Five players with the most goals in FIFA World Cup

There is arguably no bigger honour for a footballer than the distinction of scoring most goals in World Cup games. More than talent, a player has to sustain at the top for a number of years to become the all-time top scorer in World Cup matches. Gerd Muller’s 14 goals record at the World Cups remained unbeaten for 32 years until Ronaldo Nazario broke the record in 2006. The record is now held by Miroslav Klose of Germany. In this article, we will look at five players with the most goals in FIFA World Cup.

#5 Pele – 12 goals

The first superstar of World football, Pele ranks fifth in the list of players with the most goals in FIFA World Cup . As a 17-year-old, he scored a hat-trick against France in the 1958 World Cup semi-final. He also became the first teenager to score in the World Cup final when he scored a brace against hosts Sweden. He also has ten assists to his name in the World Cup. His three World Cup winners’ medal is a record that will probably never be broken.

#4 Just Fontaine – 13 goals

The French striker has an unmatched record as he scored all of his 13 goals in a single World Cup edition. In the 1958 World Cup, he scored two hat-tricks, including a remarkable four goals against defending champions West Germany.


Fontaine did score a brace against Brazil in the semi-final, but it was not enough as France were thrashed 5-2 by the eventual winners. Due to injury issues, Fontaine was forced to retire early or else he would be at the top of this list.

#3 Gerd Muller – 14 goals

Muller was a sensation in the 1970 World Cup as he scored 10 goals but West Germany lost the semi-final to Italy. Four years later, he came back as the most feared striker in the World and helped West Germany win their second World Cup. He scored four goals in that edition and broke Fontaine’s 13 goal record to become the all-time top scorer.

In the 1970 edition, he scores two hat-tricks, against Bulgaria and Peru respectively. In the semi-final, he scored two goals in extra time but Italy still managed to eliminate Germany. In 1974, he scored the World Cup-winning goal against the Netherlands.


#2 Ronaldo Nazario – 15 goals

The original Ronaldo ranks second in the list of players with the most goals in the FIFA World Cup. Ronaldo was part of the World Cup winning Brazil squad in 1994 but did not feature in any matches. His time came in the 1998 World Cup when he scored four goals and three assists en-route to the final.

However, a convulsive fit before the final meant that he had little impact on the game. In the 2002 World Cup, he scored eight goals and carried Brazil to World Cup glory. He became the all-time top scorer in FIFA World Cup matches in 2006.

#1 Miroslav Klose – 16 goals

Klose’s record will take some beating but he also played more games than the others in this list. He made his debut in the 2002 tournament and scored five goals, a tally bettered only by Ronaldo. In the 2006 World Cup, he won the golden boot by scoring five goals again.


In the 2010 World Cup, he scored four and Germany finished in third place. Finally, his dream came true in 2014 as Germany lifted the World Cup and Klose became the all-time top scorer. Klose’s international record is remarkable as he never enjoyed sustained success at a club level.

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