World Cup

The top goalscorers in World Cup history

The World Cup has had many prolific goalscorers
The World Cup has had many prolific goalscorers / Bongarts / Eddy LEMAISTRE / Mark Leech/Offside

When the World Cup rolls around, one thing is always guaranteed: a whole lot of goals and plenty of goalscorers.

Well over 1,500 strikes have been netted in total over the 13 tournaments, with each one inducing that buzz of excitement from fans all over the world.

Here are the most prolific goalscorers in World Cup history.

30. Oldrich Nejedly - Czechoslovakia

Frantisek Planicka, Frantisek Svoboda, Krcil, Stefan Cambal, Zenizek, Josef Kostalek, Jiri Sobotka, Josef Ctyroky, Oldrich Nejedly, Frantisek Junek, Antonin Puc
Nejedly with the Czechoslovakian team / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 6
Goals: 7

A star of the early editions of the World Cup, Oldrich Nejedly was a fearsome forward for Czechoslovakia during the 1930s.

An iconic name in the Sparta Prague archives, having managed 162 goals in 187 appearances for the club, his strike rate was even better at football’s top table, scoring seven times in just six games across the 1934 and 1938 editions of the World Cup.

29. Diego Maradona - Argentina

Diego Maradona, Peter Shilton
If only Peter Shilton had got more than a foot off the ground / Getty Images/GettyImages

Games: 21
Goals: 8

Well, it’s not often you see Diego Armando Maradona this far down a list. Ranked number one in 90min’s all-time greatest footballers, the diminutive genius’ tally of just eight strikes in 21 World Cup appearances places him outside of the top 20.

Even so, the iconic Argentine is still enshrined in World Cup folklore in a way that personifies his enigmatic brilliance. He’ll forever be remembered (in astonishment by the world, scathingly by England) for two goals of differing beauty - and legality - at the quarter-final stage of Mexico ‘86; one of the most famous goals of all time, and of the most notorious - truly Maradona-esque.

28. Rudi Voller - West Germany

German Teammates Celebrating a World Cup Goal
Voller with fellow Germany legend Lothar Matthaus / Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/GettyImages

Games: 15
Goals: 8

The legendary German marksman appeared at three consecutive World Cups from 1986 and 1994, earning a runners-up medal in Mexico before lifting the Jules Rimmet trophy at Italia ‘90.

In 15 appearances across those three competitions, Voller managed eight goals, including three during his country’s victorious campaign in 1990.

27. Rivaldo - Brazil

Foot : 1/4 Final England - Brazil / Wc 2002
Rivaldo celebrates seeing off England / Tim de Waele/GettyImages

Games: 14
Goals: 8

With his distinctive height-defying agility and jaw-dropping finesse, Rivaldo is comfortably regarded as one of the greatest players of all time - it’s no surprise he makes this list.

The Brazilian was a runner-up in 1998 before scoring five on his way to becoming a World Cup champion in 2002.

26. Oscar Miguez - Uruguay

Omar Oscar Miguez, Frank Martin
Miguez is a Uruguay legend / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

Games: 7
Goals: 8

The highest-ranking Uruguayan on this list, pipping Luis Suarez to that title by one goal, Oscar Miguez notched eight World Cup goals.

He was part of Uruguay's last golden era, scoring five goals on the way to being crowned a world champion in 1950.

25. Leonidas - Brazil

Leonidas at the 1938 World Cup - look at those trees! / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 7
Goals: 8

A lesser-heard-of Brazilian star, Leonidas was no less a phenomenon than many of his celebrated compatriots.

He ended his career having scored 21 goals in 19 international appearances and scored seven times in four games during the 1938 World Cup, including a hat trick in the round of 16 against Poland.

24. Ademir - Brazil

Ademir with the Brazilian team / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 6
Goals: 8

Get used to seeing Brazilians in this list; Ademir is yet another.

In just 39 caps, the striker boats an impressive 32 goals - eight of which he bagged in six World Cup appearances. During his sole World Cup campaign in 1950, Ademir scored four goals during a 7-1 thumping of Sweden on his way to collecting a runners-up medal.

23. Guillermo Stabile - Argentina

Guillermo Stabile
Stabile played his club football in Serie A / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 4
Goals: 8

Guillermo Stabile's appearance on this list is made all the more impressive by the fact that he racked up a solitary World Cup finals appearance, playing just four games (his only caps for his nation).

