World Cup Top Scorers

More than 2,000 goals have been scored in the 21 editions of the World Cup final tournaments, not counting penalties scored during shoot-outs. Since the first goal scored by French player Lucien Laurent at the 1930 FIFA World Cup, more than 1,250 footballers have scored goals in the World Cup final tournaments, of whom just 97 have scored five or more.

World Cup Top Scorers: Miroslav Klose – 16 goals

No player has as many goals at World Cup finals as German striker Miroslav Klose, who scored 16 times in 24 appearances across four separate tournaments. The only other players to score in as many as four World Cup tournaments are compatriot Uwe Seeler, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé.

Klose made his World Cup debut in the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea and got off to the best start possible, scoring a hat-trick in Germany’s emphatic 8-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the Sapporo Dome. He’s one of 13 players to score a hat-trick on their World Cup debut, but no player has managed to do it since Klose on this day in June 2002.

World Cup Top Scorers: Ronaldo – 15 goals

Whilst Ronaldo no longer holds the record as top scorer at the World Cup, his tally of 15 goals in just 19 appearances across three tournaments is rightly admired.

His debut World Cup tournament came in 1998, with four goals in seven appearances across the tournament in France. His Brazil side lost 3-0 in the final to host nation France, with Ronaldo’s appearance in the game shrouded in mystery, after originally being left out of the Brazilian starting XI, before appearing in the next edition handed out minutes later.

His appearance at the 2002 World Cup was less controversial, with the superstar picking up the Golden Boot with eight goals in seven games, including both strikes in the 2-0 final victory over Germany in Yokohama in which he won the man of the match award.

World Cup Top Scorers: Gerd Müller – 14 goals

Gerd Müller managed to score 14 goals in just two World Cup tournaments, with his 10 goals on the way to winning the Golden Boot in the 1970 World Cup one of only three occasions that a player has hit double figures in a single edition. In fact, no player has scored as many goals as Müller did in 1970 across any of the last 15 men’s World Cup final tournaments.

The West German striker scored in each of his first five World Cup appearances, including back-to-back hat-tricks in games against Bulgaria and Peru at Mexico 1970, with just three days between the trebles. Only one other player has scored a hat-trick in two consecutive World Cup appearances, that being Hungary’s Sándor Kocsis in 1954 (also over a four-day period).

World Cup Other Top Scorers

Just Fontaine: 13 Goals
Pelé: 12 Goals
Jürgen Klinsmann and Sándor Kocsis: 11 Goals
Grzegorz Lato, Teofilo Cubillas, Gabriel Batistuta, Gary Lineker, Helmut Rahn and Thomas Müller: 10 Goals

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