Who are the all-time top goalscorers at the World Cup? Full list
Find out who are the most prolific goal scorers in World Cup history, how many goals they scored and where they stand in the historical ranking.
With France and Morocco in action in the second semi-final at Qatar 2022 later on Wednesday, and Argentina already into the final, we take a look at the players who have scored the most goals in World Cup history. With five goals each, Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi are the joint-top scorers in this edition of the World Cup and as a result, have both moved up several places in the ranking. They are the only two with a chance of breaking into the top five and Messi, who has scored in all of Argentina’s games bar one (the group game against Poland), is now just one goal away from equalling Pelé’s career total of 12 World Cup goals, scored between 1958 and 1970.
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Miroslav Klose, Germany - 16 goals
Miroslav Josef Klose is the top scorer in the history of the FIFA World Cup, with 16 goals in 24 appearances across four editions from 2002 to 2014.
The Polish-born German football player is also the national team’s top scorer, with 71 goals in 137 games between 2001 and 2014. He started his incredible World Cup tally by scoring a triple header hat-trick in his debut against UAE during the 2002 South Korea and Japan tournament.
During the 2006 World Cup, in his home country Germany, Klose again managed to score five goals - a haul that saw him win the Golden Boot.
His last two goals came in the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup against the host nation Brazil, his double coming as part of an emphatic 7-1 win for Germany. He would end his World Cup career by winning the trophy and making the perfect ending.
Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, Brazil - 15 goals
Ronaldo is a retired Brazilian football player who went to four World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006) and won the tournament twice, scoring 15 goals in 19 appearances. Winner of three World Player of the Year awards (1996–97 and 2002). Undeniably his most memorable World Cup performance came in 2002 in Korea and Japan, where he scored eight goals - including a match-winning double in the final against Germany.
At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, he scored three goals to bring his career total to a record-setting 15 (later broken in 2014 by Germany’s Miroslav Klose).
Gerd Müller, Germany - 14 goals
The legendary striker is third on the list of the highest scorers with 14 goals in 13 matches. Müller won the Golden Boot award in his first World Cup in Mexico in 1970 and helped his national team lift the trophy four years later in 1974.
Known by fans as ‘Der Bomber,’ Müller hit 68 goals in 62 appearances for Germany, including the winner in the 1974 World Cup final.
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Just Fontaine, France - 13 goals
The former French professional player is famous for his performance in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, scoring 13 goals in six games. This remains the highest number of goals ever scored by one player at a single World Cup tournament.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento Pelé, Brazil - 12 goals
Pelé debuted at the 1958 World Cup at age 17, and his exceptional exhibitions outweighed Fontaine’s remarkable goal-scoring run at that tournament. Pelé scored six goals at his first World Cup and helped his nation win the 1958, 1962, and 1970 tournaments, with the South American giants only failing to clinch the trophy in England in 1966.
The legendary striker, also known as one of the best goalscorers ever, bagged 12 goals in 14 World Cup matches.
The best of the rest*
11 - Sándor Kocsis, Jürgen Klinsmann, Lionel Messi
10 - Helmut Rahn, Gary Lineker, Gabriel Batistuta, Teófilo Cubillas, Thomas Müller, Grzegorz Lato
9 - Ademir, Eusébio, Christian Vieri, Vavá, Kylian Mbappé, David Villa, Paolo Rossi, Jairzinho, Roberto Baggio, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uwe Seeler
*As of 13 December 2022