He made the most of his selection for the inaugural 1930 World Cup, however, scoring a whopping eight times, comprising of a hat trick against Mexico in the group stage followed by a couple of braces and a goal in the final against eventual winners Uruguay.

22. Uwe Seeler - West Germany

Uwe Seeler
You wouldn't mess with Uwe / Keystone/GettyImages

Games: 21
Goals: 9

Hamburger SV icon Uwe Seeler was a familiar face in the West Germany side of the 1960s. He earned 72 caps for his country, scoring 43 goals.

He enjoyed no fewer than four World Cup campaigns, scoring in each, captaining his country in 1966 and 1970, and managing nine strikes in 21 games.

Despite the four campaigns, however, Seeler never managed to claim the top prize, coming closest in 1966.

21. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge - West Germany

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Rummenigge is a major figure at Bayern Munich / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Games: 19
Goals: 9

Another German footballing icon, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge struck fear into defenders throughout his career, maintaining a frightening strike rate anywhere he went.

For West Germany, the Bayern Munich legend went to three World Cups and most notably grabbed himself a hat trick in a 4-1 thrashing of Chile in 1982.

20. Roberto Baggio - Italy

Roberto Baggio
The iconic Roberto Baggio / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Games: 16
Goals: 9

Here he is; the Divine Ponytail himself, Roberto Baggio.

The Italian went to three World Cups but is most well known for his moment of heartbreak in 1994 when he missed the decisive shot in his country's penalty shootout defeat to Brazil in the final.

19. Jairzinho - Brazil

Brazilian forward Jairzinho is carried by fans aft
Jairzinho was part of a brilliant Brazil team / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 16
Goals: 9

A versatile and bruising forward, Jairzinho was part of the brilliant Brazil side that won the tournament in 1970.

He scored seven in that World Cup alone but was still comfortably pipped to the Golden Boot by Gerd Muller.

18. Paolo Rossi - Italy

Paolo Rossi
Rossi won the World Cup with Italy in 1982 / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Games: 14
Goals: 9

Paolo Rossi is just about as iconic a name for an Italian footballer as there can be, right?

He scored three times as the Azzurri came fourth in 1978 before leading his side to the trophy four years later, netting a hat trick against Brazil and bagging in the final against West Germany, too.

17. David Villa - Spain

David Villa
Terrific swag as usual, David / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Games: 12
Goals: 9

David Villa remains Spain's all-time leading goalscorer, having shot onto the scene in 2006.

He was a leading light in La Roja's 2010 triumph, scoring five times, and also netted during their disastrous group stage exit four years later.

16. Vava - Brazil

Claude Abbes, Edvaldo Netto Vava
Vava won two World Cups / Keystone/GettyImages

Games: 10
Goals: 9

Vava only played 20 games for Brazil over a course of nine years, though he still featured at two World Cups.

Nine of his 15 international goals came on the biggest stage in 1958 and 1962, being one of only four players to have scored in the final of two World Cups.

15. Christian Vieri - Italy

Christian Vieri
Vieri netted regularly at World Cups / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Games: 9
Goals: 9

A serial goal-getter for Italy during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Christian Vieri was often entrusted as the Azzurri's main threat up front.

However, his five goals in 1998 couldn't get his side past the quarter finals, while another three in 2002 was rewarded with a last-16 exit.

14. Eusebio - Portugal

Eusébio during some downtime / Robert Stiggins/GettyImages

Games: 6
Goals: 9

As individual showings go at World Cups, Eusebio's effort om 1966 is up there with the very best.

The forward netted nine times as Portugal reached the semi finals, having scored four in a 5-3 victory over North Korea.

13. Grzegorz Lato - Poland

Arsene Auguste, Grzegorz Lato
Lato in action against Haiti / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 20
Goals: 10

Grzegorz Lato was a major part of the Poland side that recorded its joint-best World Cup finish of third in 1974.

They lost just one of seven games - winning the other six - with Lato finishing the tournament with seven strikes.

12. Thomas Muller - Germany

Muller is going to Qatar
Muller is going to Qatar / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Games: 16
Goals: 10

In 2014, Thomas Muller became the second player to score five goals in back-to-back World Cups as Germany emerged victorious.

