There is no greater sports tournament than the World Cup. The tournament has produced some of football’s greatest moments, and has made legends out of many players. In this post we look at 5 of the all time greatest goalscorers.
While Cristiano Ronaldo may be the greatest footballer to play at club level, he has not made the same impact on the world’s biggest stage as his Brazilian namesake. Ronaldo is the second highest goalscorer in World Cup history, and is one of the tournament’s greatest ever players.
In the 2002 tournament he scored two goals in the final to hand Brazil their fifth trophy. He also picked up the golden boot with a total of 8 goals. The victory was made even sweeter for Ronaldo after a disappointing 1998 tournament.
Like Ronaldo, Pelé is one of international football’s greatest players. He is the only player to ever win three World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970). Over the three tournaments he scored a total of 12 goals.
In 1958, at the age of 17, Pelé exploded onto the world stage. It was here that he demonstrated why he would later become regarded as the world’s greatest ever player. In the 1958 final, Pelé would score two goals to lead Brazil to victory against Sweden.
Diego Maradona (Argentina)
The World Cup has seen some of the most spectacular and controversial goals in football. In 1986, Argentine legend Diego Maradona was the player of the tournament, helping his country win the tournament for the second time. He would also make history by scoring two of the most famous goals in football history, and he would score them in the same match. The 1986 World Cup quarterfinal between England and Argentina is one of football’s most famous matches, due to the technical brilliance and audacity of Maradona.
His first goal will forever be remembered as the “the hand god”, and is one of the most blatant examples of cheating in football. His second goal in contrast, is an example of some of the best footballing skills the sport had ever seen and was labelled “the goal of the century”. While many continue to question Maradona’s legacy, he is in the eyes of Ronaldo still “the greatest”.
Geoff Hurst (England)
The most famous hat trick in football history happened in the 1966 World Cup final. The hosts England faced off against West Germany in what Ladbrokes call the most iconic final of all time. Hurst scored England’s first goal to level the game after Germany grabbed an early lead.
His second goal continues to be hotly debated to this day. The ball hit the crossbar, and depending on which team you support, either went over the line or didn’t. His last minute third goal also made history as it led to the legendary commentary line: “they think it is all over. It is now”.
Miroslav Klose (Germany)
Klose holds the record for the most World Cup goals with a total of sixteen goals across four World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010,2014). His first three World Cup goals were in Germany’s first round 8-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia in 2002.
His final goal would come in another thrashing, the now infamous 7-1 semi final victory over tournament hosts Brazil in 2014. That goal was also the last he would score for Germany, as Klose retired from international football soon after lifting the trophy.