughout five different World Cup finals, which is one of the greatest feats of the sport.