He first burst onto the scene with a young Die Mannschaft team in 2010 during their run to the semi finals.

11. Teofilo Cubillas - Cuba

Cubillas is Peru's record goalscorer
Cubillas is Peru's record goalscorer / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 13
Goals: 10

Widely considered the greatest Peruvian footballer ever, Teofilo Cubillas made his side a major threat during the 1970s.

He was part of the side that reached the quarter finals in 1970, eventually exiting at the hands of winners Brazil.

10. Gabriel Batistuta - Argentina

Gabriel Batistuta
Batistuta was an incredible striker / Stu Forster/GettyImages

Games: 12
Goals: 10

When Gabriel Batistuta struck a shot with those canons other people call feet, the whole world would feel its reverberations.

He is also one of just four players to have scored hat tricks at different men's World Cups.

9. Gary Lineker - England

Lineker with the England team in 1990
Lineker with the England team in 1990 / Independent News and Media/GettyImages

Games: 12
Goals: 10

Gary Lineker still holds England's record for most goals scored at World Cups, though Harry Kane may be targeting that haul this year.

Six efforts in 1986 earned him that tournament's Golden Boot, while four years later another four goals took the Three Lions to the semi finals.

Yep, they went out to West Germany on penalties.

8. Helmut Rahm - West Germany

Rahn back in the grainy 1950s
Rahn back in the grainy 1950s / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 10
Goals: 10

Der Boss is a pretty sweet nickname, and that's the moniker that was bestowed upon West Germany legend Helmut Rahm.

He is most well known for scoring twice - including the winner - in the 1954 final, earning West Germany their first ever World Cup crown.

7. Jurgen Klinsmann - West Germany/Germany

Football Player
Klinsmann won the 1990 World Cup / Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/GettyImages

Games: 17
Goals: 11

Jurgen Klinsmann jumped around between a few clubs throughout his career, but he was always consistent for Germany at World Cups.

His winner's medal came in 1990, but he also netted at the 1994 and 1998 editions.

6. Sandor Kocsis - Hungary

Kocsis scoring in 1954 / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 5
Goals: 11

Sandor Kocsis' goal record for Hungary is ridiculous. 75 in 68 appearances. How good is that?

He averaged more than two goals a game in his one World Cup campaign, teaming with Ferenc Puskas as the Mighty Magyars were defeated in the final by West Germany after a goal-laden tournament.

5. Pele - Brazil

Pele is a World Cup great / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 14
Goals: 12

Pele probably thinks he scored 200 goals at World Cups but the real figure is 12, which is still an exceptional record.

There truly are too many iconic moments to choose from, but his hat trick against France in 1958 and strike against Italy 12 years later rank among the best.

4. Just Fontaine - France

Just Fontaine, Heiner Kwiatkowski
Fontaine holds a legendary World Cup record / STAFF/GettyImages

Games: 6
Goals: 13

13 goals at one World Cup, Just? 13? That's insane.

Fontaine set a record which will likely never be beaten back in 1958, finishing the tournament with four goals in one game against West Germany.

3. Gerd Muller - West Germany

Gerd Muller, Paul Breitner
Muller is a legend of Germany football / Getty Images/GettyImages

Games: 13
Goals: 14

Gerd Muller scoring goals at World Cups was inevitable.

Ten came in 1970 before West Germany were dumped out by Italy, while he netted another four - including the final's winner - in 1974 as his side overcame the Netherlands.

2. Ronaldo - Brazil

Ronaldinho, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima
Ronaldo with a mate / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Games: 19
Goals: 15

Here he is. Our Ronaldo. Our R9. The player who could do anything with the ball at his feet at his peak.

A compulsive fit hours before the 1998 final ruined Brazil's chances of winning the tournament, but he led the Selecao to World Cup glory four years later instead, scoring twice in the final against Germany.

1. Miroslav Klose - Germany

Miroslav Klose
Klose is the record holder / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Games: 24
Goals: 16

While only recording the odd impressive season goal haul at club level, Miroslav Klose could not be stopped at World Cups.

Playing in four, the German took home the Golden Boot in 2006 on home soil. Eight years later, a greyer but still flipping Klose nicked Ronaldo's record to become the all-time record goalscorer at World Cups. They won the tournament that year, too.